What is the one thing you could never be without? I could probably get away with travelling with very little. I am a minimalist and I tend to pack light, but the one thing you would never catch me without, aside from my passport, is my phone.
I have heard the argument that mobile phones have ruined travel countless times. Whether it’s the disappearance of the mystique of what awaits when you arrive in a new country, or the loss of our adventurous spirit as we no longer get lost, or the ability of getting away from everything. A million reasons have been quoted for why phones have changed the world for the worse.
But I personally think these arguments are a little bit short-sighted. You can’t argue that mobile phones have changed the world, but certainly not for the worse. There is a reason why there are more than 3 billion smartphone users in the world today. And out of those 3bn+ users, you will find that everyone uses phones differently.
I never go anywhere without my phone, particularly when I travel. This has meant that I now have the freedom to travel the world and run my business from wherever I find myself. But how do I make that happen and how did it all start in the first place?
Becoming part of a community
After the break up of a long-term relationship a few years ago, I realised that the vast majority of my friends were all common friends with my partner at the time, and they were all couples. Over time I realised that as I was no longer part of a couple, we were losing that common ground and I was distancing myself from my circle of friends. I needed to expand my network and meet new people.
It was through my phone and the app Meet-up that I came across a group of people that got together regularly to explore London, take photos and then share them on Instagram. I’d always been interested in photography but what really caught my eye is that this group predominantly used their phones to capture photos of London. It wasn’t about the technical side of photography, but rather about the creativity.
This was the real starting point of where I find myself today. I started off taking photos of London on my phone, and sharing them on Instagram. This evolved into sharing photos of my travels alongside writing about them. But all along this process I became part of a community that I would never have known it existed, had it not been for my phone. And I can happily say that I met some of my very good friends within that community.
Staying in touch with friends and family
We all know it’s super important to stay in touch with your friends and family, community, support network, whatever you want to call it. It’s like with everything in life. If you don’t cultivate your relationships they will eventually wither.
This is the case in particular when you spend much of your time travelling. With a travel blogger lifestyle where I spend some of my time at home and some on the road, my phone is the best tool I have to keep in touch with my friends and family.
But not only is it important for me, but also I find that those close to me find it hard to keep track of whether I’m at home in London, or whether I’m in some other part of the world. Instagram Stories is a great way for me to share the destinations I’m visiting, but also for those around me to know what I’m up to. And this is one of the best ways for me to stay connected.
I have recently switched networks to Three because it offered free roaming in 71 countries. It was a no brainer for me, as it is a lot easier to keep in touch, keep sharing my experiences and not have to worry about running up big data bills in each country I visit.
Freedom to run my own business remotely
As a travel blogger and content creator, travelling is core to my business, and I need to be able to carry on working while I’m on the road. It is the only reason I can travel so much.
But for this, I need the right tools. Of course, I have my laptop, but sometimes it’s not practical getting your laptop out to do a bit of work. This is where the phone comes in. From responding to emails, to sharing content on social media, to making notes and gathering content, whether it’s photos, videos, or voice notes.
Travelling as much as I do would certainly not be possible without my phone. And even on every day life at home in London, from things like navigating public transport with Citymapper, so you know what time you have to leave to get somewhere in time taking into account any delays, or listening to audiobooks or podcasts while you walk, or even setting up a date for the weekend.
Whether at home or on the road, my phone is my freedom and I’d never be without it.
This is a paid partnership article with Three, a mobile phone supplier in the UK as part of their Phones Are Good Campaign. Three believe that phones have been getting too hard a time recently. Far from bringing the end to humanity, they think they bring people together. Think about it. These pocket rockets help us plan our social life, find love, build relations, run businesses and make memories. They also keep us connected on the go, including 71 destinations worldwide with Three’s Go Roam proposition. As part of the paid article, Three asked me to share my personal experiences on why phones are good. These opinions, stories and images are my own.
Teresa is an award-winning travel blogger based in London. She’s on a mission to explore the world through responsible cultural and adventure travel, and through deeper, more meaningful local experiences. She’s a lover of adventure, the outdoors and everything food related, and she’s always looking for ways to make a positive impact through sustainable travel.