These days, it is hard to imagine planning a vacation without a smartphone being deeply embedded in the process. At the most basic level, there are people and places you have to call. You will have to make many of those calls while on the go.
But your smartphone has a lot more to do than making phone calls when planning a vacation. There are things even your computer cannot accomplish. Sure, you can do the research on the computer. But you will need to reach for it to use those specialized apps that keep track of all those reservations and car rentals.
If you are driving, your copilot (or Siri or Alexa) will reach for (or is) the phone to get directions, find gas, the nearest rest stop, and a place to eat. You will probably be using a smartphone for the turn-by-turn directions and whatever music you are enjoying along the way.
Once you arrive at your destination, your smartphone use will still be just beginning. Could it be done without one? Perhaps. But here is why you don’t even want to try:
It Is Your Best Travel Camera
The best camera is the one you have with you at the time. And unless you are committed to carrying around that $5,000 monstrosity of a DSLR kit with you everywhere you go, your smartphone is going to be your best travel camera.
The biggest downside to using your smartphone as a travel camera is that modern ones are not durable out of the box. They are pretty good around water and sand. But they can’t hold up well to being banged around and dropped on unyielding surfaces like purpose-built cameras.
iPhone 8 plus cases by BodyGuardz and a number of other manufacturers of rugged cases are designed to make up for that deficiency. With such protection, you can feel good about using it on a hike through rugged terrain.
Another benefit of using your smartphone as a camera is that you can quickly use it in the moment, then put it safely away to free up your hands. That is not the case with the beast of a camera you hang around your neck. It is going to be there for the duration.
It Helps You Pass the Time
One of the things you will need to pack for a beach vacation is something to help pass the time. There is an awful lot of it. And the days can get pretty long. Then again, that is why you chose a beach vacation in the first place. You wanted to spend some long, relaxing days under the sun doing nothing in particular.
That said, hours of nothing can get pretty tedious. So what many people do is bring something to read with them. Paper books are bulky and subject to damage from the sand and water. Because smartphones are so compact and have increasingly easier screens to read in direct sunlight, more people are doing their reading on a mobile device.
If you are tired of reading with your eyes, you can always close them and listen to an audiobook, or your favorite band. You can even catch up on your Netflix cue. With so much to do, you don’t want to tackle long stretches of nothing without your smartphone at the ready.
It Will Keep You Social
Not all vacations are about relaxing by a calm lake. Some are about letting your hair down and cutting loose. There is a good chance that on such vacations, you are going to meet interesting people and go to interesting places to make interesting memories.
Unless you are planning on carrying a pencil and paper with you, your device is what will save the day. It is where you will exchange contact information, schedule meetups, and stay in touch with the people you met. Maybe even grab a selfie or twenty with your new friend. Meeting new people and staying in touch while on vacation is considerably easier with a smartphone than without.
So make sure you don’t leave home without your best travel camera, your best way of passing the time, and your most connected social planner. Regardless of what kind of vacation you are planning. Be sure to pack the one thing that will fit right into whatever you happen to get into.