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8 essential tips for a tech-free vacation

Whether it's a two-week excursion or a weekend getaway to the mountains, you deserve a break.


Mike Fenn


Posted on Feb 9, 2017   Updated on May 25, 2021, 1:01 am CDT

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Picture the scene: You’re standing atop the Grand Canyon. In all its splendor, the breathtaking natural wonder stretches out endlessly before you, a gorgeous sunset on the horizon. As you gaze upon the scenic beauty, what is your first thought?

I can’t get 4G up here! How am I going to Instagram this?!

Just because technology infiltrates nearly every aspect our everyday lives, that doesn’t mean its associated stresses have to follow us on vacation. The Daily Dot has put together a list of tips that will help you unplug when you need to most.

Whether it’s a two-week excursion or a weekend getaway to the mountains, you deserve a break.

1) Before you go, practice.

Start small. Instead of going cold turkey, ease yourself off of your dependency. Do you typically bring your iPhone to the supermarket and block the entire frozen food aisle so you can check Facebook? On your next trip, leave it at home! You—and your fellow shoppers—will feel less stressed.

2) Force yourself Into tech-free situations

Photo via John S. Quarterman/Flickr

When planning your vacation, select a destination that will give you no choice but to go without technology. Choose a remote cabin a location outside of the country to dissuade you from incurring roaming charges. Some resorts will even offer tech-free options: the Lake Placid Lodge in Lake Placid, N.Y., and the River Place Hotel in Portland, Ore., are just two of many places that offer packages that help you enjoy a rest from your tech.

3) Before you go, let people know.

Social media has allowed us to be active in several communities at once, interacting almost exclusively via status updates and tweets. Before you leave, inform your various contacts you trust of the date you’re leaving, the duration of your trip, and when they can expect you back.

4) Prepare alternative activities.

Photo via Nitin Gajria/Flickr

Are you looking for something to do while relaxing on the beach or sitting around a campfire? Bring a book—an actual book, not a file downloaded onto your Kindle. Instead of doing a crossword puzzle or word search on your iPad, try one from a puzzle book.

5) Ask the tech-less themselves.

We all have someone in our lives who is completely, or at least mostly, “off the grid.” Maybe it’s an out-of-touch grandparent who still cannot operate a VCR, let alone a Android phone. While light-years behind society, these people can be valuable resources. Before your trip, ask them how they spend their leisure time and how they get their news. The answers might surprise you.

6) Bring an old phone.

Photo via Shawn Rossi/Flickr

Obviously, cellphones have the distinct advantage of reaching out for help in emergency circumstances. Instead of using that as an excuse to bring your smartphone, root around in your house and find an old phone instead. All working cell phones, even those no longer on your wireless plan, are capable of dialing 911. So, you will have a device that allows you to call for help in emergency circumstances but probably won’t distract you from the sights and sounds.

7) List the highlights.

Make a list (on paper) of activities you enjoyed that didn’t necessitate the involvement of a Wi-Fi connection. Advanced as they are, phones, tablets, and computers cannot replicate, for example, parasailing. And Reddit is simply no match for an intense, in-person discussion or story. The list will help remind you exactly what life can offer.

8) Bring photographs.

Photo via Bart Everson/Flickr

Instead of relying on your Facebook app for company, however, try printing out some pictures of your loved ones and bringing them on vacation with you. This way, you will be able to see their smiling faces—but not their misspelled status updates about the latest episode of Game of Thrones.

Photo by Austin Powell

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*First Published: Feb 9, 2017, 3:30 pm CST