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I took my summer holidays with my boyfriend in the second half of August. We knew a couple of months before that we would spend time with his family at their summer home in Elantxobe (the Basque Country, in northern Spain), and that we also wanted to go on a road trip across the Bordeaux region.
It's the first thing you see in the morning and the last thing at night. Smartphones have replaced the alarm clock, paper planner, rolodex, calculator, camera and so much more. Every day, I find myself more and more dependent on my mobile phone. Let me tell you why…
Pinning down the main destinations helped narrow our search early on. Two months before the trip, we started mapping out our itinerary using Google Maps, TripAdvisor and Google Search on our smartphones. It became an iPhone5 vs. Samsung S3 race, as we simultaneously looked for things to do, places to visit and how to get there. Of course, we also booked hotels with good reviews and free Wi-Fi. I had the extra task of digging deep into my 6 months of French classes back in my university days, which were somehow dormant in my brain.
These days, there's an app for everything. So we started downloading app packages that we could access even without internet connection (to avoid expensive roaming charges in our phone bills). Navigation, language translation, maps and destination tips were on our list. We used Navfree, the French package in Google Translator, TripAdvisor, the Bordeaux offline guide and Word Lens, a really cool app that works through image recognition and translate signs and phrases into your own language. The latter is sometimes accurate, other times it’s just funny.
Staying connected via Facebook and Whatsapp is really important to me, as most of my family and friends are back in the Philippines. Thanks to Viber and Tango for those clear and free video calls!We found ourselves checking our phones as we went from one village to another. Starting with an app lead, we discovered castles, quaint villages, restaurants and vineyards which offered tours in English, as well as wine tasting courses. Taking tons of photos from panoramic shots of vineyards, interesting doorways and castles to selfies, my phone became an indispensable tool for documenting our holiday. I was even posting them on Facebook in batches whenever I got free Wi-Fi.
Now that we have returned to the city and are back to reality, we've already started to look for our next holiday destination to ease the post-holiday blues. For someone who probably would never call herself a tech or gadget junkie, I would say that my smartphone has been an essential part of my trip and my life... It helped me access information, make sure I was up and ready before check-out, discover restaurants nearby, communicate in a different language, explore amazing places and share and connect with the people I care about the most.
My name is Francesca and I’m a mobile addict.
Editor’s note: We asked Amadeus employees to share their travel experiences and thoughts on personalised, connected and sustainable travel. You can check out all their responses in the Summer blogs tag page.