5 Tips on How to Have a Great Vacation Without Giving Up Your Smartphone

By Anna Breuer on 31 July 2018
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Taking a vacation without your smartphone might be akin to… well it’s hard to imagine just what it would be like.

Without my smartphone, how would I take photographs, navigate to destinations, share striking sunsets and vistas with friends on Facebook and Instagram, compensate for jet lag, and even wake up on time in the morning?

Smartphones also have a downside. The barrier between one’s worklife and private life has long been tenuous. Colleagues, as well as clients or customers, expect prompt replies and many people find it difficult to task colleagues or assistants to cover things. This is particularly endemic for workers in the United States, while Europeans as a whole (and I speak as one) feel little remorse, if any, by simply ditching work for a traditional summer holiday.

Of course, the point of a vacation is to take a break from one’s every-day routines and to enjoy a place that is not associated with work, while many people simply cannot tear themselves away from their phones.

Ponder the following question: If you use your vacation to work, what’s the point of a vacation anyway?

To prepare these tips, I consulted with FBT Editorial Director Jonathan Spira, who – as an expert on the topic of Information Overload – is more qualified than most to provide tips on how to turn off (metaphorically speaking) one’s phone and live in the moment during a vacation.

Here are five tips that will allow you and your phone to travel together

1.) Set an e-mail autoresponder before you leave. Depending on your job, you might be able to suggest in the message that the individual contact a specific colleague or, if necessary, indicate that you are on vacation but will address extremely urgent e-mails once a day.

2.) Turn off all work-related alerts. Nothing elicits a Pavlovian response like the ding of a phone and the appearance of a message banner.

3.) Set a specific time to look at work e-mail – and stick to it! Thanks to FOMO (fear of missing out), it may be tempting to cheat but…

4.) Create a reward system for not checking e-mail. It could be a dessert at the end of a meal or a spa treatment, but make it worthwhile – and don’t cheat.

5.) While traveling, remember that the vacation is yours. While it’s nice to post a few photos on Facebook or Instagram, unless you happen to be a travel blogger, it’s unnecessary. Whenever I see people focusing (pun intended) on getting the best selfie versus taking in what you may be looking at – be it Big Ben in London, the waterfalls in Höfuðborgarsvæðið in Iceland, the temples of Kyoto, or the Danube River in Austria – I wonder how they will feel months later when they realize they wasted their time in one of these special places.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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