Cybercafes and Internet access in Paris

Postcards can take up to a week. Tweeting, posting updates, blogging, or simply sending your jealous friends a quick e-mail rundown of what a fantastic vacation you're having is instantaneous.

(Plus, it's a great way to create installments of a trip journal for your own uses.)

There are four major types of places where you can get online:

Now you just have to deal with the crazy French AZERTY keyboard.

Then there are all the ways you can jack in with your own equipment, if you happen to be traveling with a laptop or even an advanced handheld or cellphone. (I have a separate page devoted to finding WiFi hotspots—or carrying your own).

Tip: Don't get caught in the Net

Though I realize none of you is going to take my advice on this one, there is a strong argument for unplugging yourself from the Web whilst on vacation and ignoring the very existence of the Internet while you're on the road.

Let your inbox fill up with spam, and let those anxious emails from co-workers and clients go unanswered. Just set up your email to bounce back an "out of office/on vacation" message and jack yourself out for the duration.

I'll use a budgetary excuse—postcards are much cheaper than 15 minutes on-line—but really I feel this is a philosophical issue. You're spending a big wad of cash to travel the world, so don't waste some of that precious time (probably an hour tracking down, and then sitting in, an Internet cafe) keeping plugged into your life back home.

Your work can wait (you're on vacation, remember). Your friends? You can regale them with the tales when you return. Your family? Call them as frequently as is appropriate for brief conversations.

True, the Internet is a fabulous tool for making the world a smaller place. But the whole point of travel is to discover how big and diverse the world truly is. Rarely does anyone have thrilling foreign adventures whilst sitting in the glow of a PC screen in a rented storefront. Get out there! Enjoy Paris!