Smartphones are our frenemies (when we travel)

By:  Julie Kreutzer

 Assuming you made sure your smartphone will work where you’re traveling, you might think you are set with your dear friend who allows you to talk with anyone on your contact list, call up maps, find out about restaurants and otherwise be your constant companion in your hour of need.  Hahahahaha. No. Having just traveled to Alaska, where my smartphone works, let me tell you what can go wrong.  In my case, an earthquake (5.9) pinched the cable under the ocean which supplies a lot of things to Juneau, Alaska, including telecommunications to things like my smartphone.  The problem?

I printed some information but a few crucial bits were on my email, which of course, is always accessible by my phone.  Right?  No, actually, I couldn’t get into my email even though it had already been received some time ago.  Too bad that email discussed when I needed to be at the airport for my flight home.  Also, I couldn’t communicate with various people that I had promised faithfully I would be in contact with – my office, my mother-in-law, lots of people.  Oh you may laugh, but deep down, you know that you constantly rely on your glowing friend to remind you of things, look things up and stay in touch with various people.

The solution?  Have a back-up system by writing down or printing your itinerary with all critical information just in case your smartphone is stolen, lost, or simply not working.  Be sure and have things like airline, hotel and transportation printed out so that you can show the hotel you have a reservation, or the ferry that you purchased a ticket electronically.  Telling your mother-in-law when you arrive so that dinner can be provided?  Tragically, there may be no back-up possible for that…

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