When packing your suitcase and double-checking that you have everything that you need, do you even think about your cell phone? Probably not, since that is something that you are just as sure to have on you as a pair of shoes! Check out these top five reasons why on any trip you take, it’s best to ditch the phone 99% of the time!

Capture Moments

Let’s face it…today’s smartphones have cameras that capture such high-quality photos that you don’t really need to own a camera anymore. And because they are so easy to take with you versus a traditional camera, it’s easy to capture every moment of your travels, from catching the sunrise over the white sands of Zanzibar to watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle as you pass by on a twilight river cruise. Whether you capture these moments to share on instagram, add to your snap story, or for some photo album action, never underestimate the power of taking mind photos too. You know, those simple snapshots that you capture by simply looking through the lense of your own eyes. These are the types of “photos” that really will last a lifetime.

Live Now

Similar to taking those mind photos, sometimes it’s best to simply be in the moment. Don’t worry about how to perfectly pose while tossing a coin into the Trevi Fountain or if the giraffe standing behind you is looking into the camera…can we just marvel at the fact that there is a GIRAFFE standing behind you! These are the moments that you should simply live in and let someone else (cough cough the counselors) worry about taking amazing photos of you and everything that you are experiencing. Living in the now is also why on all of our programs we regulate the use of phones so that eyes on what is around us rather than glued to a screen. So when you’re at dinner, why not put your phone down and really savor your food and take time to bond with your fellow travelers? (We promise you will start to love our “no phones at the dinner table” policy for this very reason!) And when you’re riding the train or the metro, why not do some people watching with your friends? And when we’re out and about walking to our next destination of the day, how about taking in all of the amazing sites! Of course we still want you to be able to connect with friends and family back home, so this is reserved for when we are having some downtime at our accommodation, not when we are out exploring the markets of Athens!

Be Smart

Smartphones are expensive. End of story. And all the more reason to not want to lose them! So when you’re off exploring the jungles of the Amazon, paragliding over the Swiss Alps, or hanging on the beaches of Sydney, it’s a good idea to put your phone someplace safe. Losing your phone while traveling isn’t fun for you or anyone else on your trip and can make a really fun experience become unnecessarily stressful. We’re all in this together, so watch out for each other throughout your travels to make sure that everyone’s phones (and photo memories) make it all the way back home with you at the end of your journey!

Keep in Touch

Phones were invented for communication…so why not use them for it? Maybe you want to set up a group chat to get to know the people you will travel with or need to keep in contact as you connect through different airports during your travels. Phones are also a great component to safety on any trip too so that you can keep in contact with trip leaders and fellow travelers if you participate in different activities or divide into groups for some free time to explore. As we’ve already mentioned before, travel is all about living in the moment and experiencing everything around you, but there is no reason to not stay connected when necessary so that everyone has fun and stays safe!

Save for Later

Something that not everyone thinks about when traveling is the possibility of going back to that same place in the future to discover even more! There are multiple apps on phones that allow you to star and save your favorite places, so when you’re back in Galway with your parents you can take them to your favorite fish and chips place. Backpacking in Peru with college friends? Check where the local shop is that you saved so that you can show them where to buy the most epic alpaca ponchos. Relish and remember everything that you discover on your travels now so that in the future you can share those amazing experiences with others!