Having a smartphone has made traveling inherently easier. That’s just a fact of life. Instant access to maps and GPS, time schedules, translators, and restaurant reviews has taken a lot of the guess work out of travel. But, as with everything, there’s a double edge to that sword. Easier isn’t always better.
You never get lost and discover hidden corners when you’re glued to your phone’s map. Sometimes missing that train leads to new adventures you could never have planned. Having a translator cuts out face-to-face communication with locals. And, hey, if you really want to know if a restaurant is good, just look inside. If it’s full of locals, it’s going to be decent. If it’s empty, maybe mosey on. Twenty six year-old Zach Beattie gets this. That’s why he’s opened a new travel company that offers tours that make you part with your smartphone.
Beattie’s business, Off The Grid, was founded on the idea of unplugging when you’re on the road. The company takes everyone’s phones when they arrive and keeps them safe. As a trade, each traveler gets a standard phone that only makes phone calls: No camera, no internet. The idea is to connect with the people you’re traveling with and immerse yourself in the places you’re traveling to. Being glued to a phone — while useful — does disconnect you from those experiences. And experiences are kinda the point of travel.
“It resonates with people because they know they need it,” Beattie said to Business Insider, “but then when you talk to people they’re afraid they won’t be able to do it, which is the ultimate sign that you’re addicted to something.”
Travel without constantly trying to set up the perfect picture (the tour has a photographer try to capture some of those memories for you), answer work emails, or stay up to speed with everyone else’s adventures allows travelers to live in the moment and experience their own adventure.
Beattie’s tours are selling out. Turns out millennials aren’t as addicted to their phones as we’d all like to paint them as. Or, at the very least, people are starting to register their phone addictions have some negatives, and are willing to take actions to curb those habits.
Which has gotta be a win, right? Letting go of the constant stream of technology and letting in more interactions and communication on a basic, human level can lead to a more satisfying experience and longer-lasting memories. And for many, that’s becoming an increasingly attractive scenario.
(Via Business Insider)