As I speak to many backpackers, tourists and locals, whilst on my 7 month trip, and I tell them of my choice not to travel with a smart phone, tablet or laptop many are shocked, astounded and even congratulate me on my bravery with how I can leave behind everything and just let go. Some remark they would “miss Facebook” too much or want a constant GPS of their location for safety reasons, which they are allowed to want, in their own right. Here I argue why and why I shouldn’t have done such a thing.
1. You Feel More Free and Less Dependent
The strongest reason is that I came to travel, not to check out what other people are doing on Facebook, or constantly tweet my actions. I booked tickets to the other side of the world so I would be able to just switch off and absorb this new world around me, which many people are unable to do with an internet device.
2. It’s One Less Thing To Worry About
Okay, so not everyone encounters bad and unfortunate situations. If you are smart and careful with your possessions, then you needn’t worry as much. But with my track record of losing things, being robbed and when younger- getting myself in peculiar situations (somewhat dangerous ones might I add), it is one less thing to worry about.
3.You Are More Social
Instead of on some social media website or reading an article on Buzzfeed at the dinner table, you are more open to your travel companions and others around you for conversation. I have seen many a time, couples and groups sitting in silence whilst they absorb what is being shown in front of them, instead of creating memories there in the moment. I have also met more people because of this.
4. You Rely On People More Than Technology
Instead of following Google Maps or Wiki Travel, you go by people’s recommendations which are normally much more reliable. You get lost in cities and explore more, as well as interacting with locals by asking for directions and advice.
5. You Soak Up More Culture
If its raining or you are bored, instead of playing online poker or watching a downloaded movie, no internet forces yourself to get up and go out. Read a book that is a narrative fiction of the country,(I’m a massive fan of these). Play in the rain with local children. Find shelter in a small cafe and drink coffee with the owner. Watch a local movie or piece of theatre, instead of some blockbuster on your laptop- which you can easily watch at home any time.
1. Internet Is The Future
Unfortunately, Internet is the future and there is no stopping it. Booking hostels and arranging trains can easily be organised by downloadable apps which you can do by the touch of your fingertips, rather than facing long queues or visiting a number of hostels.
2. Everywhere Has Wifi
As Internet devices take over and increase in popularity, all hostels, hotels and restaurants offer WIFI. Internet cafe numbers are dwindling and they are becoming increasingly harder to find.
3.You Save Money
Using a device with internet means you save money visiting internet cafes. When needing to back up pictures, book flights, transfer money or blog like me (I’m writing this post in an internet cafe ironically), visits to a cafe may become costly. Almost as high as the risk of bringing your smart phone or laptop with you.
4. Contacting Home Is Easier
Arranging Skype sessions and sending emails to your loved ones is so much easier when arranged on a device you can easily check their responses. Skype is hard to arrange anyway, but not visiting a cafe often means times that work well for both of you, might just slip past. Plus finding cafes that are open at the time you want, with fast speed internet, or working microphones/cameras is like looking for a needle in a haystack.
5. It Can Be Used As A Form of Entertainment
Similar to the point I made previously in Pros, however when you are ill and you are too weak to read, watching a movie, researching your illness or listening to music can be helpful in your position.
The argument is complex, however with internet being the future, and spending a fortune in internet cafes blogging, on my next trip I aim to take a laptop with me; only for Skype, blogging and saving pictures. I won’t have it at the dinner table, nor rely on its GPS, but rely on people for advice and directions. I will research places to visit and stay as I go, meaning I do not have to carry heavy guide books in my bag, but also enabling me to have the freedom of not relying on internet to advise me constantly what to do and where to go.