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What if I don't have a cell phone?

Camino(s) past & future
Arriving in Spain August 29, 2017
#1
I know it may be crazy but I am trying to decide if I need to figure out if I should bring a cell phone. Last year I did the St James Way and only had an iPod. There were a couple of times it was convenient but overall I didn't miss it. This time I am doing the Camino del Norte by myself...I am 66 years old. Any thoughts? Thanks Victoria
 

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Aurigny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés, 2016; Português Central, 2017; Português Interior, 2017; Primitivo, 2018.
#2
I am one of the last three people on the planet who don't own a mobile 'phone. I've completed four of these routes to Santiago, and never for a nanosecond felt the need for one of the things on any of them.

One of the immense blessings of going on pilgrimage is the opportunity to get away from all distractions, electronic or otherwise.
 

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KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#7
@dfox , I understand that completely! I carry one not as much for me as for my anxiety ridden loved ones back home!!!
That's why I bought my first smart phone in 2014 (or was it 2015), because of the Camino and my parents. But OTOH I'm not sorry I did. So much you can do with it when on Camino. Everything from simple transportation info, recording my GPS track, booking private accommodation etc. With wi-fi in almost every bar it's so easy.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Camino Frances/Muxia/Fisterre (2017) Caminho Portuguese/Fisterre
(2019) Camino del Norte
#8
That's why I bought my first smart phone in 2014 (or was it 2015), because of the Camino and my parents. But OTOH I'm not sorry I did. So much you can do with it when on Camino. Everything from simple transportation info, recording my GPS track, booking private accommodation etc. With wi-fi in almost every bar it's so easy.
Oh, yes! MIne, too, came in handy for other purposes!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2014), Camino Inca (2015), Primitivo (2017), Portugues (2018)
#9
I did my first Camino without a cell phone (I was probably the 4th last person on the planet to get one). I bought my cell phone, before my 2017 Camino, for emergency purposes. Although I did not use it for phone calls or texting, it became a multi-purpose tool and I loved having it. It was my alarm clock, it kept notes, it had my itinerary and bookings on it, I used it to facetime with my family, to check emails, for maps, to take photos, for making bookings. ....
It's a personal choice. Can you do a Camino without any technology - of course. And many may prefer to do it that way in order to be "unplugged" and to be able to focus on their experience. Myself, I prefer the security of knowing that I have a way to reach help (or for my family to reach me) in case of an emergency.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis June 2018 from Leon to SDC. Roncesvalles to Leon June 2019.
#10
I know it may be crazy but I am trying to decide if I need to figure out if I should bring a cell phone. Last year I did the St James Way and only had an iPod. There were a couple of times it was convenient but overall I didn't miss it. This time I am doing the Camino del Norte by myself...I am 66 years old. Any thoughts? Thanks Victoria
If taking the phone makes you feel more secure then take it, even if you do not use it and the chances are you will not.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Norte/Primitivo (April/May) 2009: Norte/Primitivo (parts) (April/May) 2010: Inglés (May) 2011: Primitivo (April/May) 2012: Norte / Camino de La Reina (April/May) 2013: Camino del Mar / Inglés (May/June) 2015
#12
I know it may be crazy but I am trying to decide if I need to figure out if I should bring a cell phone. Last year I did the St James Way and only had an iPod. There were a couple of times it was convenient but overall I didn't miss it. This time I am doing the Camino del Norte by myself...I am 66 years old. Any thoughts? Thanks Victoria
A simple "clamshell" pay-as-you-go costs very little (€25 - 30) and could be regarded as an insurance policy! The great temptation with a smart phone is spending time on-line etc. which can detract from your Camino. I have carried a "dumb phone" on all my walks - even round home. Now in my seventies, if I do need help for any reason I should be able to get in touch.

Blessings on your planning!
Tio Tel
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Santiago, St Jean to Santuago, 2015
Camino Portuguese, 2018
#13
That's why I bought my first smart phone in 2014 (or was it 2015), because of the Camino and my parents. But OTOH I'm not sorry I did. So much you can do with it when on Camino. Everything from simple transportation info, recording my GPS track, booking private accommodation etc. With wi-fi in almost every bar it's so easy.
And my iPhone is my camera. Take fotos and send easily. (When you get to WiFi )
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#14
And my iPhone is my camera. Take fotos and send easily. (When you get to WiFi )
Yep, exactly although I use my old trustworthy DSLR camera on new Caminos too. But in case of loosing/stealing your phone you better get something like Dropbox app in your phone so at least you'll have the photos if you lose your phone... ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, De Soulac, Norte, Madrid-Salv-Primitivo
#16
I’m the 5th last person on the planet to get a cell phone :), and the camino I walked without a cell phone was undoubtedly the best. But, hey, times change, and the cell phone now replaces my guidebook, my camera, my headtorch, my paperback books . . . all very heavy in my backpack . . .
Jill
 
Camino(s) past & future
Northern Way (2017)
#17
I did the Norte last year. I brought my phone, ereader and DSLR camera. While holding back tears I mailed on my DSLR and ereader cuz my foot couldn’t tolerate the weight.

My phone replaced both. It was my source of music between Gijon and Aviles. I used almost every night to post updates to Facebook to calm family. I had text conversations almost every night with my husband. I made a few bookings along the way, checking to make sure the extra km was worth the effort. I used it as my guide book and gps.

But I was also plagued with a wonky battery and spent many days sans phone.

It was also an expensive toy, because I didn’t plan well. I came back to Canada with a $229 phone bill. I could cover it and it was about what I was expecting . But different circumstances could have had different outcomes.

Would I do a Camino without a phone. Probably not because a phone is part of my daily life now. Could I comfortably do aCamino without a phone. Heck yes! Gives a good excuse to talk to people and ask for assistance. You can still find ways to stay in touch-I made a point to send postcards along the way! My friends and family were delighted in a totally different way. The only “challenge” is that friends and family would have a harder time getting in touch with you.

And many places along the Norte don’t have good reception
 
Camino(s) past & future
Depart Los Angeles on September 19, 2016
#18
I know it may be crazy but I am trying to decide if I need to figure out if I should bring a cell phone. Last year I did the St James Way and only had an iPod. There were a couple of times it was convenient but overall I didn't miss it. This time I am doing the Camino del Norte by myself...I am 66 years old. Any thoughts? Thanks Victoria

Intended or not, the Camino is an extraordinary learning experience. If you opt to be "connected" then you will miss the point of the journey. Leave your devices (ex, perhaps, your phone for an emergency) home and walk solo. It will be transformative.
 

La Brique Jaune

Official member of la confradia del pinza del oro
Camino(s) past & future
2017: SJPDP to Finisterre
(201?): I hope and need to
#21
Hi Victoria Young
Hope my English will be ok. Last year I start my Camino without a Cellphone. But your question for me it is about matters of security so I will not tell if you should to bring one or not.

But I a buy new flip cellphone in Pamplonna for the stratospheric price of 30 Euros :). If I lost it does not hurt me, is also lighter than an Flashy Ipod. You can leave this little cellphone alone in is plug and nobody like thiefs, will care about it.

Bon Chemin
 
Camino(s) past & future
Arriving in Spain August 29, 2017
#22
I am one of the last three people on the planet who don't own a mobile 'phone. I've completed four of these routes to Santiago, and never for a nanosecond felt the need for one of the things on any of them.

One of the immense blessings of going on pilgrimage is the opportunity to get away from all distractions, electronic or otherwise.
Thanks! Victoria
 
Camino(s) past & future
Arriving in Spain August 29, 2017
#23
Hi Victoria Young
Hope my English will be ok. Last year I start my Camino without a Cellphone. But your question for me it is about matters of security so I will not tell if you should to bring one or not.

But I a buy new flip cellphone in Pamplonna for the stratospheric price of 30 Euros :). If I lost it does not hurt me, is also lighter than an Flashy Ipod. You can leave this little cellphone alone in is plug and nobody like thiefs, will care about it.

Bon Chemin
That is a great idea! I will be in Madrid for two days before I head out to Irun!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Arriving in Spain August 29, 2017
#24
Intended or not, the Camino is an extraordinary learning experience. If you opt to be "connected" then you will miss the point of the journey. Leave your devices (ex, perhaps, your phone for an emergency) home and walk solo. It will be transformative.
Thanks! Victoria
 
Camino(s) past & future
Arriving in Spain August 29, 2017
#25
I did the Norte last year. I brought my phone, ereader and DSLR camera. While holding back tears I mailed on my DSLR and ereader cuz my foot couldn’t tolerate the weight.

My phone replaced both. It was my source of music between Gijon and Aviles. I used almost every night to post updates to Facebook to calm family. I had text conversations almost every night with my husband. I made a few bookings along the way, checking to make sure the extra km was worth the effort. I used it as my guide book and gps.

But I was also plagued with a wonky battery and spent many days sans phone.

It was also an expensive toy, because I didn’t plan well. I came back to Canada with a $229 phone bill. I could cover it and it was about what I was expecting . But different circumstances could have had different outcomes.

Would I do a Camino without a phone. Probably not because a phone is part of my daily life now. Could I comfortably do aCamino without a phone. Heck yes! Gives a good excuse to talk to people and ask for assistance. You can still find ways to stay in touch-I made a point to send postcards along the way! My friends and family were delighted in a totally different way. The only “challenge” is that friends and family would have a harder time getting in touch with you.

And many places along the Norte don’t have good reception
Yes, I just sent emails on my iPod to let everyone know I was ok! Cheers Victoria
 
Camino(s) past & future
Arriving in Spain August 29, 2017
#26
I’m the 5th last person on the planet to get a cell phone :), and the camino I walked without a cell phone was undoubtedly the best. But, hey, times change, and the cell phone now replaces my guidebook, my camera, my headtorch, my paperback books . . . all very heavy in my backpack . . .
Jill
Thanks! Victoria
 
Camino(s) past & future
Arriving in Spain August 29, 2017
#28
A simple "clamshell" pay-as-you-go costs very little (€25 - 30) and could be regarded as an insurance policy! The great temptation with a smart phone is spending time on-line etc. which can detract from your Camino. I have carried a "dumb phone" on all my walks - even round home. Now in my seventies, if I do need help for any reason I should be able to get in touch.

Blessings on your planning!
Tio Tel
I love this idea! Perhaps when I get to Madrid I can buy one. Do you go to any phone store? Thanks Victoria
 

SeaHorse

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(May-June 2015)
#31
Phone is for safety. You may choose not to use it and enjoy the Camino medieval way, but do you really want to take that far as to die after Alto de Perdon the medieval way? Because back then it counted as a pilgrimage enough. You have your family who are waiting for you to return safe and relaxed, not in tin coffin. Take the phone, that will allow you to call or be tracked in emergency. Don't relay on others to have the life saving device, they may be medieval fans without phones or simply not around. Or you may be that other.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#32
Intended or not, the Camino is an extraordinary learning experience. If you opt to be "connected" then you will miss the point of the journey. Leave your devices (ex, perhaps, your phone for an emergency) home and walk solo. It will be transformative.
Oh if only I knew what the point of the journey was then I wouldn't be contemplating a 7th.
 
#33
I know it may be crazy but I am trying to decide if I need to figure out if I should bring a cell phone. Last year I did the St James Way and only had an iPod. There were a couple of times it was convenient but overall I didn't miss it. This time I am doing the Camino del Norte by myself...I am 66 years old. Any thoughts? Thanks Victoria
On the Camino Del Norte, there are some very very long stretches, and I was lucky to have mine a couple of times when I was stuck far from my stoping destination for the night, especially if the place I thought I was going to stop was closed for bedbugs or abandoned. There are so many fewer places to stay on the Camino Del Norte and two or three times, I was glad to have a phone so I could ultimately call a taxi in order to save myself from walking in the pitch black out in the middle of nowhere.

If you don’t want to use it, you can shut it off. And sometimes, yes, you need it when there is no service. But again, I was very happy to have mine when I really needed it.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF September (2018)
#34
I am one of the last three people on the planet who don't own a mobile 'phone. I've completed four of these routes to Santiago, and never for a nanosecond felt the need for one of the things on any of them.

One of the immense blessings of going on pilgrimage is the opportunity to get away from all distractions, electronic or otherwise.
Wow, i am so relieved to hear this. I must be one of the other 3! I have been having difficulty trying to decide if i should buy one just for this trip, and recently decided not to bother. I do have an ipad. Thanks for helping me decide...besides, we have herd immunity...in a pinch i will bet another pilgrim would help me out and let me make a call...
 
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
#35
Wow, i am so relieved to hear this. I must be one of the other 3! I have been having difficulty trying to decide if i should buy one just for this trip, and recently decided not to bother. I do have an ipad. Thanks for helping me decide...besides, we have herd immunity...in a pinch i will bet another pilgrim would help me out and let me make a call...
Do not expect too much of the herd community. Even on the Frances or Portugues you might be alone for some stretches and in need for an emergency phone. Let alone on Caminos when you are completely on your own.
It is nice to believe in the goodness of others but this should not exclude common sense and personal responsibility.
 
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KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#36
Exactly what @SabineP wrote!!!
Even if you do have a cell or a smart phone (better go for the second one) on the Camino you don't have to be on-line at every moment. Or texting, twitting, sending e-mails, letting the whole FB community know what you eat and shit, no need.

Your smart phone can be everything people in this thread mentioned and much more than that but remember that this technology gives you a freedom to choose from its diversity and options and possibilities and this freedom you shouldn't change into slavery of constantly looking to the screen of your "gadget"! And then you can use your mobile device sans-regret and smell the roses, listen to the real life twitting or lively bar discussion of locals for that matter ;)
 
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Camino(s) past & future
0
#37
Hi Victoria.

I am one week in without cellphone (Pamplona - Burgos), traveling with my tablet which only has Wifi usage and I’ve been totally fine.
If it was your gut reaction to do it without.....then GO WITH THAT FEELING.
If you get in a jam, there are hundreds of pilgrims around you.... I’m sure it would all work out.

All the best,
Shari
 
Camino(s) past & future
Norte/Primitivo (April/May) 2009: Norte/Primitivo (parts) (April/May) 2010: Inglés (May) 2011: Primitivo (April/May) 2012: Norte / Camino de La Reina (April/May) 2013: Camino del Mar / Inglés (May/June) 2015
#38
I love this idea! Perhaps when I get to Madrid I can buy one. Do you go to any phone store? Thanks Victoria
A "flip phone" (I call it a "clamshell") should be available in any phone shop. You will just need to make sure that it is pre-loaded with a few euros of calls and it will give you peace of mind if you do get stuck!

Blessings on your Camino
Tio Tel
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#39
A "flip phone" (I call it a "clamshell") should be available in any phone shop. You will just need to make sure that it is pre-loaded with a few euros of calls and it will give you peace of mind if you do get stuck!

Blessings on your Camino
Tio Tel
Gangsters call them "burners" ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Norte (2015), Frances (2016)
#41
Take a phone if you want to don't if you don't but please leave the fears of emergency in deserted places behind and the other fears, expressed above behind. Thousands walk caminos every year and only a small proportion have an emergency greater than forgetting a t shirt when leaving an albergue. Go and enjoy it.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - central from Oporto (2018 - planned)
#42
As you know from experience, it is certainly possible to Camino without a cellphone. However, since you are raising the question, you can see the risks of being in an emergency situation without a way to call for help. On the Camino Frances, I would say "No problem." I don't have the experience with the Camino Norte to give the same reassurances. I have heard that it is more challenging and less trafficked, so I can understand your concern.

Some things you might want to consider:

When are you walking? High season or low? If you are walking in high season, although the traffic is much less than on the CF, you still may find there is enough that you don't have to worry about lying around with a broken leg for too long before someone discovers you and can get help.

Are you walking by yourself or with someone else? If with someone else, that also would significantly reduce the risk. If something happens to you, they can get help.

Of course, if you take a phone, that puts you in position to be a "Camino Angel" if you come across someone else who got into trouble and didn't have a cellphone. :)
 

Jeri

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances: March-May (2016)
Del Norte: April-May (2018)
Finisterre: May (2018)
#43
I know it may be crazy but I am trying to decide if I need to figure out if I should bring a cell phone. Last year I did the St James Way and only had an iPod. There were a couple of times it was convenient but overall I didn't miss it. This time I am doing the Camino del Norte by myself...I am 66 years old. Any thoughts? Thanks Victoria
Victoria,
My recommendation is take the cell phone. I walked the Del Norte April-May this year and used the Buen Camino Editorial ap for maps/description of route. Loved it. It works in airplane mode so doesn't use a whole lot of battery. I always knew where I was and easily found my way back on course when I strayed. It was also great for planning my stages. Have fun!
Jeri
 

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