On more than one international trip, I have found myself without a smartphone, cut off from the modern world. From losing my phone to the battery dying, I found myself submerged in a foreign city with no Wi-Fi, traveling unplugged — a terrifying thought for most present-day vacationers.
It was the greatest thing to happen to me on any trip. Stepping outside of your comfort zone is what traveling is all about, but for many that wild trip to the Amalfi Coast, Amsterdam or Vietnam would not be complete without a digital security blanket. Let’s briefly travel back to the 1990s, a time of travel agents, pay phones and paper maps. Open your mind, sink into ‘90s nostalgia and dust off the Rick Steve’s travel guide you bought on sale at Barnes and Noble, because we’re going out unplugged.
Use The Buddy System
This one is easy but essential. Travel with a friend to cut the tension of phoneless travel, and to commiserate with when you’ve gone in a circle for the third time. If you’re traveling alone unplugged, then being observant and taking note of others around you is even more important. You see more with your eyes looking up from your phone — use this extra awareness wisely. Trust your instincts and keep your phone on you if only to use in emergencies. Use social cues and context for help in countries where English is not the first language.
Ask For Directions
Relying on the kindness of strangers may sound like a good way to get misled, but trust me, there’s more to this than meets the eye. “When was the last time you asked for directions? I often find myself lost and having to ask for help. I’m pointed and turned around, and it’s usually pretty amusing to those advising me to watch me blissfully step out down the wrong street for the third or fourth time,” says Leon McCarron to Adventure online. McCarron is a professional nomad and travels for a majority of the year, often without any help from a smartphone.
McCarron also says he loves finding new places by observing where locals go to eat, drink and hang out. Talking to local people is even better than looking up reviews on Yelp. It seems some of the best places are hidden down an alley with nothing but a lantern to mark their location. Think of the tiny ramen shop, hole-in-the-wall taco joint or divey jazz bar that only locals are savvy enough to enter.
Embrace The Point And Shoot
Let’s face it, when it comes to traveling, the smartphone’s most important jobs are map and photographer. Without your phone, you may have to relocate a historical relic – the point and shoot camera. As a low stakes way to record your trip, there’s no need to panic if your bag is lost or stolen. Keep the SD card in your wallet if your photos are worth more than the camera.
Wear A Watch
If you avoid checking your smartphone for the time, then you can avoid the temptation to check your email or browse Instagram. With a beautiful world around you, don’t let time bring you down.
Come To Terms With Getting Lost
Everything will not be easy; everything will not go smoothly. Even with technology, travel is a mixed bag. Only preparation, confidence and excitement will bring you a memorable trip. Walking down the wrong street, eating something that resembles brains, wandering the streets until you find a familiar corner store, are all a part of the fun. Henry David Thoreau says it best, “Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.”
5 Weed-Friendly Travel Destinations:
Oh, Canada. A great place to see if cannabis travel is on the brain; but the laws are different in every province, so do your research before you go.
Although legal marijuana is for sale only to Uruguayan citizens, use this as an opportunity to meet new people and bond over a shared interest.
Possibly the most touristy place you can go for cannabis-related adventure, but still worth the trip for some coffee shop space cakes and Van Gogh.
Luxuriate in cannabis-infused dining and limo tours of weed farms with a glamorous weed vacation. Eat an artisanal edible then go for a hike in the Rockies and enjoy the crisp mountain air.
Portland/Los Angeles/San Francisco
The West Coast is great for bagging some green and exploring a new city, whether it’s eating frozen yogurt down at the beach, sliding by on a cable car or exploring a national park, no matter where you go you will find excellent places to toke and chill.