Early last month I set out for Alaska, tech tools in hand, fully prepared for my journey, or so I thought… The travel time was bound to be more enjoyable with my iPhone, iPad and Kindle fully charged. Just in case, I had my spare battery packs fully charged and at the ready.
To be extra sure that I departed with my iPhone fully charged, I plugged the phone into the car charger for the drive to the airport. I wanted to board the plane with as close to 100% battery power as I could get.
I tucked my phone into my purse with the cord attached and placed my purse on the floor of the car. Arriving at the airport, we were pleased to see the parking garage was nearly empty. We got a primo parking spot close to the elevators and grabbed our luggage out of the car. We whizzed through security and arrived at our gate with plenty of time to spare.
When the time came to board, the plane was not at the gate. I reached for my iPhone to check for delays using the Flight Update app, only to discover the phone wasn’t in my purse. I asked my husband to call my phone. I listened for his ringtone (theme from Mad Men) and felt for a vibration in my purse or luggage.
I whipped out my iPad and opened the Find My Phone app. The app confirmed what I feared:
Sure enough The Force (a/k/a my iPhone) was in the airport parking garage. My iPhone was still in our car.
☞ Don’t miss: Find My iPhone – The Very First App You Should Get
Since the plane wasn’t yet at the gate, our flight must be delayed, I reasoned. I wanted to go back to the parking garage and grab the phone, but that meant waiting in a lengthy line to pass through security again. I figured I needed at least 45 minutes to retrieve my phone.
My husband checked the Flight Update app on his iPhone — no luck. The app showed our flight was on time. I looked to see our plane had arrived at the gate.
Did I panic? Did nomophobia afflict me?
I hadn’t traveled without my iPhone since I got my first one in 2009. Traveling to Alaska from Philadelphia would put over 4000 miles between me and my phone, the farthest I would have been from my phone in 4 years. How would I react?
I realized the tech alternatives I had at my disposal:
- My iPad
- My husband’s iPhone
- My daughters’ Android phones
- My Kindle
Somehow, I would survive.
I again opened the Find My iPhone app and located my iPhone. I activated Lost mode and added a passcode along with a message. If anyone broke into the car and stole my phone they would have to hack the phone before they could use it.
Instead of panicking, I realized I faced an intriguing tech challenge: see how I could cope without my iPhone during my journey.
Having an iPad with a data plan put me at a huge advantage and helped ease my stress. Having a data plan on my iPad allows me to access the Internet without relying on hotel and public Wi-Fi. I realized any app I had on my phone I could add to my iPad. My biggest loss would be my music. I don’t keep my music on my iPad because I don’t have enough storage space, but I quickly downloaded podcasts and Audible audiobooks to my iPad before I boarded the plane.
I notified loved ones back home not to call me on my phone. They could use iMessage, Facebook, Google Plus or email to get in touch. I use a voice mail app that emails me when someone calls or leaves a message on my phone so I wouldn’t have to worry about missing a call.
My travel plans (flight times and rental car and hotel reservations) were all in the TripIt app, but I was able to access them from my the app on my iPad.
My iPhone also functions as my camera. My iPad would have to suffice, no matter how silly I would look taking a picture with a tablet. I didn’t want to miss capturing Alaska scenery.
1. Don’t leave your iPhone charging in the car when you leave on a trip (you probably knew that already).
2. Don’t panic if you do leave your phone behind. You will be just fine. At least I hope you will…..
3. The extra money for my iPad with data was worth it (this might not apply to you if you don’t violate rule number one).
4. Nearly any app you can get on an iPhone you can get on an iPad.
5. It’s worth it to look goofy when you’re taking a picture with an iPad if that’s the only camera you have.
6. Other apps can supplement your communication. I used iMessage, Facebook, Google Plus, and email to communicate with others. Come to think of it, that wasn’t so different than what I do in a normal day…
Over the years people have speculated about having devices such as an iPod Touch, iPad or other tablet with a data plan. With that, and a phone replacement app such as Google Voice or Skype, perhaps you wouldn’t need a smartphone or a carrier plan. In five years will there still be smartphones?
Was I happy to be reunited with my iPhone? You bet.
Will I be canceling my cell phone plan? No way.
Will I be more careful the next time I leave on a trip? Absolutely.
What Would You Do?
If you were in my position and discovered your phone was still in the airport parking lot as you were about to board a plane for a long trip, what would you do?
Have you ever left your smartphone behind on a long trip? Did you panic or suffer from nomophobia? How did you adapt? Do you think smartphones could be replaced with a device that has a data plan and apps? Any guesses as to why I named my iPhone The Force? Let us know in the Comments section below!
*Head Smack image by hobvias sudoneighm
** Don’t Panic image courtesy of Johan Larsson