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How Mobile Devices Help Indonesians Return To Hometowns for Eid

Eid trip

Return to hometown with motorcycle. Packed.

As the Eid celebration is only a week away, Indonesian tradition compels people to start returning to their hometowns. Using cars, buses, trains, or motorcycles, urban folks are starting their journey these days with a bit of help from their little best friend: mobile phones. We reckon Indonesia to be a mobile centric nation, thus it is not a surprise to see how apps and mobile devices in general become a crucial tool at Ramadan and Eid. The long journeys – some people travel for as long as 24 hours – seem to be a lot easier with many useful apps to guide or amuse.

Feature Phones Are Powerful Too

Ahmad Fauzi, a clothing retailer who was going to start his journey yesterday from Bandung to Palembang, Sumatra, on his 2007 Suzuki motorcycle, explains:

Since the last few years, my journey to my hometown every Ramadan became much easier. I rely a lot on the device. Although my mobile phone is not an expensive one, I still can access road info, police posts, gas stations, and keep in touch with friends who are also on the road.

Usually phone operators like Indosat or Telkomsel provide travel guide applications and resting area promotions for people during their trip. With no internet connection needed, people can still access useful information to help them on their way. “This year I changed my phone for a newer one with better features, so now I can listen to music while riding, and update my Facebook status as I tag every town I pass through in Foursquare,” Ahmad added with a laugh.

Smartphones and Tablets Are The Savior

For many people, the journey to their hometowns can be a pain. Mirna Hasyim, a bank employee who will go on her first Eid trip to her husband’s hometown in Surabaya, East Java, by car, feels that gadgets make it all a lot easier:

I have my BlackBerry and iPad as my weapons. With Google Maps and GPS, I’m sure we won’t get lost on our way. And when I get bored as my husband drives, I can use Twitter, Facebook, and play games.

Considering how mobile phone sales tend to rocket during Ramadan, these gadgets have become a part of our daily lives and even a part of old traditions for Indonesians. With their mobile devices, this year’s Eid hometown journey won’t be that arduous for most people. Here is a video of an ad that mobile operator Telkomsel uses to promote its mobile app for Eid hometown trips.

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