An alarm clock is absolutely necessary when you’re traveling.
You might wonder why, when we have phones, computers, hotel clocks and even wakeup calls that could do the same job. An alarm clock seems like just another thing to carry, right?
Well first, lets talk about phones. I’m as dependent on these to get me out of bed in the morning as the next person. But it’s a whole different story when I’m on the road. For one thing, if I’m backpacking in Africa, I’m probably not going to take my cell with me in the first place. But even if I were to, there are issues with keeping the phone charged, making sure the phone doesn’t automatically switch times or alarm settings based on daylight saving hours (yes, it happens – see this) and doesn’t get stolen while I’m sleeping in a dorm. It’s pretty much the same deal when it comes to computers.
But what about when you’re staying in a hotel? Aren’t clocks always provided? Generally, yes, but many times I’ve found that the clock in my hotel room was set to the wrong time, or the power cut out at some point and the time has either stopped or reset incorrectly. Not to mention that even if the time is right, you don’t always know how to work the alarm settings (and if you do manage to figure it out and get the alarm to work, you might end up inadvertently hitting dismiss rather than snooze in the morning and falling back asleep anyways!).
As for wake up calls, some hotels are really efficient about these. But at others, I’ve had calls come in late, or not at all. In some cheaper hotels, the front desk might not be staffed at all hours, so if you need a 4 a.m. wake up call you could be out of luck.
All of these things might seem like minor annoyances, but when you’ve got an early morning flight to catch or a special daytrip to wake up for, a reliable alarm clock is fundamental. From my own experience, I know that I’ll keep waking up throughout the night, paranoid that I’ve overslept, if I don’t have an alarm I can trust. A simple, easy-to-use, battery-operated alarm clock is usually all it takes to do the trick. However, there is one downside if you’re a backpacker:
You end up waking everyone else in your dorm just so you can make your 6 a.m. flight.
This might seem acceptable until you’re on the receiving end of it, day after day. Trust me, it’s not pleasant. Especially when people keep hitting snooze.
So how do you get around this?
The answer is a vibrating alarm clock.
Just like the alarm clocks that the hearing impaired use, you can find portable vibrating alarms that will shake you out of your slumber. You either put a small panel attached to the main clock, or even the entire device depending on the model, under your pillow when you sleep. If all goes to plan, you should be the only one to “feel” it and wake up when it goes off.
It’s such a simple idea to ensure everyone wakes up on the right side of the bed.
Now if only we could make these mandatory in dorms.