Friday, June 15, 2012

Top 10 Things Tech has Changed about Vacationing

Vacation for me has always been about disconnecting, shutting down, delegating the meetings and disappearing for a little while, to recharge. My Out of Office message while I am on vacation usually reads something like "I am out of the office, with no access to email, phone...and oh by the way, please don't bother sending me emails while I am out because I am not reading them and its just going to clog my inbox." Well not exactly those words, but you get it. I am unavailable/MIA for 10 days. I also rationalize this by saying its important to set an example for the team, on not only how to perform but also how to switch off.

But my recent vacation to Croatia was quite different. Technology has really changed how we vacation. There was wifi connectivity, mostly for free, almost everywhere we went. Including on the beaches on the Dalmation Coast! So Facebook joined us on our vacation and soon enough our friends and family were getting real time updates and photos from what Island we were on and we were getting real time inputs on what restaurants we should try out in Dubrovnik from our friends sitting in London. We also no longer carried around a big bag everywhere we went because the iPhone now replaced our camera, guidebook, map, phone, identification and reservation printouts. If they update the iPhone with a water sipper and sunblock sprayer, we would really not need anything else at all.  Instead of disconnecting, I realized we were more connected to the world that even during our regular work days.

We were online the whole time we were supposed to be offline. So I decided to share a list on how I think technology has changed how we vacation and also what I miss about the good old days of pre technology vacationing. Enjoy, and feel free to leave a comment to add to the list!

1. Online bookings based on traveler reviews, which are incredibly accurate most of the time.
What I miss: No longer having the opportunity to vent to the front desk manager about how terrible the room/hotel is and therefore can't look forward to being doted on the next day with freebies in my room like a bottle of wine.

2. Web check in to get those coveted exit row aisle seats.
What I miss: Schmoozing at the check in desk at the airport to get upgraded on the flight.

3. Facetime to check in with family back home while on vacation.
What I miss: No longer having the excuse that its too expensive to call while in another country. 

4. iBooks to download the latest city guide e-books, mostly the free ones
What I miss: Going to the bookstore and sitting in the coffee shop with 6-7 traveler guides flipping through and reading about the country we are going to visit for hours. Then buying the best one and writing on the margins and sticking travel memorabilia on the inside cover (e.g train tickets, museum passes etc.)

5. Twitter to keep up with the news while on vacation back home in the absence of a TV or newspaper.
What I miss: Nothing. I do this at home too. I no longer subscribe to the paper or watch news on TV.

6. Facebook to post pictures and status updates every evening before dinner so that you can be anti social and check how many likes you got for pics during dinner *hint: don't do this unless you want to upset your wife*
What I miss: Dinner conversation sans device distraction.

7. ITrip to listen to all your favorite songs while driving a rental car so you won't have to endure the incomprehensible local radio stations that for some reason always play Bryan Adams - Summer of 69.
What I miss: Singing Bryan Adams - Summer of 69 at the top of my lungs as my husband cringes.

8. IPad to play the Scrabble app or read the online Economist by the pool
What I miss: Water stained and dog eared books, magazines and boardgames that reminded us of the holiday they accompanied us on.

 9. Google Maps and GPS on your smartphone to make sure you never get lost on your road trip.
What I miss: Getting lost on our road trip and discovering a beautiful view or town that wasn't on the itinerary.

10. Video Camera on your phone to capture every crazy moment or story
What I miss: Keeping a travel journal that documents all the crazy stories because hey, why read the book when you can watch the movie, even if the book is always better than the movie.

So technology is great but there was a certain charm to the disconnected, low tech holiday wasn't there? Share your top tech tips for vacation and also what you miss!


  1. Why is your blog biased towards social media, online stuff.. technology has lot more and is lot bigger than this..
    Article should have some different name :

    May be : Top 10 Things about Mobile & internet : How it has Changed Vacationing ! :)

  2. Fully enjoyed reading this post as if experiencing a vacation through it.

    Can't agree more to it when I see myself relying on Google maps to find way through the mountains and forests through the drive and through the trek...

    From an IT pure play perspective, this blog points to a whole new section of opportunities which are targeted for the mass and enterprise customers.