It’s nice to enjoy a break over the summer months. In fact, it’s an Aussie tradition – that mass exodus after Boxing Day that sees us head off for some well-earned rest and relaxation. However, it can be hard to unwind when we have a device in our pocket buzzing away every couple of minutes.
Even those who manage to resist taking work away with them and checking work emails while on holiday, can spend a lot of time on a digital device! And while you are glued to that device, chances are you are not ‘in the moment’ enjoying your time with family and friends fully or the delights of wherever you are vacationing.
It’s not an overstatement to say that during our everyday lives we are glued to our devices. The average person spends around five and a half hours a day on their phone – that’s over two months over the course of a year!i
We also tend to check our phones on average around 8 times an hour – almost once every 8 minutes. And just over half of Aussies (50.65%) consider themselves addicted to their phones.ii Throw in the amount of time we spend on tablets, laptops and other devices and it’s clear we generally spend a lot of time in front of a screen.
A vacationing trend
A new trend that may help to curb our online addictions is known as a ‘digital detox’ holiday.
Resorts and lifestyle destinations have got on board and many offer wellness packages offering a respite from the fast pace of online life with no phones, texts, emails, social media use or web browsing for the duration of your stay.
You don’t have to fly off to an internet black spot or sign up for a digital detox retreat to get the benefits though. Doing your own digital detox can be as simple as switching your phone to airplane mode or better still turning your devices off for a designated time every day or for a period of time.
The benefits of getting away from a screen, even if it’s just for a short break, are numerous but the main benefit of having a proper digital detox is reducing stress. If your phone or tablet isn’t buzzing, beeping or vibrating in your pocket or hand every few minutes, you start to breathe deeper and slow down.
Another plus of having a break from your device is the way it can affect the quality of your interactions with others. If you are not staring at a screen you open up opportunities to engage more fully with those around you. That means better quality time connecting with friends and family.
If you are a solo traveller, it can be challenging to not have the safety blanket of a phone in your hand, however there is something special about being more aware of your surroundings and taking in the little moments as they happen, without distractions.
Open to offline discovery
While tech can certainly make travel smoother in many ways, going phone free can open up opportunities for discovery. While it’s tempting to grab your phone to check the Google score of every restaurant you pass or using Maps to locate local attractions, it can be satisfying stumbling across a great little eating place tucked away down a laneway or finding a wonderful local market on your travels.
And when it comes to sharing your discoveries, you could also try keeping it offline. Instead of snapping moments to share immediately on social media, knowing you are going to be constantly distracted checking how your posts are being received, try to treasure those moments as they happen.
Whether you digitally detox for a few hours a day, a few days, or the duration of the holidays, your vacation will benefit from you unplugging for a bit. And who knows, you may even find some of your good digital detoxing habits follow you into the New Year.