Are you spending too much time looking at a screen? In this increasingly digital world, it’s becoming harder and harder to get away from screens. Many jobs now require staring at an office computer or digital POS display for hours at a time. Most of our free time is meanwhile spent watching TV or looking at our smartphone.
Too much screen time can have all kinds of negative health effects. The likes of social media addiction and video game addiction can lead to depression and anxiety. For other people, problems like insomnia and eye strain can be linked directly to too much screen time.
A digital detox can be a way of letting one’s mind and body recover. This involves spending time away from digital devices – and what better time to do this than on vacation.
Why make your next vacation a digital detox?
A vacation could be the perfect time to undergo a digital detox. It’s a chance to leave your digital devices at home along with your routine, instead appreciating the physical world around you.
Trying to undertake a digital detox at home can be difficult because you can more easily get bored – and therefore tempted into using your devices. A digital detox while on vacation can be easier because you’ve got so many new experiences and activities around you to distract you.
Finding the right destination
In order for a digital detox to be effective, you need to find the right destination. A city break may not always be suitable – hotels are likely to have TVs in their room, restaurants and public transport may encourage use of apps and internet access is likely to be readily available everywhere. Instead, you want to find somewhere that helps you to disconnect. Below are a few different examples of ideal destinations.
Reconnect with nature
A destination that helps you to reconnect with nature could be perfect for a digital detox. This could include staying in a forest, in the mountains or near the sea or a lake. You could plan to stay in a tent, a yurt or a treehouse. By not having access to plug sockets, you won’t be able to charge your devices, even if you do bring them. You can spend your days doing outdoorsy activities like hiking, kayaking, cycling or spotting wildlife. Evenings could meanwhile be spent huddling around a fire, playing card games or telling stories.
Stay somewhere historic
A historic destination could also be ideal for a digital detox. There are vacation home agencies such as The Landmark Trust that specialize in short-stay rental accommodation in historic buildings. Such buildings often don’t have wi-fi or TVs, encouraging you to take up more traditional forms of entertainment in the evenings.
Surround yourself with activities
A digital detox could be a lot easier if you’re staying in a location where there are lots of things to do on your doorstep. A lot of us tend to pick up our devices when we’re bored – by packing your days full of things to do, you won’t get bored while on vacation. This could include anything from a fun filled theme park vacation in Orlando or a whole week of scuba diving in Bali.
Knowing what to pack
The best way to carry out a digital detox vacation is to leave your digital devices at home. This way, you won’t be tempted to pick them up when you get bored. Choosing not to bring your digital devices does mean that you’ll have to bring a few extra items that you might otherwise use apps for. Below are some of the things to consider packing when going on a digital detox vacation.
A digital detox means no GPS. If you plan to hike or drive somewhere, you’ll need to rely on old-fashioned physical maps. In some remote places around the world, maps can sometimes be more reliable than GPS and so you shouldn’t necessarily see them as a hindrance – it could just make things harder if you’re travelling solo and don’t have anyone to navigate. You can buy maps of locations around the world online – order these to arrive before you depart on your vacation.
A lot of us now use our smartphones as a flashlight. If you’re going on a digital detox, you may want to buy yourself an actual flashlight. Many decent flashlights are considerably better than those found on a phone and can be ideal for camping or hiking trips. It’s worth investing in a 18650 button top battery – such batteries can provide power for much longer than standard batteries. Consider bringing a few replacement batteries.
Books and magazines
Love to read? Just because you can’t read e-books or articles online doesn’t mean that you can’t still enjoy some reading on vacation. Bring a few paperback books or a couple magazines to read on your vacation.
Instead of watching movies or playing video games, why not spend your evenings on vacation trying some old skool entertainment? You could bring a deck of playing cards and play a few card games. Alternatively, you could bring some board games like Scrabble, Monopoly, Cluedo or Chess. You can also bring footballs, tennis rackets and beach balls for physically active entertainment during the day.
A camera could allow you to still take photos on vacation without having to rely on your phone. To compete with the quality of today’s smartphones, you’ll want to get yourself a decent digital camera like the models here listed at TechRadar. Some digital cameras have access to the internet, so be wary of this – you don’t want to be tempted to scroll through Facebook on your camera.
A basic emergency phone
Having a phone can still be useful for making emergency contact with people. If you’re worried about not having a means of emergency contact but you don’t want to bring your smartphone, one solution could be to buy a basic emergency phone that doesn’t have access to the internet. This allows you to still call the police or ambulance without having the temptations of the internet at your fingertips.