I have been asked on a number of occasions to reveal my carry-on secrets—what do I bring to make myself comfortable on all the long flights I take? While it used to be about a good neck pillow and a cozy cashmere sweater and travel blanket, my packing list has evolved to include a panoply of tech devices: a BlackBerry for catching up on e-mail; an iPad for reading magazines and newspapers and reviewing stories for forthcoming T+L issues; an iPhone with apps for airport navigation, flight updates, and connecting on social media; and a portable charger. (I am clearly not alone—see Karrie Jacobs’s “Is This the Best Airport in the World?” on Singapore’s hypermodern Changi).
Despite it all, I regularly flirt with the idea of untethering from tweets, blogs, photo-sharing sites, and the long tentacles of office e-mail, if only for a brief interlude. In the case of this month’s cover story on the southern coast of Liguria, “The Beach, Italian Style,” by Devin Friedman, I have a shadowy sense of what it might be like from the carefree time I spent there with my college roommate, Ann Marie, in the days when my typing was confined to an electric Smith Corona. Being unplugged in the Berkshires, in the lush peaks and valleys of western Massachusetts, would yield more time to attend concerts at Tanglewood, see dance performances at Jacob’s Pillow, sample farm-to-table restaurants, and stock up on local artisanal provisions. (“Welcome to the New Berkshires,” by Dani Shapiro). For those wishing to get farther out of range, a generation of reinvented adventure cruise ships that combine comfort with exploration is now plying the waters of the Amazon, the Galápagos, and Antarctica; T+L’s cruise editor, Jane Wooldridge, shares her favorites (“Sea Change”).
And then there’s our Strategies section this month: along with celebrating the winners of T+L’s second annual SMITTY (Social Media in Travel and Tourism) Awards, it offers insights into how to optimize your social networks during your travels. As for my own carry-on essentials, I keep reminding myself that the joy of travel is being there in real time and looking up to experience the world firsthand. Snap, blog, and post if you want to, but don’t forget to take in where you are.
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