They’re everywhere – frustrated people wandering aimlessly from café to café, not because of the quality of the coffee
, but because of the availability of something much more valuable - power outlets. It’s a tech phenomenon called “outlet outrage,” and it’s sweeping the nation.
The term, coined by Intel, is being used to describe travelers who admit to compromising personal comfort and hygiene in pursuit of a power source to keep their Ultrabook™ device, tablet or netbook charged. They go to great lengths including choosing a restaurant or coffee house based on outlet availability, seeking out public bathrooms or sitting on the floor near an outlet.
I recently found myself hunting down the elusive outlet at an airport. At first, I thought I was overreacting, yet according to the new Intel Survey: 'Tech Norms for Travelers' nearly half of all travelers find themselves on this same quest.
Though it sounds ominous at first blush, “outlet outrage” is actually a result of the deepening bond travelers have for their tech devices and their desire to stay connected. With the explosion of social networks, instant information, entertainment and travel services conveniently available on the Web, modern travelers find themselves more empowered by technology than ever before. Gone are the days of travel as a simple escape of ‘daily life’ as more people seek to enhance and share vacation experiences in real-time and use technology to truly make travel more fun and more memorable.
Having just returned from a two-month sabbatical traveling through Sweden and Hong Kong, I can attest to my own reliance on my Ultrabook for a slew of travel services, along with my desire to have always-on connectivity while on-the-go. I was able to research and book my trip, ask friends for tips on Facebook, stay entertained on the long flights and create vibrant albums full of HDR photographs that I shared in real-time with my friends.
Dusk over the medieval skyline of Gamla Stan, Stockholm, Sweden. HDR photo created with Photomatix Pro and edited with Google Picasa on an Ultrabook™ device.
Below I'll share some of my favorite travel apps and tech tips and tricks for my fellow globetrotters.
Keeping It Personal
The Intel Survey, commissioned by TNS, shows that 51 percent of young adults admit to peeping at someone else’s screen.
- Location, Location, Location: You never know who is a “peeping-tech.” Be aware of your surroundings and use privacy screen shields when viewing sensitive documents.
- Practice Safe Browsing: You cannot be too cautious when accessing your personal information. Use safe online practices such as accessing protected WiFi networks and use strong passwords.
- Keep Your Private Information Private: Consider a device with anti-theft technology. For instance, Intel Ultrabook™ devices sold in the U.S. come now with a limited free subscription utilizing Intel® Anti-Theft technology, which shuts down and locks the device if it is lost or stolen.
Lessening The Load
Despite our tech dependence, 52 percent of all travelers are annoyed by the physical burdens traveling with technology brings, including heavy mobile devices, power cords and battery packs, and pulling their device out of their bag to go through the airline security check.
- Lighter and Thinner Device Styles: With Ultrabook, a long day of travel seems less painful on your back and shoulders. You don’t even have to pack extra batteries due to the Ultrabook device’s long battery life – offering a minimum of 5 hours and up to 9 hours on some designs.
- Online Resources: Travel guidebooks are great, but they can be cumbersome when you only have a backpack! I was surprised to find that much of their content can now be found online, allowing you to save valuable packing space and use your computer as your tour guide. A great place to start is with Arrivalguides To Go.
- Apps and bookmark: These are invaluable for easy navigation and planning on-the-fly. One of my favorite parts of travel is capturing beautiful HDR photos, and I used Nik Software’s Snapseed to create artsy photo effects. And I even used local websites to find last-minute child care for my kids when we traveled to Sweden.
Three-quarters of all travelers surveyed bring their mobile computing device to stay connected to friends and family (75 percent), bucking the idea that dependence on technology detracts from time with family and friends.
- Real Time Updates: While traveling, family and friends back home wanted real-time updates on our European adventures. To share memories while on-the-go, programs like Google Picasa and Flickr allowed me to upload and edit photos instantaneously.
- Phone Home: We would use Skype to stay in touch with family in the U.S. and tell them about our adventures.
- Travel journals: Many travelers also use online travel journals to capture their memories. TravelPod has a slick and easy format that also allows you to print your blog as a book when you return from your trip!
To view photos of my travels, visit my Flickr page, and share your favorite techie travel tips in the comments below!