Go retro with these six low-fi alternatives to hi-tech holidaying, from postcards to paperbacks.
We're all going on a summer holiday, no more Facebook for a week or two! As Blur once said, modern life is rubbish, so ditch the GPS and go retro with these low-fi holiday habits, from postcards to paperbacks.
1. Postcards v. Facebook
‘Another sunny day swimming with dolphins and hanging out with hot models…’ Ok, thanks for that. Meanwhile, you’ve had a crap day at the office and are stuck on the Tube with your face in someone’s armpit. Making friends, colleagues and perfect strangers jealous, sorry, keeping them updated when we’re on our hols is the in-thing these days. But what of the poor, forgotten postcard? Remember how happy your gran was to receive your card from Bournemouth? She’s not on Facebook, so pack a pen and tell her how the weather’s lovely. It won’t get there until you’ve been back two weeks, your tan has faded and your colleague is posting sickeningly happy updates on Facebook from their holiday in Barbados but, more importantly, your gran will be happy.
2. Maps v. GPS
Where the heck are we? In these days of SatNav and GPS, we no longer get lost and have arguments with our other halves over why they didn’t ask someone for directions to the hotel. But what’s a holiday without arguments? Switch off the GPS and head into the wilds, or a mind-boggling old town, armed with an old-fashioned map. Finding your way down off a mountain, or out of a dangerous downtown before dark doesn’t depend on battery life. Invest in a waterproof map that won’t get tangled trying to fold back into place (and doubles as a makeshift football). Or for night time navigation, you could look to the stars for guidance. Romantic, free, and quite possibly stupid, this is probably best left to Bear Grylls.
3. Locals v. Twitter
From avoiding rip-off merchants hawking overpriced souvenirs to finding the best tapas in town, insider tips can make all the difference to your trip. So it’s tempting to draw on the fountain of knowledge provided by Twitter. Ask for advice and a member of the Twitterati is sure to point you in the direction of locals’ favourite hang-outs. But what if they’re lying? What if you’ve left your phone on the plane and your hotel charges £20 a day for WiFi? Ask a real person. Local knowledge can only really belong to locals, so pick one and pose your question: “Er, excusez-moi, monsieur, ou sont les toilettes? You’ll (probably) get an honest answer, although not necessarily in a language you understand (there’s always charades). You might even make a friend, and you can’t do that on Twitter.
4. Paperback v. Kindle
Yes, the Kindle is lightweight, it holds hundreds of titles, you can read Fifty Shades Darker without anyone knowing, and it won’t get soggy when the kids dive-bomb the pool. Even the most traditional of travellers can’t deny its revolutionary suitcase space-saving brilliance. But, you have to switch it off during take-off and landing (otherwise the plane will crash – or will it?), you can’t read it in bright sunshine and you can’t show off that you’re reading Dostoevsky over breakfast. The humble paperback still has a lot on the Kindle. If someone nicks your handbag while you’re having a swim or chatting up the barman, all you’ve lost is your third-hand copy of The Da Vinci Code. You can pick up a replacement for 50p in a charity shop.
5. Live music v. iPod
Every backpacker worth their salt packs their iPod and their speakers along with their hair straighteners. Now you can take the party, and the dream set list, pretty much wherever you go, so you can blast out a bit of Beethoven over the barrios of Buenos Aires from your hostel rooftop or pump up the volume with a spot of Sadé at your Vegas pool party. But how often do you listen to live music? If big gigs are your style, then there might be a chart-topper in town so check the listings. But venture beyond your usual playlist and try to catch a performance of something different, be it calypso in Caracas or fado in Lisbon. Wander the streets at 2am in a strange city and you may well stumble upon a bar or club showcasing traditional music by local performers.
6. Disposable camera v. Instagram
Thanks to Instagram, we can now select, edit and add cool hipster filters to all our holiday snaps. Then you can share them with the world instantly. ‘Check me, I’m in Nando’s’. Yeah, well done. But remember the days when you couldn’t delete those embarrassing pictures? The excited anticipation of waiting for your photos to arrive in the post, only to find you had your finger over the lens for half the film? Recapture the surprise element in capturing the moment with a disposable camera. You won’t have to purposefully make your photos look like they were taken in 1977, the cheap plastic lenses will do that for you! They won’t be picture perfect, but you’ll definitely see your holiday from a different angle.