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Disconnecting to Reconnect - How to Unplug on Vacation

Do you unplug while away on vacation or are you constantly searching for the free Wi-Fi every place you go? My husband always jokes that I purposefully pick small town road trip destinations without any cell reception on purpose...and he's RIGHT! :)

It seems like in the U.S., we have all gotten in the habit of being "on" 24/7. With as many hours as we work these days, whether it's long hours in the office and then parenting all evening or working your side gig after a full-time day job, it's no wonder that studies show there are legit health benefits from taking a vacation - such as, reducing stress, improving mental health, improving relationships. But, are we truly ever "off"? If you are thinking about trying to disconnect in order to reconnect on your next vacation here are 8 tips for unplugging:

1. If you can, leave your work phone at home and turn your out of office message on so people know not to expect a reply. This will help you leave all temptation at home. Don't worry, the work world won't fall apart while you are away. The work will still be waiting for you when you get back ;)

2. Leave your phone in your hotel room. If you have to bring it on vacation, get rid of the temptation by not having it on you at all times.

3. Turn your phone on airplane mode so you won't receive anything while you are enjoying quality time with your loved ones. This will allow you to still listen to any downloaded music or podcasts, read books or watch movies without being distracted by notifications from calls, emails, facebook or other apps. Or...just try my method and schedule a trip where you don't get any reception! LOL

4. If completely cutting yourself isn't an option, then plan ahead. Schedule time in the morning and evening to check and return email/messages. But then, leave your phone alone for the rest of the day.

5. While you are out exploring, focus on taking in the moments rather than trying to capture them to share on social media that day. I prefer to bring my regular camera with me to capture these special moments. I later transfer them to my phone to share on social media after we are home or back in the hotel unwinding for the night.

6. Go Analog - Read a real book. One with pages and everything! Despite the fact that it’s easier (and lighter) to carry a library of reading material around in your kindle or iPad, it’s a slippery slope back into your in-box. It’s a lot safer for me and my hubby to read a book the old fashioned way.

7. Forget your charger....on purpose. Limited battery life forces you to reevaluate what you use your device for. Your phone might die, but you probably won't ;)

8. Try something new! Getting excited about trying a new activity or exploring a new place will make you forget all about that phone in your pocket and allow you to be present in making new memories.

By really trying my best to disconnect I am able to destress and enjoy the time with my husband on our weekend getaways. It's so rare that we get to spend time together without laptops on our laps or clients calling into the evening. So, I cherish the times when we can escape the routine of late work nights to enjoy some special moments without any distraction. It's a nice break from feeling like we constantly need to be “on” and connected with everyone.

Do you take your phone with you on vacations? What tips do you have to unplug while traveling?



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