Traveling With Technology, Baby Boomer Edition

Traveling With Technology, Baby Boomer Edition

After several delays, we were able to travel to Denver this past weekend and see the Eagles, the quintessential Baby Boomer band, on their Hotel California tour. They play the entire album, and then two more hours of their greatest hits. This was our first trip in the age of Covid, but we decided the safety protocols on the airline and at the concert venue were in place, so off we went. I also decided to use as much technology as possible on this one. This had some comical results.

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Let’s start with all of the uses for your smart phone. I actually decided mine wasn’t so smart on this trip. It started with trying to download our boarding passes for the airline. They sent QR codes, not regular passes on the airline app. This didn’t work. So I went back to paper copies, which always work. Paper is reliable and doesn’t have internet disruptions, or user errors. Hooray that we can still use it!

We also needed our phones to check into the hotel, which went fine. But the room keys didn’t work as stated. They said we needed to use them to access our floor. I tried waving mine, swiping it, waving it again, and finally gave up. We sat in the elevator on the lobby floor until another older couple showed us you had to hold the key next to a round thing. No instructions for that! I paid this forward and rescued two other couples later in the day. They were very grateful. It’s one thing to stand in front of a sink where the water won’t turn on, or the paper towels won’t come out, waving your wrinkly old hands. Much more embarrassing on an elevator.

Next we had a question for the front desk. I picked up the landline and looked for the Front Desk button. Nowhere to be found. There were buttons for the closed restaurant, housekeeping, an outline, and gallery host. Tried them all, and none worked. Went to the lobby and they told me they are the gallery hosts. Not a gallery in site, but alrighty. But when a Boomer can’t figure out your landline, there is something really wrong with your phones.

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Next, we encountered the QR code problem. We found lots of outdoor seating options, but the restaurants in downtown Denver all use QR codes for you to access their menus. Most don’t even own paper copies. Our lovely server at the first restaurant tried to help us, but we have androids and she has always had Apple phones. Their website menu was out of date. We finally ordered burgers and they were fine. And we had to handle the check by ourselves with a small computer. Doesn’t anyone over 60 go out to eat there? This whole process took way too long.

Undeterred, we next decided to use a ride app to practice using one before the Saturday concert. Why have I just started using them? Well, we usually rent a car when we travel. But they are so over priced at the moment, we didn’t. So enter our use of the apps.

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We found a place to go, and I accessed the Lyft app to find a driver. It was easy to enter our hotel address, and our destination. Then I saw the name Scooter pop up, with a low price, and thought I was choosing our driver. I also thought that was the perfect name for a driver, and started clicking buttons. Luckily I soon figured out the Scooter option was for actual scooters- the electric ones you see all over. They are cheap because you rent them and drive them by yourself. Good grief, no. But I found a real driver and we made our first trip. Easy, peasy.

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When it came time for the concert, I felt like a pro. We had used both Uber and Lyft, and knew to check each for the best deal. So we got our ride to the concert arena, and had to use my hubby’s phone where the tickets were stored to get in. No way we could split them up, so he scanned the first one, and then the second. The turnstyle would only let him through, so I was told to hurry through at the same time. My skirt got got on the rod, and let’s just say it was weird and a bit of a show for the people behind me. Good grief.

After the concert ( it was fabulous by the way- go see them if you can), we knew to wait awhile before ordering our ride to the hotel so that prices would come down. And we did get a better deal by waiting. They even had a designated area for Uber and Lyft pick ups. At the end of the night, I felt downright Millenial in my ability to use the apps. No more scooter mistakes for me!

As we made our way home through the Denver airport, I was struck by the long lines and size of the place. It is under construction, and they are adding a lot more automation- not only will you tag your own bags, they will be weighed and sent to the plane without a human touching them for quite awhile. Gate agents will only be checking id’s and boarding passes. This is opening in November, so be aware if you fly there. And don’t pack anything too valuable in your checked luggage!

As we were riding an escalator to the terminal train, I noticed an advertisement for bitcoin. I looked up a definition and it mentioned “vitual” and “crypto” currency. It is the subject of numerous court cases, which have ruled it is a currency and subject to regulation by the SEC. But it seems a bit like the wild, wild west in the way it is being used. So I plan to stick with my old fashioned dollars and cents, and sincerely hope we can can use them without interruption for the foreseeable future. I need to figure out QR codes before I learn more about this mysterious money!

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