Switched to smartphone

By Dianne Robbins
This item appears on page 45 of the January 2020 issue.

I enjoyed reading the letters from people who travel with a minimum of high-tech equipment (Sept. ’19, pg. 29). My husband and I have been using “dumb” flip phones. I do have a tablet that I use for email, since friends at home like to read my daily trip reports, plus I have my books loaded on it. But something happened on our last trip that made me rethink not having a smartphone. 

Our luggage got left at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol when we flew through to Prague, Czechia, in August 2019. The airline, KLM, knew where it was (the luggage had simply missed the short connection), but, of course, they wanted a phone number.

We didn’t have a phone number for Europe, only email. And we were staying at an Airbnb, which meant there was no desk clerk or anyone to receive the luggage. I left my email address and clearly stated that that was the only way to contact us.

We heard nothing for hours. I finally emailed our host, who wonderfully took things over for us. He called KLM (multiple times), and finally a time frame was confirmed for the luggage delivery so we could be at the apartment to sign for it. (We had offered to go to the airport to pick it up, but KLM said that wasn’t an option.)

Delayed luggage was one hassle. The problem was compounded, multiple times, by our not being able to talk with anyone at KLM. It was a situation I’d really rather not go through again. Of course, a solution is to stay at a hotel or travel with a tour company, but we still enjoy independent travel.

So it looked like, in the future, we just might have to break down and buy a smartphone for one of us, one that works internationally. 

Then, in November, we discovered that, in 2020, Verizon is “retiring” the network our flip phones use; they literally will stop working. So, yes, I now have a smartphone and, yes, it will work internationally. 

Penfield, NY