Monday, June 30, 2008

Leave Some Technology At Home This Summer

It’s that time of year again. Fireworks are sounding, the sun is shinning and vacations are on our mind. Even with $4 plus fuel, many of us will take some time off and go away on vacation. Technology is a blessing and a curse for those who want to get away from it all.

For sure the convenience of booking travel and accommodations on the Internet can take some of the hassle out of vacations. Web services like® and® can provide some deep discounts. Most airlines offer online boarding passes cutting the time you need to spend in lines at CVG. You can even prepare your baggage tags on line.

If you are driving,® can provide very good directions as well as travel time. You can plan a trip based on a variety of preferences. For example, if you don’t want to travel on Interstate highways, MapQuest will take that into consideration. If you don’t care about tolls or Interstates, but only want the quickest way to your destination, you can ask MapQuest to plan accordingly.

The proliferation of GPS devices is almost unbelievable. Some of the hand-held models have more navigation power than the first Space Shuttle. While I have found some strange routing for certain trips, for the most part they are very accurate. I am not a fan of that ever-patient little women inside the GPS that absolutely can’t get upset no matter what knucklehead mistake I make when driving. Wouldn’t it be neat if she muttered few expletives after you passed the exit for the fifth time. No one is that patient!

I am going to recommend that you not use some technologies on that next get away. I saw a new term recently in a blog authored by Robert Roy Britt that I though was very indicative of the downside of all this technology. His term is “technotether.” He defines technotether as our inability to ignore that ringing cell phone. Our addiction to the BlackBerry® and other electronic personal assistants is another example of this affliction. Perhaps the most egregious is our need to check our email. These technologies have expanded the work day and the work place. The addition of wifi service on some commercial flights has penetrated the one place that you could not get email. Britt contends that we are “tethered” to these technologies and in many ways it is not healthy.

Let me make a suggestion. Don’t check email while on vacation. Bring your cell phone but don’t call back home or to the office. Don’t check office voice mail. Leave a message telling callers that you will not be checking it. I figure if the President of the United States is looking for me he won’t leave a voice message anyway. His minions will find me. For heavens sake leave the blackberry in its charging cradle for a week.

For the first day or so you will experience withdrawal. After that you will be amazed how much more restful vacation turns out to be.

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