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Traveling Without Technology Makes Grownups Act Like Babies

Traveling Without Technology Makes Grownups Act Like Babies . / Credit: Crying baby image via Shutterstock

When U.S. adults on vacation travel without their mobile computing devices, they feel anxious, angry and annoyed, a new survey shows. Parents will instantly recognize the syndrome: When deprived of their high-tech toys, some grown-ups act much like babies deprived of their pacifiers.

Americans feel emotional bonds with their mobile devices to the point of feeling calmer and less stressed when they have access to their technology while vacationing, according to a new study of 2,500 adults sponsored by Intel.

But it's not a pretty picture when you take away their technology. They feel anxious when traveling without their mobile devices, angry when they cannot access power sources to charge their devices and annoyed when others peek at their computer screens, fearing that their personal information may be compromised.

[Why Mobile Phone Manners Are in the Toilet]

Almost half (44 percent) of U.S. travelers admitted feeling anxious traveling without their mobile devices. The younger the users are, the more dependent they are on their devices for a sense of well-being, the survey found; 87 percent of young adults ages 18 to 29 said they felt happier when traveling with their devices.

Survey respondents also ranked losing their mobile computing devices when traveling as more stressful than losing a wedding ring (77 percent versus 55 percent).

Device co-dependency has become so strong that travelers hooked on mobile technology admit they will go to great lengths to stay connected. Almost half of all travelers (46 percent) and 63 percent of young travelers admit compromising their personal comfort and hygiene in pursuit of a power source to keep their devices charged. This includes going out of their way to find an available power outlet, choosing a restaurant or coffeehouse based on outlet availability, searching public bathrooms or compromising comfort and hygiene to sit on the floor near an outlet.

Sixty-four percent of survey respondents admitted to sacrificing their personal appearance — giving up hair dryers or styling tools, toiletries, sunscreen, workout clothes and even shoes — in favor of making space in their luggage for their devices.

"With summer travel now in full swing, we find that many people have a few common must-have items on their trip packing lists – Ultrabook, tablet and laptop," said Mike Fard, an Intel brand ambassador. "The bond between travelers and their tech devices has strengthened greatly over the past few years with the explosion of instant information, entertainment and services conveniently available on the Web. Gone are the days of travel as simple escape of 'daily life' as more people seek to enhance and share vacation experiences in real-time and use technology to truly make travel more fun and more memorable."

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.We're also on Facebook & Google+.

Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.