The language of Twitter is humiliating. “Tweet me”; “I tweeted”; “Guess what, Tweeple?” (It’s for a similar reason that I don’t patronize Burger King. I can’t tell another person that I need a “whopper”.) Despite this, I love and depend on Twitter, and mercifully, most users have grown tired of thinking up new words that begin with “tw”.
I get it that a vast population considers Twitter to be pointless, narcissistic and time-consuming (the latter it indeed is). Opting out is a viable choice. Sometimes even regular tweeters (see? how idiotic is that) have difficulty conceptualizing its practical benefits. But if you travel, Twitter is an invaluable tool.
• If you know where you’re going ahead of time (weeks in advance), seek out and follow people tweeting from the town or area you’ll be visiting to learn about local events and possibly arrange a tweetup while you’re passing through.
• On a road trip, consult search.twitter.com as you near a destination, enter the relevant keywords, and see what the buzz is before you get there. Sometimes users will be talking about a festival, performance or gathering that you weren’t aware of that would be fun to attend, or they tweet about road conditions, traffic, weather, and local hot topics that are useful to know before you hit town.
• Take pictures and attach them to your posts so followers can see what you’re experiencing as you travel. (I shoot plates of food.) Sharing is appreciated, and useful feedback about your location will be forthcoming.
• If you’re planning to attend an event, look it up through “find user” or search.twitter, and follow the associated users, if only for a short time. Often, organizers will be utilizing Twitter for publicity and posting updated information. When you’re there, whether it’s a sporting event, art exhibit, concert or street fair, live tweeting to your feed will be valued and most likely generate new like-minded followers. Use the established hashtag.
• Twitter can be handy in case of emergency, too. Following The Incident, I contacted @AirstreamSvs at the factory in Ohio, who swiftly sent a return message with safety information related to the damage incurred from wrapping the trailer around a concrete pole.
The Catch-22 of using Twitter on the road is lack of connectivity; the more remote (and interesting) a location, the less likely you’ll be able to use the internets. But about an hour away from a reasonably populated area you’ll regain access. (Follow me @tknopeasnt).
And on your iPhone…wait, you don’t have an iPhone? Please. At your earliest convenience. Resistance is futile. That thing will be pried from my cold dead fingers. Communicator, computer, camera (ok, crappy camera), tour guide, weather station, babysitter, cookbook, and road map to anywhere in the world, it can be packed with every conceivable convenience. When the ad says, “There’s an app for that”, they mean it. Visit the Airstream Knowledge Sharing Forums thread, What’s on Your iPhone? for dozens of clever ways to use it when you camp or ‘stream. My new favorites suggested by other users include RV Companion ($5.99) to keep track of reservations, supplies, and procedures (and includes a bubble level and flashlight); and Campwhere ($3.99) which lists the 7500 federal, state and local campgrounds in all fifty states (with directions and facilities).
After dark, use the gorgeous graphics of Star Walk ($4.99) to find your place in the universe and locate constellations and planets.
If you camp in a tiny trailer like we do, download Kindle (FREE) to eliminate bulky books. And in lieu of real musical instruments to play around the campfire, try the ridiculous More Cowbell (.99)—which also can be set to maracas, triangle, or tambourine—and Harmonica (.99): guaranteed to fool eight year olds, drunks, and your mom.