You are used to checking your phone every 5 minutes? You can’t live without scrolling the home page of your Facebook page ten times a day. And even when you travel, you steal in moments to check every social networking site you are on. Make an online check-in to let your friends know you are having a great time. And then answer their what? Where? With whom? and gloat in the fact that you have made the world jealous.

Have you ever considered going without your phone or any other piece of technology for a day? You have, I am sure. I did. And this is what happened:

You lock away your phone in your travel bag and try to concentrate on the beautiful scene outside your train window. You cut a picture of a restless child—legs dangling, shifting in your seat, biting your nails—as you try to resist thinking of the home page of your phone. Beep! A fellow passenger’s phone rings and sends you in a tizzy. You kick away the food tray, reach your bag, and frantically search for your phone. You breathe only after you have checked it twelve times. There has been no update. But you are relieved.

Technology addiction can harm us in more than one ways. It eats away our leisure time. The time we would be spending chatting up with our fellow passenger on the train, we spend staring into our phones. While technology addiction is one thing, being tech-savvy is another. It’s only the former that is dangerous. So, using Google maps on your journey is acceptable but tweeting your location is not.

A study sponsored by Intel showed that users have become so dependent on their devices that they would compromise their comfort, hygiene, and travel schedule to accommodate their devices in their travel plans. So, their choice of a restaurant, coffeehouse or public restroom was affected by the availability of a power outlet. Sixty-four percent of those interviewed confessed to doing away with toiletries, sunscreen, and even shoes to make space for devices in their travel bags.

It’s true that technology will make things easier and more comfortable for you, but have you ever paused to consider if easy is good for you at all? Does the convenience outweigh the dilution of the travel experience?

For once, make a trip without any technology. Now I know that is something gravely inconvenient today, but it is something each one of us must do at least once. If you think you won’t be able to survive till the end, take heed to the following tips on how to have a nice old-fashioned trip:

1. Forget your camera

Get over the need to document your holiday in photographs. Often, people begin to behave keeping in mind the pose they’d want to strike in their holiday picture. You are vacationing but you are living in pictures that haven’t even been taken! For once, don’t take the camera. Capture the sights in your naked eyes rather than with the camera.

And if you have to have a recorded memory of your trip, get a picture clicked. The local style. Wearing the local dress. Like the ones that require you to be dressed like a Rajasthan prince, or a Scottish knight in a kilt.

Pros: No compulsions to look your best.

Cons: You might spot Oprah Winfrey or Tom Cruise and then curse me.

2. Carry a paper map

Yes, in flesh and blood. Er…in colour and feel.

People travelled when there was no technology. Now I am not asking you to use a compass to navigate your way through a jungle (though if it’s some remote forest, you might have to rely on the traditional navigation devices especially in the wake of bad signals. There’s a limit to technology as well.)

Your google map app will surely help you find your way easily, but it won’t give you an excuse to strike up a conversation with the locals, or to stay overnight at someone’s cottage when you lose your way. Getting lost is way much more fun.

On my recent trip to Malana, I had a great time wandering about the place searching for accommodation, restaurants, transport, and things to do. You can obviously interact with the locals otherwise too, but when you are lost you are forced to fend for yourself and work out a way using whatever means are available to you.

Pros: You’ll get lost, make new friends, and have a great time.

Cons: You’ll get lost, get robbed, get stranded, and ruin your trip.

3. Hail Internet cafes

There are internet cafes everywhere in case you direly need to check out….dont know what. There are so many travellers who practise this.

Pros: But boss I can’t mail you the file; I don’t have access to internet.

Cons: Boss, I can’t find an internet café. Can you google and tell me where the ladyboy bars are?

4. No prior bookings

Dare to go on open-ended holidays. Except for flight tickets, don’t book anything else. You’d be surprised at the fun you can have when there are no strings attached. Of course, this wouldn’t be a sensible thing if you are travelling with kids or elderly people. You can’t afford to get lost all the time.

Pros: In the classic “Saif Ali Khan in Dil Chahta Hai” situation: “Oh yes Christine, let’s go to Diu from here and then to your hotel in Panaji.”

Cons: “Christine, it’s raining outside. Please let me in. I don’t know you but I have always dreamt of you. Don’t…slam…the door…but…”

5.Know your destination

Have an idea about the place, the people, and that’s it. Research all you want to before you set off for the trip. Use technology to plan your trip, connect with the locals, but don’t make your technology travel with you. After all, you paid for only one person.

Pros: You say at a dining table in a restaurant: “Oh let me pay. I know splitting the bill in France is considered highly unsophisticated. I read it before coming here.”

Cons: Your fellow diners say: “Actually, we no longer follow that convention. Of course, we split our bills. But if you so insist on paying it, please go ahead. Thank you so much.”

6. Leap of faith

get out of your comfort zone. Trust the world and its people. Murder your phone if you can’t resist checking it. Drop it, drown it, give it away. Buy or borrow a basic old model. The one that only lets you make and attend calls.

If you have to carry something, carry other utility items like steripen, the portable water purifier; book lights, swiss knife in the space made by your laptop, chargers and other such devices.

Pros: You might have a kickass trip.

Cons: You also run the risk of looking like a stuck-up jerk, the kind who insists on writing on a typewriter because it is old-worldly.

After all, it is a leap of faith you are taking.

Nishi Jain

Nishi Jain spent some precious years of her life studying English literature, editing novels, and writing newspaper articles. Then one day, as she was sitting under a tree with no branches, a rotten pancake fell on her head from the window above and she had her Newtonian moment. From then on, all she does is eat pancakes, write, and profess fake love to pastry chefs.

Nishi Jain – who has written posts on WAH Blog.