I will be the first to admit we have a technology addiction issue in our family. So I was hoping to leave the gadgets behind, as much as possible, on our trip to Hawaii. We tend to default to them even if we don’t actually need to check our email or play another move in Words with Friends or update Facebook or whatever silliness we think is urgent. When we have our laptops, we are compelled to work. So we decided to leave our computers at home and pledged to use our phones as little as possible during the trip.

Turns out that in this day and age, that doesn’t really work. We had guidebooks. We had pieces of paper printed out with itineraries and confirmations. But the internet is pretty darn handy when you’re trying to go somewhere. The guidebooks don’t have all the information you need, and they can’t help you find a restaurant when you’re in a random place, like Yelp! can. They don’t always have the updated hours a place is open. Sometimes the phone gives you better directions than the GPS in the car, which doesn’t recognize the name of the beach where you’re going. Sometimes, when you’re waiting to check into a hotel or collect your baggage, playing Words with Friends is a reasonable way to pass the time. When you cleverly take your camera battery out to recharge it and then forget to put it back in the camera the next morning, the iPhone takes pretty excellent photos too. And when you miss your flight, the helpful lady on the other end of the phone can email you your new itinerary and confirmation numbers and you have them handy to show to the person at the desk.

We did an admirable job not using our phones while we were immersed in enjoying paradise. But we did find them quite useful at times, and that was ok.