Smart phones have revolutionized every aspect of our daily life and changed the way we travel. Nowadays people have access to boarding passes, train tickets, hotel reservations, etc with a click of a button. In many cases printing your itinerary is no longer necessary. Carrying a camera has become optional, unless getting high definition pictures is the goal.  Altogether smart phones have facilitated traveling, allowing us to have planned  and organized trips and to travel lighter than before. But what happens when the unexpected happens and somehow you loose your phone or can’t use it anymore?  Well, that happened to me during our last trip to Europe!

    We had been in Italy for about five days, had seen and taken pictures of il Duomo, Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle and the Last Supper in Milan. We were in the quaint Lake Como village of Varenna at the time , which is one of Rick Steves favorite places in the world, and had  witnessed breathtaking landscapes with stunning sunsets. It was only day five of a fourteen day trip and I already could count my pictures in the hundreds. Then, plop! I dropped my iPhone in the toilet and lost everything.

    First I panicked, then I was sad to lose my pictures. But thankfully, I am always prepared to continue my trip in case of a bump in the road like this big one. So I’d like to share some of my tips to keep your pictures safe and travel information easily accessible.

1. Print your attractions, tours and train tickets

    I always print and organize our tickets in a chronological order inside a folder that I will carry in a backpack or carry on for easy access. During the day, I only carry the tickets we are using, leaving the rest in the safe or safely stored at the place we are staying.

    Trust me it is worth it, as having internet access abroad is not a sure thing and picking them up at the venue can be lengthy due to tedious lines. So just save yourself some time and trouble.

2. Create an organized schedule with itineraries, confirmation numbers, addresses, etc.

    Having an organized schedule with all the info you need is super handy. I create a detailed two sided page with information of our activities and transportation with timetables, addresses, phone and confirmation numbers.Then, I print it in different sizes, give one to my husband and put the rest in different places: luggage, carry on and folder with my tickets. This is a very efficient way to keep all of our travel arrangements in one place and within reach. I also take a picture of it and email it to myself in case of an emergency.

3. Save your pictures periodically into the cloud

    This was my biggest mistake, I didn’t save anything into the cloud. So before you leave for your trip, back up your old pictures, make sure you have enough space for new ones and save them periodically, say every few days, into the cloud.

4. Post your favorite pictures on Facebook in a folder than can be only seen by you

    One way to save your favorite pictures is to upload them to Facebook and post them in a way that only you can see them. You can later share them and download them to other devices. This is another way to  back up your pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

5. Bring a camera

    I know these days carrying a camera feels pointless. We can take a picture and share it to the world within seconds, but how would you preserve your memories if you can’t use the camera in your phone anymore? Well, you could take a chunk of your travel expending budget and buy a camera wherever you are. However, wouldn’t it be nicer to bring a camera you already know how to use and trust?

    I remember before our trip my husband insisted I should leave my camera at home, but I really enjoy good quality pictures so I brought it anyway. Thanks to that decision I have pictures that I can call mine (from my perspective).

6. Have a meeting point in case of an emergency

    This last one came to my mind at the train station in Milan as I was looking for the bathroom while my husband watched our bags on a different floor (remember I didn’t have a phone). What would happen if there was an emergency? If my husband and I got separated,  where will I find him?

    We both decided than from than point on during our trip we were going to set a meeting point in case of separation. This applies for all kind of emergencies, as cellphones usually don’t work during natural and man made disasters. I would advise you to know where the nearest embassy or consulate is and make that your meeting place.

 

    Even though I lost my pictures and had no more access to my phone, I rediscovered a couple of amazing things we have forgotten while staring at our phones: socializing and relaxing! I was forced to ask for directions, interact more with people and practice my Italian.  Along the way we also met some wonderful people, some of which we still keep in touch with

 

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