Staying Connected.

We live in a society that is ruled by ‘information now’ technology. We get excited when we see someone has ‘liked’ a photo or status update on Facebook. We ‘retweet’ things we are amused by on Twitter. Even the younger generation is techno savvy. I see children as young as ten, armed with smart phones & data plans. My four year old niece is a whiz on my iPad. So, when we go on vacation, do we really go on ‘vacation’?

Some of us simply cannot help ourselves. We call home to check up on the kids, we text our sitter and ask about our three-legged dog, Fifi. We make sure the newest member of the family, Mr. Piddles, the cat, is settling in while we’re away. In a way, we’re all guilty of it. But with all of this handy technology at our disposal comes the wicked backlash of the bill. It’s the nasty business of overages and roaming that gets me steamed.

Devon & I are not unlike most people. We have smart phones and, for the most part, we’re pretty much ‘in like’ with them. She has an iPhone and I have a BlackBerry. She’s a Mac, I’m a PC, and we still get along. So, when it’s deemed time for us to hit the road, we, naturally, bring one phone with us. It’s for emergencies and keeping in touch with the family and our dog-sitter. Occasionally, emails get opened and Facebook and Twitter get checked. We might even be so bold as to tweet a few times.

We are both responsible when it comes to our travel plans. We phone and let our banks know when and where we’ll be and for how long. We phone our cell phone provider and let them know we’ll be out of country and to please switch our data plan accordingly. With all of this preparation, nothing could go wrong, right? Off we went on our ten day vacation, knowing we had done all of the things necessary to ensure a smooth, wrinkle free trip. The funny thing about wrinkles is, no matter how small they start out, eventually, they get bigger… and noticeable.

Our cell phones switched over to the American counterparts when we crossed the border and functioned fine. We were both offered US roaming and data plans through our phones. Handy. We had a blast on our trip and came home to happy animals and all was right in the world.

And then the cell phone eBill came.

How a service provider feels justified in charging 750 bucks for ten days down south is beyond my realm of comprehension. Could we really have racked up that much in roaming and charges simply checking our emails? It’s not like either of us opened up the browser, loaded up a page then threw the phone in the glove box. We’re both too cautious for that. We close out all programs and apps, then check to make sure it was done correctly. You can rest assured that we called and reamed out our provider for such ludicrous charges. How are you okay with such blatant highway robbery? Excuse me, Mr. Giant Telecommunications Co., that’s MY wallet in your hand!?! What’s that you say? I forgot to ‘activate’ the plan?? No, sir, I am not the one with the button. You are. You also record EVERY phone call. I can hardly contain myself.

This… is their argument.

So, do you lay down and play dead, and pay the required minimum to keep your phone (your life line) going? Or, do you stand up to the aforementioned, heartless service provider and continue to fight for what you know is right? Presently, we are at a crossroads. I can still keep up with the rest of the world online. They may take my cell phone, but they can never take away my lap top!

I think on our next trip, we’ll stick with using the lap top in rest areas and cafés.

Skype anyone?

– Jade

(topic suggested by Amanda – thanks lady!)

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