For this months Tech Tuesday, or maybe you'll call it a non-tech Tuesday, I want to highlight what we did before we all had a computer in our hands when we travel.
About 20 years ago I went to Italy with 4 friends. I traveled with two girlfriends and we made plans to meet up with our guy friends in Rome. Back then, maybe people had pagers, certainly cell phones were not prevalent in the US. I do remember seeing a few very Chic Italians with cell phones, but only a few.
We were young, traveling off-season (March) and flying by the seat of our pants so we made NO hotel reservations anywhere. Instead we decided to look thru our Let's Go Italy book and decide what hotel we'd meet at when we arrived in Rome. You see we flew into Milan, went our separate ways and agreed that mid-way thru our trip, we'd meet in Rome at "such and such" hotel, with NO reservation.
Of course when we got to Rome and called the hotel there were NO rooms left. Are you getting the idea, with all the NO's. So I went down the list of hotels in our travel guide, and in my broken Italian found one that had a room for us three girls. I'll tell you about the adventure getting there in another post. When we arrived we asked if there was a room for our friends, and yes there was, so we asked them to hold it for them.
Now, how to tell our friends that we changed hotels and have a room for them. What would you have done? No cell phone, no contact number for where they were staying, no idea when they were arriving, we only agreed on the day and place, not the time.
We decided to go to the hotel where we said we'd meet and try to speak to the owner and let them know to tell our friends where we are. Once we got to the hotel, we couldn't find a door or entrance, we saw a buzzer and buzzed several times. No one answered. Across the street was a cafe, we ate, drank cappuccino and waited and waited. After being fully caffeinated, we devised a new plan.
Remember no cell phones. "Let's write a note." We laughed at ourselves, because there was no alternative and we thought this was really silly and probably wouldn't work. However, we found a place on the building near the buzzer and left it. This was a busy street, mopeds zooming by, people walking up and down, cafes, tourist, you name it. Our thought, "hope the note stays put." It looked something like this (original note is long gone):
Then, well...we went on tour thru Rome. Walked to the Colosseum, that's me above, with my manual camera, some 20 years ago. I still have and love that camera. We left the boys fate to the Note and had ourselves a grand time. Saw a Vogue fashion shoot, wandered around the Colosseum, dodged the crazy Italian drivers and enjoyed our first day in Rome.
Later that day, when we arrived back to the Hotel the owners were so excited, "the boys are here!" they yelled. We were really surprised, we went running to their room and had to know how they found us. "We saw the NOTE!" We shared our travel tales and rejoiced that all had worked out well. Without the technology we have today we still found a way to make sure we communicated, even if it was the old-fashioned way.
How did we ever get by without our phones? We rely on them so much, I call my husband when we get separated at Costco, "where are you"? Do you remember what you use to do? I have to say these adventures make me smile as we didn't have any alternatives back then. Not every outcome turns out well, but you can always chalk it up to a tale you will have to tell.
Today when I travel in-country it's easy with my phone service in most areas. But only 3 years ago when I went to the UK and France, I didn't have an iPhone, only a Blackberry and my texting was non-existent, email and phone calls were limited, it was only for work. Today it's so expensive to get your phone to work internationally I'm not sure I'd even try. I really like to be disconnected from it all. Though I know I'd be all over Instagram, so I'd probably have to work something out or go into serious withdrawals.
This weekend we'll be camping and I already know we'll have no phone service and I'm kind of looking forward to that. What do you do during travel, especially internationally, do you take your phones or unplug? Would love to hear.