Traveling with tech' - Part II (pandemics change everything)
[Before I start this post, I thank all my new subscribers for coming on board. I hope you enjoy it and once again, welcome!]
Back in August 2018 I wrote a blog post called "Traveling with tech', it just ain't worth the risk". It is here if you'd like to review before proceeding.
It was mostly about the possibility of authorities at borders confiscating your phone/laptop/whatever and demanding it be unlocked or you get locked up.
There was also an element of being ripped off for mobile phone roaming charges.
Well, on my most recent holiday...cut short by the COVID 19 crisis...I followed my own advice.
I had decided my holiday would be a holiday from technology too so I didn't take a laptop or a tablet. I just took an old spare iPhone with the objective of putting a pre-paid SIM in it at my destination.
I had looked into the improved roaming packages available for my Australian plan but was still not ready to trust Telstra after being burnt last time.
I'd even checked that the course I was doing didn't need me to bring a laptop. They didn't. They had communal PCs in the library so I was set.
I made sure the old iPhone I was taking had some essential app's on it and a password tool that allowed me to keep all non-essential items somewhere other than on the device when going through borders.
It all worked quite well too...except for the purchasing of a prepaid SIM.
The last time I purchased a SIM overseas it was fairly easy and cheap.
This time it was quite a pain. It took a long time to find the right carrier i.e. one who'd even sell me a SIM even though I wasn't a resident.
But once I had the SIM everything went pretty smoothly...until 2 weeks in and COVID 19 started causing the world to shutdown and we were forced to flee for home.
As you can imagine, the sudden need to consume vast amounts of information and manage complex and changing travel arrangements on "just a phone" became quite painful.
My wife did have an iPad with her, so that helped. At least we could see things a bit bigger and more of what was being displayed at a time.
But to be frank it worried me that all our devices were Apple iOS based and, if we hit websites that they didn't support, we'd be stuffed.
If we'd had to handle documents or files in a more complex way that may have also stymied us...but that didn't happen either.
I think it was pure luck that none of that happened.
Somehow we, mostly Susan, managed to get all the trains, planes and other related bookings sorted with just this meager subset of technology.
There were a couple of non-critical problems that were caused by the fact that the 2 factor authentication for the system could only be on one device at a time and I decided NOT to take it off my primary work/home phone.
I decided I could live without it, and I did, but it would have been nice if I could have had access to those things just for peace of mind.
When I started writing this post I was fairly sure that I'd be saying, by now, that I probably should have taken more technology...a laptop, and been less paranoid.
I thought I would be saying that despite my best intentions I had gotten it wrong.
But from working through it and writing it down here...and the fact that we did get home safe...all things that needed to be done got done...it would seem the evidence proves otherwise.
It seems that, despite a global pandemic, my strategy worked.
It quite probably wouldn't worked have if my wife wasn't with me but a lot would have been done differently if I was traveling alone.
With governments around the world about to ask us all to voluntarily let Batman spy on us through our phones and give up a vast amount of freedom to fight this virus, would I care so much about talking my day to day phone through security any more?
Probably not any more.
I'd probably also be likely to use a local roaming data option on my travels and forgo the local SIM buying pain.
Would I take a laptop overseas? Maybe if I expected my holiday to be a bit dynamic and requiring more than average online holiday "work". But otherwise, probably not. Definitely NOT to the USA (still).
Has this blog post helped? Maybe. Probably only me. I hope not though.