Unplugging while traveling will enhance your travel experience ten-fold. Disconnecting allows you to more fully immerse yourself in the culture around you and activities you are participating in while traveling. It helps you to live in the present moment, rather than in the virtual world of your phone.
Through unplugging while traveling, you can avoid being distracted by what is going on at home or on social media. Trust us, you will get a lot more out of your travel experience if you are not distracted by your day-to-day virtual responsibilities and social media. Here are our top 4 reasons on why you should unplug while traveling.
1. By disconnecting, you will have a much richer travel experience
Living in the present moment and experiencing a new place is very difficult if you are constantly checking your phone or social media. Unplugging while traveling from email, social media, texting, etc. is exceedingly freeing. You realize that the world at home will continue on without your attention. In case of an emergency, we maintain personal email to communicate with family while traveling. We also provide our family with our itinerary, including accommodation contact information, in case emergency contact is needed. Otherwise, we completely unplug from work email, texting, social media, etc. while traveling.
Talking with strangers can give some of the best and most memorable travel experiences
You will also be more likely to connect with others around you when you unplug. For example, if you are entranced by your phone while riding on a train, plane or doing virtually any activity while traveling, you are unlikely to engage with those around you. You will be missing out on the opportunities for real world connections that surround you. We have had some of the best conversations with strangers while traveling, many of whom we now call friends. Please see our post Why You Should Talk to Strangers While Traveling for more on this topic.
Stop scrolling, use your senses to take in the world around you
Does scrolling social media ever give you as much satisfaction as getting lost in a real world moment? We encourage you to unplug and be more present while traveling to fully experience those sensations around you. Smell the ocean breeze, take in those mountain views, listen to the sounds of the rainforest and taste those delicious pastries, all while undistracted by technology. We guarantee you will have a much more rewarding travel experience while unplugged.
Connect with your family
During our travels, some of our most cherished memories include seeing our baby girl experience parts of the world for the first time. Some of these include seeing her captivated by waterfalls, listening to her babble while hiking and watching her mesmerized by all the different plants in the rainforest. We may miss these treasured moments if we are distracted or ‘plugged in.’ Also, we largely credit connecting with each other very quickly through not being distracted by the internet. When we first met and we were living in Belize (where we had no internet access), we would spend hours talking, uninterrupted by technology. Further, we have had some of best conversations while on hikes in the ‘middle of nowhere’ where we had no cell phone service. We did not miss the internet or our cell phones during these times one bit!
Use your brain power and be creative
Likewise, in modern day, you can easily Google the answer to almost any question. For example, why is the trail named this, why are the streets here made with cobblestone, what is that celebrities’/acquaintance’s name, etc.. We rather try to figure out the answer or hypothesize the answer ourselves, prior to checking the internet. Even when we are not truly unplugged we will do this. We often do this with other people too and make it a game. It actually is pretty fun!
2. It’s much safer to NOT post on social media while traveling.
You may be super excited to post those pictures of your experiences but trust us, social media can wait. Also, it is much safer NOT to post in real time. Do you really want all your Facebook friends or Instagram followers to know you are not home? Post them when you come back to relive some of your fun moments.
3. Learn an area better by navigating without GPS.
Typically, we unplug from texting and GPS too while traveling, but that is variable, depending on if we are still in the US. The best way to reduce the possibility of distraction while traveling is to turn your phone on airplane mode. Then, do NOT connect to Wi-Fi (this will still allows you to still take pictures with your phone). While we travel abroad, we do not buy cell phone/data plans. If you are still struggling to unplug or committing to being on airplane mode without connecting to Wi-Fi, consider using an app, such as Offtime to help you.
This decision makes it a bit more tricky to navigate, as we do not have real-time GPS. However, it forces us to learn the area we are traveling through much better than we would using GPS. We download offline maps from Google to help us find our way without data. Navigating without the GPS, that we have become so reliant on in day-to-day lives, certainly makes for more of an adventure while traveling!
4. We all need a break.
Unplugging is a mindful form of self-care. We all need a break from the day-to-day grind and this decision will give you a true break/vacation from that. In everyday life, there are not a lot of opportunities to be unplugged for extended periods of time. Take advantage while you are off work and not at home.
Likewise, we have also started doing periods of being unplugged at home (a couple hours here and there) while not traveling. We find these breaks to be very helpful with staying present everyday.
We encourage you to try unplugging when traveling and let us know how it goes! Did it help you be more present? Was your travel experience richer? Do you feel less distracted? We are guessing your answer will be yes to these questions.
We hope this post inspires you to unplug while traveling. Anything else you would add to our post? We would love to hear your feedback. Please leave us a comment.
And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!
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