Can You Go Unplugged While On Vacation?

Have you ever taken a trip and not checked email, phone messages, or social media?

On a recent trip, I went completely unplugged for about two weeks. Well, almost. I admit I did carry my phone so I could receive texts from people I told I would be unavailable, and I did send two urgent emails.

The other day, while waiting for a plane, I looked around me and everyone was on their mobile phones texting, talking, or emailing.

According to TripAdvisor, many of us use social media while traveling – 71% check Facebook on a daily basis. Some 60% of us regularly post -sharing photos or other travel experiences – while on the road. So why do we even need a travel companion when you have a whole built in group of friends traveling “with you”, who can provide colorful commentary? Kidding of course.

It is interesting to note these observations about electronic use and how it impacts us, and our travels:

—Scientists who study the topic say too much reliance on technology can inhibit deep thought and cause anxiety.
They say when the brain doesn’t relax, and has too much stimuli, one won’t be as introspective. Think about it: Many of us check our phones in tiny moments of boredom, when we could be having productive thoughts, or deepening relationships with a little chit chat, or admiring the architecture of a foreign place. Also -can you live in the present if you are always expecting an email?

–Scientists also say that the expectation of email seems to be taking up room in our working memory. They hypothesize that when a part of the brain is tied up in anticipation of an email or message, there is less space for new ideas or integrating information. You might not retain any highlights you learn while touring the Smithsonian, for example.

Bottom line: Vacation is supposed to be restorative. Try to go unplugged and you will see – and your kids will appreciate it when you don’t check your phone every 10 minutes during dinner. Has anyone succeeded in doing that?

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