Travel tips

How to plan a digital detox

Woman with computer and tablet

Rick and I recently went to a ‘20s themed New Year’s Eve party and had a blast and it made me think about how far we’ve come since the 1920s in terms of travel and tech. While advancements in technology have been amazing and we can connect with anyone around the world at any time and get to places easier than ever before, sometimes it’s exhausting always being connected.

Usher in the rise of digital detoxes – going unplugged and disconnected while traveling to truly enjoy the experience and savor it for yourself.

As a travel blogger, that can be a hard pill to swallow as my job is to capture our vacations and share travel advice and photos with fellow adventurers, but going unplugged is also something I want to commit to in 2020 – at least once!

A digital detox will give us time to slow down, let go of our stress, be fully in the moment, and make memories that are just our own. It’ll be a challenging adventure but one I think will be important. In this post, I’ve outlined the seven steps to follow for a digital detox.

7 steps to a digital detox

Girl with smartphone

1. Remove

Plan a vacation in an area with poor cell reception, go to a retreat or resort that actually confiscates your phone, or simply improve your willpower and discipline by locking away your phone or tablet. Removing technology or access to it is the first step to disconnecting and can be liberating and terrifying at the same time. 

Rick and I recently left our phones behind for a Christmas Eve service and we both commented how weird it felt to leave the house without our phones and not having something to occupy our time while we waited for the service to begin. We’ve grown so attached to our devices that it can be hard to be without them, we’re worried we’ll be bored, miss out on something, or not available if someone needs us. But, we came back to our phones and had missed nothing.

Let yourself remove the distractions from your life during your digital detox and learn how to go without your phone as a crutch. 

2. Replace

Instead of mindlessly scrolling through your social media feeds or getting angry over that political post your aunt just shared, replace that time with another activity like hiking, biking, reading, sharing a meal, taking a class, painting like Bob Ross, enjoying a glass of wine, taking a nap, really, whatever suits your fancy that isn’t connected to technology! 

By replacing that time on something you enjoy, you’ll learn how to add more balance to your day with activities that are engaging and stimulating while still allowing yourself time to check your feeds and email and stay connected with people you care about. 

I’ll bet after a while you’ll prefer the experiences that take you out in nature or invite you to be active over seeing the same photos and videos shared six times by different friends or pages you follow. 

3. Retreat

There are many resorts and wellness retreats catering to those who want a digital detox, making it very easy to find a way to retreat from the digital world and enjoy your own “me time.” You can always self-impose restrictions on your phone use, but sometimes it’s easier having someone else just take the damn thing away.

Find a place that excites you and makes you want to disconnect as you won’t even have time for checking email or Facebook. I think all-inclusive resorts are great at this as there’s always something going on, some activity you can do, or somewhere to go for a little snack or drink, and you can safely leave your wallet and phone in the room.

Don’t feel guilty for retreating from the online world but celebrate the fact that you’re offline and doing something for yourself.

4. Relax

Stop worrying about what’s going on online! You aren’t missing anything except memes, clickbait, and dumb videos – all of which you can catch up on later if you really want to. Let go of that societal pressure to always be on and connected and simply relax.

Remind yourself of why you’re doing this and that this is your time to be unplugged from everything else and tuned into what you want out of your vacation. I know I’ll stress out about missing out on photography opportunities, but one relaxing thought I can repeat is that these are memories only Rick and I will share. These are private and only the two of us will be able to look back on memories of this getaway – and that’s something special in itself.

5. Recharge

Just like your phone needs to be charged up each night, let your brain recharge by not staring at a screen all day. Fuel your mind with books, magazines, or just enjoying the scenery around you. 

Many resorts specializing in digital detoxes offer spa services, guided meditation, and yoga classes to reset your body, mind, and spirit. Take part in these activities to recharge and bring some energy back into your life. 

6. Reconnect

Our phones allow us to stay connected with long distance friends and family as well as connect to other people we might not have met if it weren’t for the digital landscape, but we have got to remember how to connect with others that are right in front of us! 

When’s the last time you had a conversation with someone and they didn’t check their phone once? Pretend it’s the ‘90s and reconnect with your partner, family, or friends by having a real conversation with them instead of just sharing memes, photos, or reading them something off your phone. Play a game, dance, share old stories, talk about your goals and dreams – there are plenty of things you can connect on that doesn’t involve your device. 

7. Reemerge

Eventually your vacation will come to an end and you’ll rejoin us online to tell us how spectacular it was, but hopefully you’ll take some of these ideas and add them into your daily life to bring balance to it and not rely on your digital device to keep you entertained and connected to the world around you.

Be okay with the idea of leaving your phone at home or avoiding the temptation of checking it every 15 minutes and set boundaries with others on when you are and aren’t available online. 

Are you planning on taking a digital detox this year? Tell us where you’re going and why in the comments below or on Twitter!

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Hey, I'm Stephanie! I'm a copywriter living in beautiful Denver with my husband Rick, and our dog Rocco. I love traveling, writing, reading, and being outside as much as possible - unless I'm on the couch binge watching Stranger Things with a glass of wine! Thanks for reading and being a part of the adventure with Back to the Passport! ❤️

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