Monday, April 22, 2024
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Tech goes on vacation — no guilt necessary

by Staff

My wife, Connie, and I are on vacation! We get to spend several weeks in a warmer location than Maine, and we appreciate that very much.

But technically, it is a work vacation because we both have jobs that require us to stay in touch even when we are on vacation.

But here’s the thing: While some people feel they want or need to leave their technology behind when they are on vacation, we happily embrace it to allow us to stay on vacation longer. Also because we use our tech for many tasks that we enjoy. So, we have a working vacation where we spend most mornings doing our regular work and then “play” the rest of the day.

In addition to the work that we do on vacation, we are happy to have our laptops and phones with us:

• We stay connected with our adult children and six grandkids. In fact, we just finished a nearly 30-minute FaceTime with our 8-year-old twins who are in Quebec skiing, tubing and skating while we are on the beach in Mexico. And we love the candid photos that our dogsitter sends us every day so we can see that Paddle, our chocolate Labrador, is thriving without us.

• I read a great deal on my iPhone — books, magazines, newspapers and articles. Especially at night it is much easier to read on my iPhone given its lighting, although I am mindful of the effects of blue light on my sleep patterns.

• We enjoy listening to local and regional news back in Maine and streaming our local PBS station allows us to do just that.

• We watch movies (using VPN) so our streaming accounts at home work just fine here. The movies we may not have had a chance to see at home are available to us and we have time to watch them.

There are, of course, many other uses for your devices that will make your vacation more pleasurable. Using maps for traveling or locating possible places to visit, reading about possible excursions to take; doing research about the history, culture and news of the places you are visiting; comparing restaurants; using language translation apps so that you sound more knowledgeable. What is the current exchange rate for U.S. dollars to Mexican pesos?

What preparation did we do to ensure that we could take advantage of our technology for work and personal connections before we got here?

• Asked the owner of the small apartment where we stay to (please) upgrade the internet so we have a stable platform to work from. He did that and that made all the difference this year. That should definitely be a question to ask if you are traveling and depend on a strong internet connection for business or pleasure.

• Before we left home, we made sure that we packed all the necessary power cords and chargers. Other than our laptops and phones, that is all we brought with us.

• Check your phone and internet plan before you leave home. We found out that Canada and Mexico were part of our Verizon plan, so we are able to use our phones in Mexico just as we would at home. Last year, there were limits on the amount of time we could use our devices as well as data limits that made using our phones more problematic.

Of course, take your phone with you so you have it to capture that unexpected shot. Yesterday, we saw our first crocodile not more than 30 feet off the sidewalk. (Later, we used the crop feature to edit this photo to make the crocodile much closer than it was when we took the picture!) The day before, we captured a trio of pelicans diving in unison before they hit the water to grab a snack.

I am ultra-careful about taking my iPhone to the beach. While everyone else seems to have their phone or tablet at the beach, I cannot see to read well enough in the sun. More importantly, just too many opportunities for sand and saltwater to do nasty things to my phone. I purchased a plastic sleeve that encases my phone securely and is even waterproof, but I am still cautious and usually leave my phone at home.

Wherever and whenever you travel, near or far, don’t let articles like “Five Ways to Unplug from Tech on Vacation” make you feel guilty if what you really need to read is “How to Use Your Personal Tech to Enhance Your Vacation.” After all, you make the decisions about what works for you.

Thanks to BoomerTECH Adventures’ colleagues Jill and Chris for letting me be away for this time!

¡Adios, amigos!

BoomerTECH Adventures ( helps boomers and older adults navigate the digital world with confidence and competence. Active boomers themselves, they use their backgrounds as teachers to support individuals and groups with online courses, articles, videos and presentations to organizations upon request.

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