If you’re anything like me, you’re likely guilty of staying connected to the digital world while travelling instead of simply trying to live in the moment and let your senses be livened by new surroundings. It’s nearly impossible to travel tech-free these days, however, embracing a bit of a digital-detox by disconnecting from technology while travelling can be a great way to fully immerse yourself in your surroundings, relax, and enjoy the experience without constant digital distractions.
Here are some tips to help you disconnect effectively. Remember, the goal is not to completely isolate yourself from technology when travelling, but to strike a healthy balance that allows you to fully appreciate your travel experience. Disconnecting can provide a refreshing break and help you create lasting memories and cultivate meaningful connections with the people and places you encounter.
It might feel challenging at first, but the rewards in terms of personal growth and enriched experiences can be well worth disconnecting from the digital world. Here are some of best ways or tactics you can employ that will hopefully allow you to limit the amount of time you spend being distracted by the digital world on your next holiday.
How To Disconnect from the Digital World While You’re On the Go
Why a Digital-Detox is Important While Travelling
A digital-detox, which involves intentionally disconnecting from digital devices and online activities, offers a wide range of benefits for your mental, emotional, and physical well-being. And what better time to try it than during your travels in order to make the most of your time.
Try as we might while travelling, it’s just too tempting to continue to scroll through our socials, answer work emails, or play around with gaming apps or enjoying a break playing Bovada poker while waiting at airports.
The digital world is literally at our fingertips and never far away since our phones have pretty much become an additional permanent appendage. However, resisting the urge to stay logged-on will see you enjoy many benefits.
Constant notifications, emails, and social media updates can contribute to stress and anxiety which is the last thing you need while travelling since travel itself can often be stressful. Disconnecting allows you to escape this digital noise and enjoy more peace.
The blue light emitted by screens can also disrupt your sleep cycle by interfering with the production of melatonin. A digital detox helps improve sleep quality and can lead to a more restful night’s sleep which is also so important while travelling to stay healthy and to ensure you have the energy to enjoy all the experiences you have planned.
Frequent digital interruptions can limit your attention and decrease your ability to focus on tasks. Digital overload can also overwhelm your mind and make it harder to think clearly. Taking a break from technology can reset your brain and help you regain focus and increase productivity. This means you will likely manage to get through that entire list of things on your itinerary and hopefully avoid making costly mistakes like showing up to the wrong airport which I actually did once.
Disconnecting allows you to be present with those around you, fostering deeper and more meaningful connections with family and friends you may be travelling with or locals you may meet along the way. It encourages face-to-face interactions and genuine conversations which many of us rarely make time for anymore.
Top Ways to Encourage Digital-Detoxification
Keep Your Phone and Devices Out of Reach
You likely won’t be shocked to learn that around 4 in 5 people check their phones within 15 minutes of waking up. Some of us like myself often sleep with our phone beneath our pillow or at the very least within arm’s reach on a bedside table.
It’s nearly impossible to leave your phone or other devices at home while travelling as they are quite handy and necessary to have when travelling. You can check into hotels and get digital room keys via apps, book transport and activities, use Google maps to navigate new cities, call to make reservations, and of course use your phone to capture photos of your travels.
While all this is tech can be helpful while travelling, it can also greatly distract us. We often stay glued to our screens checking up history or information of the places or landmarks we visit instead of actually taking time to observe and see them with our own eyes and engage all our senses.
Instead of keeping your phone in your pocket, try placing it in a backpack or handbag where it is may be more burdensome to keep trying to locate and pull out. When back at the hotel, maybe place your phone in the hotel safe to force yourself to relax and enjoy the comfort of what is hopefully a 5-star hotel and actually take advantage of all the amenities they may offer both in the room and throughout the hotel.
Have a Game Plan
Without a game plan, you’re likely to fall into the trap of reaching for your phone or tablet during down time or whenever you find yourself bored. In addition to planning as many activities as possible during your travels so you won’t be bored, it’s important to set yourself boundaries when it comes to tech usage.
Designate specific times when you’ll check your devices, such as once in the morning or once at night. This prevents you from mindlessly scrolling throughout the day. If you need to stay somewhat connected maybe for work purposes, limit your online interactions to informative, useful, or absolutely necessary activities. Avoid social media and focus on learning about the local culture, history, and activities from local people instead of Wikipedia.
Decide before your trip how disconnected you want to be. Are you completely avoiding technology, or are you just planning on minimising its use? Set clear goals for yourself before you embark on your trip and stick to them.
Delay Posting Pics
You may be dying to show everyone that incredible picture of you almost getting eaten by a shark, or you trying escargot for the first time, but maybe hold off a bit. While posting a few snaps while travelling may seem innocent enough, it can lead you down a rabbit-hole that could see you waste hours of your holiday time.
You may find the urge to first edit your photos, then spend time thinking up clever captions to go with them, and finally check back every few minutes to see how many likes or comments your travel photos received.
Remember, all those shares, likes, and comments are all designed to send dopamine to the brain, and this rush makes it very hard to disconnect and get on with actually enjoying your vacation. Therefore, it may be best to hold off on posting until you return home and find yourself bored at the office.
Waiting until you return home to post pics and social media posts not only allows you to maximise your time while travelling but also allows you to relive your travel moments once you return.
And while it’s tempting to take photos and videos, try to limit your photography during all those remarkable moments. This will allow you to be present in the moment rather than simply focusing on capturing it digitally. Try keeping a travel journal to jot down your experiences, thoughts, and reflections which will serve as a way to record memories without relying solely on photos.
If you’ll be unreachable due to your goal of limiting technology use, let your family, friends, or colleagues know in advance. Provide them with emergency contact information in case they need to reach you urgently. Set up email auto replies which will allow you to not feel as though you need to keep checking and responding to emails while travelling.
Switch to Airplane Mode
Turn your phone and other devices to airplane mode to disable data, calls, and messages. This will still allow you to use your phone’s other functions such as the camera and helpful offline travel apps but without being constantly connected and receiving distracting notifications. Alternatively, you can simply disable non-essential notifications to prevent distractions and the urge to check your device every few minutes.
Choose Accommodations with No or Limited Connectivity
Consider staying in places without Wi-Fi or at least limited connectivity. This could be a remote cabin, a nature-focused retreat, or a destination known for its lack of digital amenities. Not having access to Wi-Fi is a sure-fire way to stay logged-off. Other hotels may simply limit your data usage such as is common with holiday parks which means you will be prevented from wasting time streaming shows or downloading/uploading large or numerous pics and documents.
Incorporating regular digital detoxes into your travels can help you maintain a healthier balance between the digital world and the real world, ultimately leading to a more fulfilling and well-rounded holiday and life in general.
If you’re travelling with others, be sure to hold each other accountable for staying disconnected. It’s too easy to fall into the bandwagon trap of feeling like you might as well go on your phone since your partner or everyone around you seems to be doing so.
Encourage each other to focus on the journey, knowing that successfully completing a digital-detox can boost your self-esteem and give you a sense of accomplishment, knowing that you have the discipline to step away from technology, if only for a short period during your travels.
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