Data Roaming Rule Change Will Kill the Traditional Boring Holiday

By Gary Cutlack on at

You know holidays? You know how they start? The first two days you're all lost in unfamiliar surroundings, sort of wishing you were still at home as, to be honest, it's all weird and boring and you miss your chair and the tea and the right kind of not-melted biscuit.

But then, magically, you get used to it. Boring becomes nice. Not having three screens of various sizes within arm's reach is actually good. Not being phoned about inconsistencies in three versions of the same Excel doc you ran away from is great. Having nothing to do or look at is, actually, quite nice.

Well that's all going to end now data roaming fees have been killed across the EU. No longer will you wander around Rome lost – you'll be straight on your phone, grateful for an excuse to get it out – locating yourself within seconds and continuing to your chain hotel via the most direct route, right after taking a few minutes to check that your favourite brands haven't posted any dynamite new viral material involving CG cats while you've been out of range.

How not very romantic.

Instead of reading one of the only three books in the entire sodding holiday cottage for something to do, you'll continue being on Twitter and Facebook all day, as seamlessly as if you were still at home in your living room, not experiencing anything new or different, but somehow spending £850 to be in an uncomfortable house. You'll never get into holiday mode at all.

And the pyramids! Instead of wondering about the people who built them and why – and was it actually the Martians? – you'll be thinking up a funny caption about foreign builders to put beneath one of the 48 photos you've taken and are uploading while expressionlessly sitting on a camel because the signal's better up there and you're in a hurry to get some likes to validate the expense of going.

Hotel Wi-Fi is usually rubbish, so in the past we would give up (see also: train Wi-Fi, aeroplane Wi-Fi, airport Wi-Fi), but mobile data will always be there. And if it's not, the even more horrible thought is that you'll always be looking for it while overseas, therefore spending holidays in a directionless connectivity purgatory, eternally looking for the lost bars, never resting until you find the mythical hill that rumour has is may connect you to an H+ so you can update the Facebook app.

The terror of data fees, and cross-network call charges in the olden days, meant we were free on holiday. Free to not contact or be contacted. Now we'll be collaboratively editing Google docs from beside the pool via a SIM connection, inconvenienced by the sunlight and moving to the shade to be nearer the charger.

There's no point going on holiday. If you want to be uncomfortable for 10 days in the summer of 2016, just sleep in the spare room or on the sofa, and melt all your chocolate in the grill before eating it. The home Wi-Fi will always be faster.

Image credit: Phone holiday from Shutterstock