How to unplug on vacation

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I did a digital detox in the Maldives and it was amazing.  Here’s how to unplug on vacation.

What’s your ideal vacation?  White sand beaches and fun in the sun usually tops most people’s idea of a great vacation but what I see more often than not when I travel is people looking down at their phone doing the infamous thumb scroll and it never crosses their mind to unplug on vacation.

Although the line between travel blogging trip and vacation are a bit blurred for me,  I decided to unplug in the Maldives not because of spotty wifi or expensive data but because I needed to truly relax and enjoy the beauty of where I was.

For most of us the idea of ‘going offline’ terrifies us.  We don’t know when to quit whether it is work or family.  I am very lucky to live in New Zealand where they pride themselves in having a work/life balance and don’t really take work home with them.  They also know how to travel well.

I met an Australian in Central America who had been working in the States for the past year.  He told me a story about how his boss had emailed him in the middle of the night and told him off when he didn’t reply.  We didn’t get into specifics about whether it was urgent or not but that type of work culture is strange to some of us who work to live instead of live to work.

I found myself worried about what I should be doing.  Taking those Instagram perfect shots and snap-chatting about my adventures when all I want to do is live in the moment and enjoy myself.  Its sad to think that working while on holiday is the new norm.  I see too many people checking emails and replying while laying on the beach or by the pool.

How to unplug on vacation

1. Choose how you spend your time
You really need to focus on being kind to yourself and unwind from your everyday stress.  Its ok to be totally lazy – that may be exactly what you need.  Just make sure it is something you want to do.  I find if I lay around too much I start to feel sluggish.  Go for a swim or a stroll to keep moving.

2. Try meditating or doing yoga

I love to wake up and do 10 minutes of yoga everyday.  A few simple breathing exercises and some sun salutations to start my day and get my body moving.

3. Do your favorite activities

I love to read.  Having a good book on holiday is an important step for me to unplug on vacation.  I recently bought a kindle to use as I was reading on my ipad before and of course there was the temptation to go online and check things.  This way when I’m reading that is what I am doing, no distractions.

I also love to go snorkelling and using my snorkeling gear to see the fish!

Just a note, the more it scares you to unplug on vacation the more you need to do it.

While in the Maldives I spent a lot of time snorkeling.  The fish were so beautiful and there was so much to see from whale sharks to turtles to manta rays.  I spent a lot of time talking with the other guests on the island too.  Finding out where they came from and why they decided to visit the Maldives.

After looking through all these photos can you see how easy it was to unplug on vacation?  Ok, not completely easy, but totally worth it.  Have you ever thought how you could unplug on vacation?

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12 thoughts on “How to unplug on vacation

  1. Cali

    I love this because it is so very important! Before I quit my job, I used to still check my work emails while on vacation! That totally defeats the purpose of vacation. Now that I am “free” I sometimes worry about keeping up with my blog and social media, which in the grand scheme of life, should not take priority! I will definitely be unplugging when I go to Cuba in April!

  2. Kallsy

    I love this! Sometimes we’re all too focused on documenting the experience instead of enjoying the experience. Totally random but recently while we were at home our power went out and we didn’t have internet or anything. At first I was freaking out then realized that I could make the most of it. I decided to explore a nearby park, read a book, and just allow myself to relax! Being unplugged for a vacation sounds rather lovely now. 🙂

  3. Carmen Baguio

    Unplugging is sooo hard for me. That feeling of being left out or not sharing my “perfect experiences” sometimes keeps me from totally enjoying myself. One reason I love camping so much is that half of the time we are in no-man’s land and cellphone service in nonexistent.

  4. Ivy

    Guilty of that thumb scroll! I agree that not having WiFi signal at all is the best way to go. We had super spotty connection in Guatemala and that forced us to stay away from the phone. And yes yoga definitely helps too!

  5. Mike Clegg

    I can totally relate to this and often find myself on my phone when I should be relaxing more. I actually enjoy the prospect of being on a plane now and not having wifi, it’s almost like an escape! 🙂 Thanks for your tips and suggestions.

  6. Stephanie Frias

    Digital life is an addiction, and for us bloggers that can quickly melt into obsession. It so hard to break away, but we have to remember that the point of this was not to work while away! I look forward to our travel the most…when I am positive that I will not have access to the internet!

  7. Josie

    Relaxing is definitely not my forte and I really have to be careful to not spend too much time working. I am only just starting on my travelling journey, but I am consciously planning “downtime”. I hadn’t really thought of making it a digital detox. I think it sounds like a great idea since being continually connected is a bloggers life – and we all need a break sometimes.

  8. Ada

    For me its easy as working in a cafe shop while trying become a professional travel blogger I never had to worry about working emails during my holiday. Now when I have my blog I am trying to share wonderful photos with my readers, but for that I only need my camera . I never write blog post during my holiday tho, I always leave it for plane trips or after I get home. I wish more people read your advises, like my husband, American, who cant live without his phone for 5 min !

  9. Lena from fouronaworldtrip

    I think it’s so important but yet so difficult to really unplug! When we are on vacation abroad with the kids, we don’t by any data packs or stuff but limit it to the hotel where we have free wifi … that already something, right?

  10. Sheri

    It is hard to do but so important. I can easily unplug on vacation as that is what it is for. I want to relax and enjoy. That’s why it is vacation.

  11. Anita

    This idea sounds great. Still I feel in a way addicted to being online and on the Internet. When traveling there are places with no internet connection and then you are automatically disconnected. It’s not easy if it lasts more than few days. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Bobbi Lambrecht

    The progress of smart devices has minimalized family time for those in the US workforce. It’s too easy to look at your device and make a quick check of email or reports. Now Corporate America expectations are to be answering emails & calls no matter where you are! and one can only wonder why the health of Americans is declining in recent years.
    Unplugging on vacation, on weekends, or even for a day! is so important to your overall health and your ideas are great ways to do just that.


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