I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Your smartphone is the best travel gadget you own.
I know, I know—you want to “unplug” and you think the incessant search for wifi and an outlet are no way to travel. Calm down, hippie. I agree with you.
There’s just one problem with your Luddite travel philosophy: Smartphones are too damned useful to ignore. To prove it to you, I’ve compiled this list of every single piece of travel gear in your bag that a smartphone outright replaces. I’ve even made a list of things your phone can do in airplane mode so you can “unplug” like the neo-Luddite traveler you are.
Enjoy traveling with the most advanced piece of consumer technology ever designed, right in your pocket.
Pay Phones, Calling Cards, & Landlines
Let’s start with the most obvious, yet strangely undervalued “travel gadget” your smartphone replaces while you’re on the road—pay phones, calling cards, and landlines.
Remember international calling cards? I do, and let me tell you, millennials, they sucked. Hard. Each minute cost way too much and just figuring out where to get an international calling card in the first place was a nightmare. Why? Because you didn’t have a freaking smartphone in your pocket to Google where the heck they sold them.
Calling cards weren’t universal, meaning you had to get new ones for different countries. I lost mine (constantly), and there were always service fees. Plus, you had to use them at pay phones (remember those?) with confusing country codes and contact info that was never up to date. If you were lucky, you could use the hostel common room landline surrounded by drum circles and hacky sack. The 90’s was a weird time.
The fact that you can call home at the drop of a hat, text your friends on the other side of the world, and share the experience in real time with photos and social media from your own device in the comfort of your Airbnb is a friggin miracle. Stop taking this superpower for granted. Click to continue…