Thursday, July 19, 2012

Our Most Wired Vacation Ever

Canadian Rockies in June

Although I try to limit technology on vacations, our recent trip to Alberta, Canada ended up being our most "wired" ever.  I had one child taking an online course who had to submit assignments during our trip, my husband needed to check in with work occasionally, and I had another child who had a school registration date during our vacation as well.  This meant we had to have access to a computer while traveling, so as we loaded the van, in went the laptop.  And since we had the laptop, it meant everyone checked emails more than usual as well.  

Using the internet in our hotel.

We drove from Salt Lake to Alberta, and spread the drive out over two days.  Although my kids are veteran road-trippers, I had one child concerned about passing the time on the trip, so in went the DVD player.  To his credit, I think he only watched one movie in the back of the van the entire 9 day vacation, and that was during the first leg of the trip.  Still, it is interesting to note that having the option of using the DVD player was like a security blanket.

DVD player in the car

I like to put on music and drive, which is why I love road trips, I guess.  Although we took a CD case loaded with CDs (something for everyone), I also took my beat-up Sanza Fuze mp3 player as well.  It is terribly convenient to have so much of MY music available on these trips.  I noticed if my kids didn't like the music mix, they put their own earbuds in, so it all worked out.

Music for the road.

However, I also found everyone spent some time with the tried and true road trip survival methods we have encouraged over the past several years.  Looking out the window is the obvious activity of choice.  With our recent interest in bird watching, it gained an added appeal.  On the way to Alberta, I saw a prairie falcon, turkey vulture, and golden eagle along the side of the road.  Also, as we drove near Glacier in Montana, we spotted some other wildlife.

Young bear near Glacier National Park.

I was happy to see kids reading and playing in the car instead of just being wired all the time.  We enjoy chatting and laughing together as we travel.  I really love being in the car with just my family for days at a time.  It is another thing I enjoy about road trips.  Maybe it is because my kids are older now, but this particular trip went very smoothly.

Reading in the car...books are a must!

At each place we stayed, using the pool was the top priority for our group.  Two motels even had water slides, which made several family members very happy.  After a day of sightseeing or driving, the pool was the perfect place to unwind and loosen stiff muscles.  We also took an assortment of games (card games and board games), and enjoyed playing every one of them during our trip.

Nopy plays in the car.

Since we don't have international plans on our cell phones, we only paid to add international calling on one phone for this trip, and left the other phones at home.  I was happy to find I did not miss my cell phone at all.  In fact, it was incredibly freeing to NOT have it with me.  Our one cell phone saw limited use, and was mainly used to set up visits with friends once we were in Calgary.  It truly feels like a vacation when you can leave all those distractions behind.

Artist and Artwife at Bow Falls

So, even though technology played a more prominent role on this trip than we normally like, I felt like we managed to control the technology and its use, instead of letting it be dominant on this vacation.  How do you deal with technology during your family vacations?  Is it a life-saver, or a headache?

For more on technology and the family, check out my other blog posts.

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