Being connected is liberating (duh)

We’re just back from a quick road trip, a micro-vacation to explore nearby Cleveland. We visited the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and the Great Lakes Science Center. I’ll write a little more about those later, but I wanted to capture my initial impressions of my first connected road trip, by which I mean one with an iPhone and a data plan.

In a word, it was liberating. Not having to nail down all of our plans in advance, we could be more flexible and adapt to the energy level of the kids. This is another way of saying we could be ourselves and pretty much make things up as we went along.

Having turn-by-turn navigation was huge, and Google Maps was outstanding. I used Apple’s Maps to start, but after giving Google Maps a try, I stayed with it. My stress level was noticeably lower knowing I didn’t have to figure out where to turn to get back to the highway from the museums. There were a few little, tricky turns that I never would’ve found without the help.

I quickly found a great little pocket of restaurants to choose from near the hotel, including a Thai place and a Lebanese cafe, where we ended up eating.

Of course, none of this is impossible without a connected phone. I know I’m late to this party, too, having settled for iPods and iPads until I could get an iPhone on my terms, not those of a carrier. Knowing we would be traveling this month, I paid for a month of data, and will likely return to a minimal plan next month.

Interesting to note that, even when using it as the impulse struck, I only consumed about 18 MB for the whole trip. I could probably get by on the 500 MB data plan and still get a lot of value when we travel.

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