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Smartphone: A Traveler’s Friend or Enemy?

There’s no doubt that cell phones, and then smartphones, changed our daily life. Whether you use it a lot or not at all, a cellphone is a must-take item when leaving your home. When you check your pockets/purse for your keys, wallet and sunglasses, you ALWAYS check to see if have cellphone.

Bringing a smartphone to a vacation saves time, paper, weight, and provides multiple answers that are just one tap away. But what’s the cost of using a smartphone during a trip? Is it a useful tool or an anchor that reminds us of our daily work-life?
Those who are pro- smartphones say that we can have key information constantly updated in our pockets when we’re on trips. Maps, working hours for businesses or museums and special deals are just some of the resources we can find when using the right application. Modern smartphones include high-definition cameras, which allow us to take
pictures and film videos with that same device that fits our pocket. Additionally, some smartphone users download books (even travel guides) and read from that device. A smartphone means carrying fewer items and less weight, which are key elements to consider when traveling.

On the other hand, some people are against the idea of taking a smartphone when going away on a vacation. Yes, it’s hard to get lost when we are carrying an e-map in our pocket. However, isn’t getting lost a part of the travel experience? How many stories do people have about a “hidden street”, or a store “no one knows about,” that can only be seen when wandering without constantly checking the moving dot on an e-map? And what about people, who instead of appreciating foreign architecture, are busy taking selfies? Lastly, having constant access to our emails can interfere with our planned trip. Someone can be standing next to the Eiffel tower, or the Big Ben, and suddenly get upset because he/she received an email about a client who hasn’t paid in time, or a meeting that went wrong.

Smartphones can be a double-edged sword for travelers: they can save time, space and even money, but they can also get in our way when enjoying a vacation. However, we need to remember that a smartphone is just a tool, a device that we can decide whether to use or not, as well as the degree of usage. Technology is here, available for everyone at any time, and we can’t try to cover the sun with one finger. We need to be mindful that the choice is ours—that we control the smartphone and not the other way around. The choice of whether a smartphone is a traveler’s friend or enemy is for us to make.

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