You've gotta love the instant convenience of the web. And I can't say enough about the iPhone app revolution. I can't imagine a life without these conveniences-turned 'necessities.' Unless I'm camping or adventuring in the wild (both of which only happen about once a year), when traveling I always look for accommodation with wireless. Wifi makes me happy. It's in my comfort zone. I'm not anti-social, but sometimes I'd rather consult my urban spoon app than a hotel concierge for dinner suggestions. There's a flaw in this thinking though. I'm aware. The web's seemingly infinite info, can and sometimes does transform us into social hermits. But isn't travel about experiencing and connecting?
Maybe learning how to reconnect involves looking to the past? In the name of bringing some of the mystery and allure of the unknown back into the travel realm, here are a few ways to escape like its 1999 in 2010:
- Gain local insight. Talk to your cab driver, server or bartender to get more insight into the place you're visiting, the culture and lay of the land. Sure, you can read World Fact Book before you go, but getting a local's insight is always more interesting, tip-worthy and dare I say: personal!
- Ask for directions vs only consulting a map. Sure, load google maps and get directions, but maybe there's value in asking someone at your hotel or a person for directions too. Sometimes a local will know a faster or more interesting route to your destination taking you off the beaten path.
- Talk...to people at your hotel or resort about what they've done or where they've eaten. A) you might get to know someone cool and B) you might learn what to do or not to do while there!
- Bye Bye comfort zone. Do something that takes you out of your comfort zone. These days, we rarely venture into new territory because there's always reviews or write-ups to tell us what to expect, but sometimes this ruins the experience. Go old-school and let your gut decide what to do and where to go!
- Disconnect. This is more 1999'ish' than 2010'ish', but disconnecting from cell phones and all things web-related, might encourage you to focus more on your destination vs the happenings of home life. Case in point: every time I'm sitting at a hotel pool there's undoubtedly a loud-talking moron who a)likes to share their convo with the rest of the pool and b)won't get off their phone...don't be one of these people! And if you do need to get on the phone, do so in your room or an inconspicuous corner of your hotel. Enjoy your surroundings and embrace your destination!