Enjoy Your Vacation, Not Your Smartphone: 5 Ways to Disconnect From Tech on a Road Trip by Johnny Welsh
When you go on vacation, can you also take a vacation from your smartphone? Can you give Facebook and Instagram a rest and enjoy conversing with the people around you rather than constantly scrolling, posting and checking for comments from your legion of followers?
Critics of chronic users of smartphones and social media doubt people can go without them for long. In today’s digitally consumed world, taking a “digital detox” is difficult for many to do. Vacation is the perfect time to disconnect – and that it may change your perspective, and your life, if you do.
With this addiction to our smartphones, this obsession to be connected with the world, we fail to connect with the people sitting right in front of us. The disconnect in face-to-face interactions keeps growing; I see it happening more as smartphones get "smarter." I imagine what would happen if aliens landed on earth and observed us. They might think a smartphone is something we need to live, like an external nervous system.
On my road trip, I endeavored to experience how different life could be without the constant seduction of the flat screen – while also examining my own social media habits with a sense of humor. Likewise, I think others who ditch their phones on a getaway can better live in the moment while not being digitally distracted.
Be present. Turn off your device and really live. Vacations should be a real break from our technology-soaked lives. Here are five tips on how to disconnect from your smartphone and enjoy vacation without it:
- Use paper maps. This is the first big step to looking at what’s around you rather than looking at your phone. Using the old-school way, you won’t have to go to Google Maps for navigation and have an excuse to keep using your phone. Plus, using your brain, your imagination fires up like when you were a kid, looking at the back roads on an old map and wondering where they all lead.
- Delete tempting apps. Addicted to Twitter or other sites? Delete the app from your phone before you leave on vacation, and don’t reinstall it until you get back.
- Buy a disposable camera or a real one. Rather than take selfies on your phone, and constantly posting pictures and agonizing over the perfect hashtags, you can capture memories the old-fashioned way. And this way you actually enjoy your surroundings without having your face in a screen most of the day.
- Check hotels with digital-detox discounts. Yes, they’re out there. Some places offer room discounts for giving up your phone upon check-in. A reawakening starts with forced human interaction. We did that for thousands of years before.
- Read. Remember that? Rather than being entranced on your phone, bring a good book. The act of reading a physical book quiets and calms us, incorporates the sense of touch and smell, and allows us to become part of the story in a way that no pop-up headline can.
We’re relying too much on instant technology. There can be life – a higher quality of life – without these devices.
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