How to use your vacation to take a digital break

  • TECH
  • Sunday, 30 Jul 2017

Girl at the beach texting on smartphone

Most of us love to go on vacation to "get away from it all," leaving work, stress and day-to-day life back at home. But the one thing we can't seem to leave at home is our smartphone, or tablet, or laptop, or any electronic device. 

However, being on vacation is a great time to switch off your phone in order to switch off your mind, and is the perfect time to do a digital detox. 

Here we round up some ways of how you can break your digital habit, or at least learn better how to control it, so you can enjoy your vacation more fully by living in the moment, and return home a little less reliant on your screen. 

Leave your smartphone at home 

This sounds drastic but don't worry, you won't be completely phoneless. However, by investing in a "dumb" phone rather a smartphone, it could be easier to take a break while away. Designed to be used as little as possible and intended as a second phone, the Light Phone is perfect for vacations so you leave your smartphone at home, but still have something for emergency calls and to keep in touch. 

The size of a credit card it is also super light and compact for packing away and carrying on day trips, and with no screen, apps, or even the ability to send an SMS, it really is just a good old-fashioned phone. 

Break your reliance on your phone 

It can be a struggle to be without your smartphone, even when you're supposed to be relaxing on holiday. However, you can learn to rely on it less. 

Start by breaking your morning habit with your phone. If you need to be woken up at a certain hour, ask the reception of your hotel for a wake-up call instead, and once home invest in a radio alarm clock to continue with your new habit. 

Vacations also give you time to delete all the apps you don't need, and turn off push notifications for the ones you want to keep to help reduce the amount of time you spending checking your smartphone. You can also turn notifications off for your email account so that it only updates when you manually refresh it. 

If traveling abroad switch off data roaming and only log into available wifi when you really have to or limited to certain times of the day – for example in the hotel. Resist the urge to use the WiFi at bars and restaurants and instead use your holiday as a chance to reconnect with loved ones, without the use of a screen. 

Need some extra help? 

If you can't break the habit alone, hotel chains such as the Four Seasons are now offering guests support when switching off, mainly in the form of spa therapies and relaxing massages to help distract you from Instagram. 

For those who want to head outdoors, Camp Grounded in California also offers the opportunity to "unplug and get away" with their screen-free summer camp for adults, where campers must leave their phones, laptops and tablets at the cabin door before enjoying the camp's many activities including yoga, arts, crafts, sports and more. 

Alternatively head to to search for phone-free vacation ideas, based on not only where you want to go but also how much of a detox you think you can handle – try the "highly disconnected" destinations with no cell reception at all if you really want to kick the habit. — AFP Relaxnews

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