Old-school trumps technology when travelling
WE’VE all been there. Despite your best efforts to be prepared, accessible and on time, a technology glitch has left you blowing in the wind. No matter how well you juggle all of your business, logistical and family obligations, sometimes it’s just impossible to keep all of your balls in the air. I love tech solutions as much as the next woman, but there are times when they let you down. When that happens, my backup plan is to kick it old school.
Navigation: An up-to-date GPS will certainly get you where you need to go most of the time, but there will always be construction changes and new exit lanes your system won’t have on file. Additionally, in large urban areas with highly concentrated streets and highway ramps, I’ve found even the newest GPS can have trouble updating quickly enough to meet my needs. Fastmoving motorcycles and lanes full of cargo trucks blocking the way only add to the need for rapid recalculations.
And as much as I love the new Garmin we purchased on the road this summer, it only lets me see a very limited picture of where I should be heading next. That’s where having an old-fashioned map comes in handy. When my husband and I are road tripping long term as we are now, that map is typically a national road atlas paired with a folding local supplement picked up at the tourist information center.
When we’re on a walking tour we’ve traveled to by plane, we still pick up a local map at the information center but tend to supplement it with insert maps from the guide book, especially if there’s no local Wi-Fi to use the navigational app on our cell phone. I’m also not above calling a local contact with a pen and paper in hand and asking for specific instruction.
Audio: Wireless headsets for your phone and other electronic devices may be a great concept, but to be honest they come with as many quirks as they do perks. Extra chargers, device syncing and finding the luggage room can all be tedious for the full-time traveller who needs to stay as mobile as possible. The same can be said for travel speakers, although depending on the trip we do occasionally bring a set with us.
When space is tight or software is glitch, however, old-school ear buds are the way we roll. Many of them are available with microphones as well, making hands-free phone conversations possible without a charged power source. They also work if you want to watch online TV in the airport without disturbing those around you.
While there’s certainly no need to throw the tech baby out with the bathwater, having a few basic solutions in your travel repertoire can save you a great deal of time, space, stress and even cash on the road.
An old-fashioned map or national road atlas comes in handy when travelling.