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Staying Plugged In On Vacation

I’m posting from Buenos Aires today, where I’ll be spending a month with my family visiting my husband’s parents. It took me three days after arriving to get my various electronic devices up and running so I could surf the web, post to my blogs and charge my camera batteries.

Last time we were here, I just left all that behind. But even on vacation, I’m not willing to walk away from my precious Internet connection these days. That makes me pretty typical, the Washington Post says. Teens are the biggest culprits when it comes to staying plugged in on vacation, but parents are guilty too.

A lot of parents think taking technology on vacation is wrecking an old tradition, but for others, it’s just a sign of the times. Obviously, I’m in the latter camp.

Yes, having a “working vacation” means my attention and time are divided here in Buenos Aires just like they are at home. Not much of a vacation, in that sense. But I’m grateful for the technology that makes it possible for me to spend most of the summer in Argentina.

For the 16 to 20 hours a day I’m not working, I’m on vacation visiting relatives, exploring a foreign country and having a great time with my kids. And when I get home, I’ll still be able to pay all my bills. Seems like a fair trade to me.

My kids brought their high technology with them, too, and their pursuits are arguably less noble than keeping their careers rolling smoothly. The little ones are using Daddy’s iPhone to watch Sesame Street and play games. My teenager has logged in to keep up with friends, play video games with his buddies back home and share American TV episodes he’s downloaded with his Argentine cousins.

We’re all plugged in, a lot of the time.

We spend so much time in two places at once though that it doesn’t seem like that much of a disruption. The same social manners that keep technology in it’s place at home apply here: don’t bring it to the table. Don’t be texting while talking to someone who’s in the room with you. Take your headphones off when you’re having a conversation.

If anything, it’s a little easier to unplug here where our cell phones don’t actually work. I have the Internet in my laptop, but not in my pants pocket. My stepson can listen to his iPod all day long, but he can’t text his friends over dinner.

Does your family have special rules for taking, or leaving, your technology on vacation? How has it changed your family vacations?

Photo: Nathan Reed

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