There was a time when the most important thing about a hotel was the view or the decor or the location. If you were trying to choose between two hotels, the deciding factor might be something like the pool or the buffet breakfast. In recent years these priorities have changed a little and one of the questions we ask when looking at any hotel is, “Does it have wi-fi?”
Ahhh yes, wi-fi. That super-duper stuff whipping around the plato-sphere, bringing videos and photos of cats straight to your handheld device or laptop. It’s quite the game changer. Okay, so wi-fi is kind of a big deal, but is that really such a bad thing?
The truth is, it is important to us and if it wasn’t, we wouldn’t pay so much attention to making sure it’s available. I know when I’m writing a review of a hotel on Tripadvisor or a restaurant on Urbanspoon, I mention if wi-fi is available, if it’s a good connection and if it’s free. Similarly, while reading reviews online, I’ve heard Matt remark, “Oh! The wi-fi isn’t free, you have to pay $20 for 24 hours. That sucks.” Sometimes it can even turn us off booking a hotel altogether.
When you’re paying for a hotel room the last thing you want to be doing is paying extra on top of the room cost for wi-fi access. Our need for wi-fi and the importance we place on it is why more and more hotels, restaurants and cafes and even community spaces are making sure they have good quality wi-fi.
Even as I’m writing this I can’t help but feel a little bit guilty that internet access is playing such a big part in my decisions. But why do I want it so bad? So I can post a photo on Instagram? Update my status on Facebook? Cyber-stalk my ex-boyfriend’s, sister’s, step-brother’s cousin? Yes! (Well, yes to most of those things, not all of them).
Things have changed and we live a completely different way to how we used to 10 years ago, that doesn’t mean we’re doing it wrong or should feel guilty about it.
When I’m travelling I love to have internet access so I can share my adventures with my family and friends and my husband too, if he’s not there with me. I want to be able to keep in touch with them so I know how they are and can talk to them because I miss them.
Not only that but I love my job and, lucky for me, travel and work are combined sometimes. I don’t just have to work while I travel, I want to work while I travel and show all of you the cool places I’m seeing at that exact moment, so you can share it with me and maybe feel a little inspired to spoil yourself with a holiday too.
Taking the time to connect to the wi-fi while at a hotel or cafe while I’m travelling doesn’t mean I’m enjoying myself any less or not appreciating the place I’m in. In my case, it’s quite the opposite. If I’m having a fantastic time, I want to capture that moment and be able to share it with people I care about.
Okay, so maybe there are a few people who take it too far and spend their entire holiday glued to their phone and completely miss the beauty of the moment and what’s around them. Sure, there are those who spend far too long perfecting the perfect swimsuit selfie and lose hours deciding which Instagram filter to go with, Valencia or X-Pro II. But hey, if that makes them happy, then more power to them, it’s not really up to me to decide how they spend their holiday.
I guess what I’m saying is, wi-fi is an important part of travel now and it does impact where we stay or eat and I’m okay with that. There’s no point feeling guilty about spending too much time looking at your phone or laptop while you’re on holiday, as long as you’re happy and having a fun time, then you’re doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing.
So, those are my thoughts on wi-fi and travel, what are yours? Do you find wi-fi an important part of choosing where to stay or eat at while you’re travelling? Do you impose a strict no-internet rule while you’re on holidays? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Share them in the comments below.