How to detox from your digital devices while travelling

Going travelling used to mean getting away from it all. Now it means posting on Instagram. Time to switch off - literally. Here's our guide to how to get the digital detox you need...

6 mins

A 2018 Ofcom report revealed that the average Brit checks their smartphone every 12 minutes. We’re addicted to our devices, and that doesn’t change when we travel. Going away used to mean getting away from it all; now it means uploading it all to Instagram.

The reality is that a digital detox can leave you feeling freer, less stressed, less rushed, better rested and with a better sense of perspective. All the things you travel for in the first place.

How to start your digital detox

To state the bleedin’ obvious, the easiest way to ensure a digital detox is to leave your smartphone at home. That way you’re forced to stay in the present; to be immersed in the new rather than dipping back into the life you’re supposed to be escaping.

Without the internet at your fingertips, you might ask a local for directions, get pleasantly lost or find yourself in serendipitous situations. When freed from your phone, you tend to look forward rather than down, opening your body to interaction.

Also, focus improves: you’re not only likely to have more conversations, you’ll likely have better ones; and with no internet to answer every question, discussions can expand and roam. Freed from email and social media, you can forget the white noise and hone in on the things that truly inspire.

However, smartphones are extremely useful, so leaving them behind probably isn’t realistic. So use your smartphone smartly. Disable time-sucking apps and limit yourself to a quick online check every few days. Don’t let a small rectangle of pixels usurp the wonders of the real world.


7 top tips for turning off your phone on the road

  • Pick an unconnected destination – there are still places without WiFi.

  • Travel with self-imposed rules. Try and persuade your travel companions not to use their devices.

  • Use your phone as your camera? Turn off­ everything else.

  • Pack other items instead: pads, books, paper maps.

  • Write down key addresses, numbers and trip details so you don’t need to check your phone for them.
  •  If you’re usually ‘on’, let people know you’ll be ‘o­ff ’ so they don’t worry.

  • If you must carry your phone, think of others. No one wants to hear you pinging during a dreamy desert sunset.

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