It’s obvious that our phones and devices are convenient and a necessary tool for communication, work, and day-to-day living. At the same time, however, our favorite devices bind us 24 hours, 7 days a week to work emails, phone calls, social media posts, and news updates without giving us any downtime. While it’s great to be informed and easy to access, this barrage of information has the potential to increase our stress loads and influence our family relationships, friendships, interactions, sleep schedules, and even our ability to relax.
When travelling we are typically trying to get away from the daily grind and stress, not bring it along as a travel companion. In fact, studies have found that people who experience stress while on vacation actually suffer lower energy levels when they return back from their travels. And, isn’t reducing stress the whole point of travelling or getting away? This makes it stand to reason that we should cut the cord and put down our devices so we can relax more and enjoy the ride.
If you need more convincing or don’t want to be tethered to your devices instead of enjoying your surroundings, please scroll through the following 7 reasons why you should disconnect while travelling:
You will be more productive.
One study from Ernst and Young discovered that employees who took an additional 10 hours of vacation time had year-end performance ratings that jumped by 8 percent! While it might seem counterproductive, vacation time is good for us. However, it doesn’t really work unless we give our brains a true break. When we are checking our feeds and work emails we are sending our bodies the message that we are still working. When we disconnect, we are allowing our brains a break from all those constant interruptions, input, and stimulations so it can rest. This recharges our minds and allows room for great ideas, thoughts, and find inspiration. So, even if powering down has you feeling a little anxious, we will be better off is we disconnect while traveling.
Not disconnecting can cause us to feel depressed or melancholic.
Focusing on other people’s lives, which often happens while we are swiping through social media platforms, can affect our well-being. A recent study hailing from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology documented this effect and solidified the concept that the perfectly manicured posts of our friends and family can cause us to feel bad about our reality and why we aren’t appearing to have as much fun as everyone else. Research has also uncovered a strong correlation between the higher amounts of time we spend on our devices with an increase in negative thoughts. While the grass may always be greener on the other side, disconnecting while we are travelling can help us step back to enjoy the moment we are experiencing now and be a little happier in the process.
Staying plugged in can actually make us homesick!
While you may associate homesickness with summer camps and sleep overs from our youth, we can still suffer from travel-related bouts of homesickness. If you are a frequent traveler or just stealing away for a little rest and relaxation, our devices constantly remind us of what we have left behind. Whether we are missing our fur babies or a significant other, constantly seeing photos and reading posts on social media can make us miss home even more. So, if you are feeling a little blue about being away, make it a point to disconnect to help keep those feelings at bay.
To be present!
Traveling can be a treasure trove of memory making opportunities. Afterall, most of us can relate to the love-hate relationship we have with family vacations. When we were kids, we didn’t have technology to distract us on long car rides and we were forced to interact with each other- which may or might not have resulted in a few threats from our parents to pull over the car every now and then. Today, however, we are missing out on this time honored bonding experience and the creation of memories due to our devices and their distractions. If we aren’t careful, we might miss out on special moments with our kids, spouse, and friends. Disconnect while traveling and be present so you can make memories, live the experience, and enjoy the moment not behind a screen.
Disconnect for the sake of interactions.
As humans, we are genetically wired to interact with our environment and other people. Even with all of our technological advances, we can’t replicate this with our devices. Several studies have found that children often feel slighted when adults engage with our phones and parents often feel like their kids are tied to their electronics. According to a study from 2014, unplugging our devices can help prevent feelings of isolation. There is a strong link between feelings of loneliness and smartphone dependency- even if you are with your friends and family. Instead, we can use travel and vacations as the perfect opportunity to focus on interacting with each other again. If that isn’t reason enough to put down our phones, data even shows that talking with strangers can make us happier. While traveling, challenge ourselves to be present and interact with the world around us.
Besides the obvious dangers of texting and driving, disconnecting while traveling can prevent criminals and burglars from using social media as a way to target victims. They will scour feeds and posts for clues that people are traveling or will be out of town. Constantly posting updates or travel details can make it easy for criminals to plan their attacks for times when you aren’t at home. Also, be leary of using check-in locations on our phones and broadcasting live feeds from our travels. It’s generally a good idea to wait until you are back home to share photos from your journeys.
We are missing out on the world around us.
Recently, we read that “traveling is kind of like being in love. Except, instead of being intimate with another person, you become intimate with a place”. The article went on to describe the sensations of feeling the sun hit your face, viewing a foreign landscape, or the thrill of arriving at a bustling train depot full of local flavor. If we fail to disconnect while exploring our world, we miss out on these precious moments and can never get them back. By putting down our devices, we can fall back in love with the world around us, again and again.