You'd be a mug not to use your smartphone while travelling, writes Winston Aldworth.

Some Kiwis are putting their smartphone ahead of travel insurance.

An unscientific survey from has ranked Kiwis' top travel items.

Passports come in at No. 1, followed by smartphones, then travel insurance in third place. The study also found that 10 per cent of Kiwis regretted spending too much time on their phone when on holiday.

Provided I can get cheap data, I'll happily make extensive use of my mobile when travelling. You'd be a mug not to. These devices are designed to make life easier. Looking for a restaurant or train station? Reach for your phone.


And, yes, I'm with the 50 per cent of survey respondents who check work emails while away.

There's an almost fascistic drive to get people to switch off and relax when on holiday. It's fuelled by a smug assumption that we'll be better people and - wait for it - more in touch with the place we're visiting if we put our phones away.

Rubbish. We'll just be late to the restaurant, have fewer photos and be quietly worrying about unread work emails. Love your phone, use it and have no regrets.

When in Rome: redux

I wrote in this column last week about the great Roman icecream rip-off. Naturally we got a lot of correspondence - many from people who had visited and loved the Italian capital.

Of course, the Romans aren't the only ones partial to a bit of sweet larceny. One young reader, Holly, encountered the same scam in another European capital. "Paris, actually ... a normal icecream was €8 ($12.60) and, eating in, it was €18 - but they didn't display the difference in price, only the one price. We paid at the end and by then we had eaten the icecreams, so there wasn't much we could do.

"I couldn't figure out if they were actually that much if you ate in the cafe or if they figured we were just tourists and so they could try and charge more. We had the nicest icecreams but then ended up eating basic food in for the rest of the week because we were so poor."