You start every vacation with the intention to completely unwind and forget about day-to-day life. That’s what a vacation is all about, right? But, like most people, you’re still drawn to your phone, email, social media accounts and can’t resist posting a picture of that incredible cocktail the bartender at the beach bar just whipped up for you. But truly disconnecting (leaving every stitch of technology behind) can be done – and will actually be amazing for your stress levels – and help you truly relax, getting the most out of your vacation. Here’s how.
1. Leave Your Phone Behind
This will be hard, and you’ll likely have some major with drawl symptoms, but either leaving your phone behind (or opting to keep your phone in no-service mode your whole vacation) is the easiest way to do a digital detox. A 2013 survey by TripAdvisor found that 61% of Americans use social media while on vacation. An for those who can’t just get away from their phones, or need to start in baby steps, put your phone on airplane mode. You’ll not only save money by not roaming or purchasing a package, but your brain will also appreciate the break.
2. Book a Trip to a No Cell Phone, No Wi-Fi Area
There are still places like this in the world, we swear. And there’s no better way to make sure you truly unplug than to book your stay at a place that doesn’t offer, or has limited, cell phone and internet use.
3. Plan Lots of Activities
The busier you are, the less chance you have to check in on that work project, update Facebook or check in on Foursquare. Think yoga to relax and meditate, zip lining for adventure, or hiking for a chance to reflect – and don’t forget hitting up museums, shopping and top destination sights. That doesn’t mean you can’t bring your camera or phone to snap pictures of your adventures along the way … just save them for posting once you’re back and see it as a chance to relive the moment.
4. Plan Ahead
One in four Americans admit to checking their work emails while on vacation according to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of the American Psychological Association. The best way to actually enjoy your vacation time, is to not be stressing out about work. Plan ahead before you vacation as best you can and get a head, set an out of office reminder, directing any urgent issues to a colleague while you are away. This will ease your mind and keep you from constantly checking in on your emails.
5. Take Only 15 Minutes if You Have to
If completely disconnecting is just not an option, try this tactic. Set aside 15 minutes every day (set a timer on your phone to make sure you stick to it) to check in on social media, work and get the latest news. That should help you get your tech fix, without getting too invested.