Need to unplug for a bit? Well, here’s your guide to how to plan a nearly tech-free vacation.
There is no escaping it, in today’s world mobile devices are everywhere.
Smartphones are incredibly helpful. They allow us to manage schedules, book appointments, keep in touch with loved ones, & work from anywhere.
Yet…it’s all too easy to lose time & focus jumping from task to task, and then get caught up in endless scrolling.
Know the feeling?
If you need a break from the daily chaos, why not consider a digital detox on your next vacation.
Healthy travel…your mind & body might just thank you!
How To Plan A Tech-Free Vacation
Research shows that Americans spend an average of 3 hours and 43 minutes a day on their phones, that’s 56 days a year!
I bet we’d all rather have 56 days of vacation!
Add in TVs and computers, and daily usage can jump to up 12 hours a day. Yep, 12 hours.
Seriously, we take in five times more information than we did 100 years ago. That’s crazy!
It’s no wonder our brains are tired. And no wonder people need a break.
It’s really liberating to ditch the smartphone once in while.
Really, I don’t know why we don’t do it more often?
I see it this way…
The glory of travel is in the freedom.
Freedom from daily responsibilities.
Freedom to choose what you want to do with your time.
Freedom to be outdoors.
And the freedom to do whatever else it is that gets your mind & body into a place of rest, relaxation, & rejuvenation!
So, what’s the first roadblock to carving out some tech-free time?
Well, part of making healthy choices is knowing how to incorporate the behaviors that impact change.
It’s not just about what we want do, but also how we make it happen.
That starts with some thought & planning.
Why Tech-Free Time Matters
We all need a bit more wellness in our lives these days, and perhaps more peace too.
Travel is such a fun & engaging way to support well-being. And tech-free time is an important part of what wellness travel is all about.
Along with practicing a few simple health habits, I’m always on the look-out for ways to digitally detox on the road.
Tech-free activities, help keep me energized, balanced, & sane.
Typically, nature-based activities are an ideal way to relax & reboot.
You know, things like hiking coastal paths, taking mindful photo walks, or strolling landscape gardens.
Let’s Talk Digital Detox
Perhaps some people like to take an “all in” digital detox vacation to reboot.
Yet, one eye-opening study found that Americans checked their phones once every 12 minutes on vacation. Yep, on vacation!
With today’s reliance on phones, perhaps a complete digital detox is unrealistic for most people.
But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to successfully cut back! So you can experience more mindful travel.
The secret to cutting back is in the planning.
The same is true for day trips and wellness weekend getaways too.
Having some strategies in your travel toolkit that will help you spend less time on tech and more time engaged with relaxing activities.
It’s about finding balance. Using the phone for necessity and logistics, then otherwise tucking it away so you can be fully present.
Here are 7 strategies to help you plan a tech-free vacation. That way you can stay focused on fun instead of your phone!
Know Your Why
As many of us know from first-hand experience, behavior change can be hard.
Yet, practicing healthy habits is one of the most important things we can do to live long & healthy lives.
Encouraging new research shows that a key to individuals changing smartphone behavior was aligning it with their personal values & motivations.
Everything we do in life comes down to what, how or why.
So tapping into the “why” can help you to approach your goal with purpose & passion, helping you to take on the challenge.
Tip: Ask yourself why you want to cut back. Then make your screensaver a convenient reminder of that why.
As it turns out, travelers often use their digital devices to manage trip logistics.
One study shows that over 60% of people use their phones to manage travel logistics like boarding a flight, checking into hotels and picking up rental cars.
In addition, more than 50% of the time people use it once they were on vacation to book activities.
So, the key here is to plan ahead.
Know when and where you might use your phone for logistics or even check in with work or family and friends.
Then do whatever you need to do rely less on your phone. Print out paper copies, communicate boundaries (to work and loved ones), and stick to your plan!
Tip: Allow your travel time, to be your time. Not your phone’s or anyone else’s!
There are lots of simple actions you can take to decrease digital device time.
The key is to find what works for you, then implement the strategies that will make it inconvenient to access your phone.
You could try simple ideas like turning off notifications, deleting apps, or switching the phone to grayscale.
Or perhaps you need more drastic options like leaving your phone in the hotel safe or making it difficult to access. (I often put mine in a zip pocket, inside my bag under my camera gear…where it’s not easy to access!)
Tip: Get more ideas for how to cut back on phone time during travel on T & I’s Digital Detox Travel Guide.
Get Natural Dopamine
Doesn’t your brain on exercise, sound better than your brain on a smartphone?
Take advantage of the natural high that exercise provides instead of reaching for the addictive high of the phone.
There are plenty of ways to stay in shape during travel. Walk the sights, take a hike, go kayaking, or take a swim. Or even carve out time for something more mindful like yoga or a mindful photo walk.
Just get out there and add some physical activity to your self-care travel routine. You will be happier, guaranteed!
Tip: Research the options before you go. To ensure you have the necessary clothes, shoes & gear.
Plan Tech-Free Adventures
So many choices, so little time…
Cut back on the tech time by making sure you schedule in tech-free activities. They will better help you to relax & unwind.
Dive into the local culture and see what you find.
Attend a festival, visit a museum, explore a historical landmark, take a train ride, or find inspiration at an art gallery.
Or just take the simple route and fill your day with the things you enjoy!
Tip: Brainstorm a list of things you love to do before you go. Then match it up to the opportunities at your destination.
Spend Time in Nature
Nature is awe-inspiring.
Really, who needs a phone to entertain them with all that beauty in the world?
Nature time is a no-brainer. A recent study shows that people who spend two hours or more a week in nature were more likely to report good health and life satisfaction.
And who doesn’t want that?
So, replenish your energy by soaking up all of the good that mother nature has to offer.
You will FEEL better, guaranteed!
Tip: Don’t forget about seasonal opportunities. Take a walk in the snow or participate in a fall food harvest.
Mindfulness is a skill that anyone can call on, to live more fully live in the moment. It’s also something that can help us be more motivated to make changes.
One University of Pennsylvania study showed that people who were more mindful were more likely to change their behavior to be healthier!
So, start your morning with yoga or meditation. And practice informal mindfulness during the day by using your senses to be aware of the present moment.
A mindful travel approach will only make your experiences that much richer.
Tip: When you feel like reaching for the phone, take a deep breath instead.
Travel affords us the rare opportunity to step outside of our daily life and experience the new.
Putting the phone away and allowing that to happen is a gift that each and every one of us deserves!
So, don’t forget to share this with someone you know who needs a tech-free break!
until the next time…
…live well – travel well – be well
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