You might remember me mentioning before that when Dave and I did our two-week honeymoon road trip through Ireland, we did it completely sans smartphones. No texting, no phone calls, no social media, no GPS, no internet access whatsoever. Given the technology we have today, two weeks of travel without a smartphone probably sounds ridiculous. It wasn’t something we thought through much in advance. We knew we wouldn’t be able to use our smartphones as normal in Ireland. We assumed we would get some sort of GPS device with our rental car, but opted to skip it given the extra cost. It was totally worth it, though, and today I’m sharing our experience, as well as some tips for travel without a smartphone!
How to Travel Without a Smartphone
The most obvious issue that comes with taking a road trip in a strange country without a smartphone, or any sort of technology, is the lack of GPS! It turned out to be simpler than we thought! First of all, the people in Ireland were all insanely friendly and more than happy to offer directions. Second, I read a map! Crazy, right? I don’t know that I’ve ever actually had to use a map to get around. It was a challenge and definitely took some getting used to. But if I can do it, you can totally a do it!
The other big challenge we would face is finding places to stay. We opted not to rent accommodations for most of our trip so we could travel at our own pace and decide as we went where we would spend the night. Without a phone or the internet, it was more difficult to find accommodations, as well as find out about vacancies. Since we stayed in mostly small towns, we were able to walk to different inns and B&Bs, and they almost always had a room available for us!
Everything else was just a matter of convenience. We’re so used to checking social media constantly, but it’s pretty easy to break that habit when you don’t have a choice! Luckily we have a nice DSLR, so we didn’t need the cameras on our smartphones. Luckily there was no language barrier in Ireland, so we didn’t need to look up translations.
Why to Travel Without a Smartphone
While we would probably never make the decision to ditch the smartphones on a domestic vacation, I can’t tell you how happy I am that we did for our honeymoon. If there’s ever a vacation to leave behind the smartphone, this is definitely the one! There were so many benefits to traveling without a smartphone.
One of my favorite things about our honeymoon is how much Dave and I were able to connect. We were traveling just the two of us, spending much our time in a car or walking, completely without a smartphone. With the exception of the locals we interacted with, we essentially only talked to each other for two weeks! And somehow we managed not to argue the entire time. That’s practically unheard of for a road trip! I think the lack of smartphones that forced us to focus on only each other really helped!
I wouldn’t call Dave or myself workaholics, but we both have our work email on our phones and check it regularly when we aren’t at work. Forcing ourselves to give that up for two weeks allowed us to relax. It was also surprisingly relaxing not to have social media to keep up with! There was no pressure to keep up with everything going on or worry about missing a text or phone call from a friend (everyone knew we would be unreachable).
Plus, it was a genuine learning experience and forced us to leave our comfort zone. I probably couldn’t have managed to make it from one side of the country to another with just a map had I not been forced to do so. We were able to meet more people because of not having smartphones, and had the chance to connect with those we met and restaurants and pubs instead of staring at our smartphones the entire time.
It was such a positive experience for us. It might seem unrealistic to you, but trust me when I say you won’t regret a week or two of travel without a smartphone!
What are your thoughts on travel without a smartphone? Would you do it?
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