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ShelliDawn Jul 3rd, 2009 02:57 PM

Using Cell Phones While Travelling
Not to pick on Doug, but because of some of the recent posts about his articles, I was reading some of his other articles and came across this tidbit:

<i>5. You shouldn't take your cell phone. Now that we all have cell phones, we somehow think we can't be out of touch for even a day, much less a week. The purpose of traveling is to get away, not to remain tethered to home. You don't need to call home every day, and if you do, you're not only wasting valuable vacation hours (not to mention money), but you are missing the point of the vacation. So check your email a couple of times, and maybe buy a phone card and call once if you're away for more than a week. But leave the cell at home.</i>

Although I agree with Doug about not needing to be in constant contact with people back home/work, the fact is that cell phones are so much more nowadays than simple phones. For example, on my recent trip to Peru I downloaded a free English/Spanish dictionary to my phone. It's also my alarm clock, watch (I don't wear one anymore since I always have my phone on me). It also has other handy application that let me store notes in it, do conversions (distance, clothing/shoe sizes etc.) a world clock and much more.

Unfortunately the Nokia Maps application (yep, you guessed it I have Nokia), doesn't have maps for Peru, but they do for most of Europe, N. America, Brazil etc. and that comes in very handy as well. I can mark spots on the map and store them for quick retrieval (hotel address, sites to see etc.) I don't have GPS on my phone nor am I willing to pay the data charges, but for those that do and are willing, you can use your phone for point to point directions (walking or driving).

So, a cell phone can actually be a really powerful travel aid.

LEANNA Jul 3rd, 2009 07:57 PM

I use my cell phone mostly for texting my hubby and sons back home. It saves me constantly looking for cyber cafes and/or paying hotel rates for a pooter etc. Texting is fast, easy and cheap and all my men can relax that mom is out there and going great.

I also use it for a watch and an alarm clock.

LSky Jul 4th, 2009 06:57 AM

Most of the time I keep it silent, I don't need to talk with anyone while I'm away but it has come in handy for all reasons listed above.
I store hotel and car rental numbers in the phone. If a museum has a special event on a specific day, I add it to the datebook.

Plus, I can find my husband when he wanders off and if someone is meeting us at the airport, we can call.

I didn't see the article but the cell phone weighs next to nothing and is a nice multi-tasker.

I don't use it for talking much, but then I don't talk on the cell much at home.

yk Jul 4th, 2009 08:03 AM

Very few people call me on my cellphone, and I hardly use it, so I don't have to worry about my phone constantly ringing while I'm on vacation.

I do bring my phone with me - it's valuable at times when things don't pan out the way I had planned. For example:

1) I had lunch reservations at a restaurant, but our flights were delayed a bit. I called and asked to push back our reservations.
2) Got lost driving and called the hotel for directions.
3) Apt owner was supposed to meet us to collect our keys upon departure, but she was late and we called to make sure she was on her way

All these were situations where I found the cellphone invaluable. Since it's difficult to find pay phones these days, I can't imagine going around looking for a pay phone.

I also TXT my husband from Europe if I'm traveling alone. Much cheaper than internet cafe (which has a minimal charge), and saves me time to locate one if all I need is to send a quick message to him.

suze Jul 4th, 2009 09:58 AM

I don't even have a cell phone at home, but would consider getting one for travel, one that works in the foreign city/country. Not for getting in touch with people back home, but I can see the value to use as mentioned above... calling a hotel or restaurant, checking on ticket availability or opening time schedules of a place, confirming a flight reservation, that kind of thing.

mms Jul 4th, 2009 02:20 PM

We take our cells with us when we travel. We just got back from Paris and had them with us there again. The reasons were 1)in case DD and I got separated, 2)to let DH know that we arrived ok (we texted) 3)for the shuttle 4)for emergency (which I almost used, but saw other people made the call instead). Cells definitely have their place, but I do agree that while I am on vacation I do not have a need to talk to everyone from home.

twina49 Jul 5th, 2009 11:57 AM

I bought a cell phone on Ebay that was usable in the U.K., especially when our car broke down and we had to make last minute changes in where we were staying that night (by the way, a BIG shout out for Aaron's Guest House in Perth). It took forever to finally get a replacement car at the Inverness airport and I called the guest house to let them know when we'd get there, plus we got a little turned around in Perth so I called once again and they gave us directions on how to find their place. I'd never travel anywhere without a cell phone for those kinds of reasons.

november_moon Jul 6th, 2009 10:29 AM

I think this is a case of different strokes for different folks. People take trips for different reasons and everybody has a different situation - I don't think there are really any shoulds or shouldn'ts with regard to taking a cell phone on vacation, except for the regular ettiquette rules.

Some people actually like talking to people at home and don't consider conversations with loved ones as a waste of vacation time.

Others can't completely leave work behind and without the ability to be contacted by phone, wouldn't be able to take that vacation. It would be nice to not think about work at all for the duration of a vacation, but if the choice is between going on the trip and occasionally taking a call from the office or not being able to go at all, I'd choose the phone calls.

Others have left kids at home and want to be reachable in case something happens.

And for the record - I don't call home often on trips, people from my office don't call me when I am gone, and I don't have children - so I am not someone who talks on the phone a lot on vacation. However, I do take my phone for the reasons mentioned above - navigation, email, text, calling for trip-related stuff, etc.

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