Today, mobile phones are an essential part of our existence for many reasons – we rely on it for all our contacts, it doubles up as a camera, an SOS device, a torch, a connection to the digital world and so much more. They become even more important while travelling alone or with companions to capture perfect memories in the form of photographs, video and also for quick uploads online to our social media feed.
I’ve been close to each of my owned mobile handsets and still managed to lose some of them. For instance, I lost my first handset after it slipped out of my pocket while seated in a tuk-tuk. I realized that I lost it only after I reached home and started looking for it to call my mom.
The next time I lost a phone was when I went for a safari in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. There was a heavy downpour and our open safari jeep was drenched. Nothing in our waterproof bags was left dry. We were wet to the bone and my mobile handset didn’t find any dry place where it could be safe. It didn’t revive even after placing it in rice overnight. Since I was touring, I was left with limited connection with my folks back home and used the laptop to sign in to Facebook every night to leave a message.
In a year’s time after my hazardous-for-mobile-phone safari episode in Sri Lanka, I was headed to Goa by train for my best friend’s wedding. I was travelling alone and as I woke up after a good night’s sleep on the train amidst some really sweet elders, I stashed my phone in the back pocket of my jeans and headed to the washroom. Now, if you’ve been on long-distance trains in India, you would know that the contents of the washroom bowl are eliminated out of the train in real time. I heard a sound before I could get around to doing anything and reached out to grab my phone in the back pocket only to realize that the sound was that of my phone getting eliminated from the train. I was in shock. I was thinking about how I had lost my only connection to my parents, my fiancé, my best friend, my job, and to anyone or anything. The sweet elderly people let me use their phone to call my mum and convey my grief. The worst part was that I was in a long distance relationship with my fiancé and a personal phone was the only way I could keep in touch with him. I can easily say that the 10 or so days that followed were the worse and most isolated days I’ve faced.
Keeping each of these episodes in mind, I have put together a list of things to do tot keep phones safe while travelling.
1. Use a sling bag – something with a zipper so that your stuff doesn’t just slip out or fall out even if you’re wearing comfortable and loose clothing. Also, make sure that the sling bag is always across one shoulder so that the sling bag itself doesn’t slip.
2. Protect it from the elements – A waterproof and slash proof pouch is a good investment if you’re sure to indulge in experiences in and around rain/snow or even a lot of sand.
3. Are you feeling under the weather, is the weather too hot to handle and puts you at a risk of feeling faint? The best thing to do at such a time is to put your phone away.
4. Do not leave it unattended in public places. Follow this tip even if you’re travelling with a companion. You never know when your travel partner might lose sight of the device and someone might pick it up before you notice.
5. Invest in a good phone case – Can’t stress on this one enough. A good case can save your phone even if it happens to slip from a height or gets run over by a trolley.
6. Phone insurance – The best thing about phone insurance is, depending on which one you opt for, you could get a brand new phone in case it gets damaged. I personally prefer keeping the phone safe rather than using the insurance claim. I get paranoid about my personal data.
7. And just in case, you lost your device or it got stolen, if you’re one of those who turned on ‘find-my-phone’ and remote wiping: before your trip, you can use the find-your-phone feature to locate it.
Have you had any instances while travelling? Share them with me – I’m curious to know if there are others like me out there.