An unexpected insight from  our recently-completed Turkey vacation was the way mobile devices and wifi networks simplified and improved our travel experience. It was a qualitative change in our travel experience, affecting how we spent our time and our money, and what we packed.

The crucial change was that I carried a borrowed Android smartphone, in place of my 2005-vintage Treo 650. The phone spoke Turkey’s GSM frequencies and was unlocked, ready to accept a local GSM chip. It could use wi-fi and 3G networking, and had a built-in camera. Ducky carried her iPhone, which she didn’t have for last summer’s Botswana trip. Though locked out of Turkish voice and data service, it still could use wi-fi networks and take pictures. We were travelling in parts of Turkey with good mobile voice and data coverage, and where we could easily steer to hotels with wi-fi service.

Let us count the ways this transformed our travel experience.

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