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The Big Turn Off: How To Have A Digital Detox Vacation

29/04/2016 8:13 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
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I was recently on Kangaroo Island enjoying a much-needed vacation and came back surprisingly relaxed and refreshed. It was quite the contrast to my time-off in Singapore, where I work. I was trying to figure out the reason, when it suddenly dawned on me: Kangaroo Island is a naturally tech-dead zone. I was able to get up close and personal with nature and wildlife, engage with the locals and unwind on its pristine beaches, without having to worry about emails or notifications. I was able to have a truly immersive holiday experience.

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Taking time off in a tech-free zone can make a world of a difference

Image by: Paul Torcello

How many of us check our emails or browse through our social media first thing and last thing in the day? Our phones are no longer considered a separate device but an extension of our arm. Digital devices have become a permanent fixture in our daily routine, whether we are grabbing coffee, going to work, going to the gym or meeting friends and family. For many people, the thought of switching off and taking a break from all our digital devices can be terrifying.

Digital detox vacations essentially refer to a holiday when you refrain from using all devices.

On average, people spend 20 hours online each week, and 1.72 hours on social media alone every single day! In today's world it is hard to escape technology, even when we are on a vacation. Although the purpose of a holiday is to take time off from our daily activities, we still want to stay connected--whether it is to look for directions and local information or share travel experiences on social media. The incessant need for access to information is changing the way we experience our holidays. We are, perhaps, giving up more adventurous and unchartered holiday experiences for the convenience of staying digitally connected.

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Are we giving up the joys of travelling to stay connected?

Image by: Adam Bruzzone

However, a growing subset of travellers is now looking to find 'digital peace' with tech-free holidays. Many travellers, in the recent past, have started to opt for digital detox vacations, especially those looking to unplug and completely disconnect from work while on holiday. Digital detox vacations essentially refer to a holiday when you refrain from using all devices. Yes, this means completely switching off and going offline! The aim of a digital detox vacation is to get away from over-exposure to the blue screens that have become an essential part of our lives.

While some detox travellers look for more controlled vacations like a yoga retreat, summer camps or detox holiday packages, I prefer choosing a lesser known destination.

Digital detox vacations are fast emerging as a trend among global travellers as a supposed antidote to our dependence on artificial intelligence. For many, it is an opportunity to escape from the daily sensory assault and increase their social interaction with the physical world. Travellers have started to realise how perpetual emails, messages and social media notifications have become a considerable distraction from a chance to explore and enjoy time on holiday. Although cutting off from the tech world might sound a little extreme, travellers who have experienced digital detox vacations find the payoffs quite significant.

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Going offline allows us to find a real world connection

Image by: Adam Taylor

A great start to planning a digital detox vacation is to choose a tech-free holiday destination. While some detox travellers look for more controlled vacations like a yoga retreat, summer camps or detox holiday packages, I prefer choosing a lesser known destination. Travelling to unexplored destinations allows you to go on the off-beaten path, absorb experiences at a leisurely pace and find a real world connectedness.

Long-term benefits include increased productivity, more positive emotions and significantly less stress.

Taking a much needed break from your devices while travelling can be revitalizing. People feel more rested, more aware and more present. These are just some of the advantages of going offline, even if it is for a temporary period. The mere imagination of a place without the constant trilling of mobile phones and emails can provide relief to our minds. Long-term benefits include increased productivity, more positive emotions and significantly less stress. In the coming years, we will see more travel that involves getting away from the noise, the buzz and the notifications. We will see more travel that is about doing less... digitally.

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