We first heard of digital detox vacations back in January 2012. Forbes.com even featured an article on the apparent rise of digital-detox vacation packages in the travel industry. Truth be told, we’re not surprised given the rapid advances in smartphone, notebook, and tablet technologies. We imagine that, for some people, being constantly connected can be an overwhelming experience, especially those who own several gadgets – all of which have the ability to stream information at such a fast, constant pace.
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One of the first to offer a digital-detox vacation package is St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). If you’re planning to visit this Caribbean nation, you’ll have to leave all your gadgets at home and just bring your travel essentials, as well as the pre-mailed guidebook that explains how you can survive your SVG vacation unplugged from all forms of tech. On-site is a life coach who will help you de-tech your life, at least for the length of your stay. If that sounds amazing to you, then you should know that it doesn’t come cheap – a 7-day stay costs about $3,799 per person. But don’t feel too bad; you can still go digital-free without spending a lot. Check out the top five ways to do a digital detox minus the shelling out lots of cash part.
#1 Just do it.
And by “it” we mean limit the amount of time you spend on your devices per day or just go cold turkey for (let’s say) a week or two. Of course, it would have to depend on what suits your lifestyle; but at the very least you should have an understanding of the activities that trigger your compulsion to use tech. From there, you can make plans and set goals to help you achieve tech independence. Just remember that a digital detox is similar to going on a diet. To be effective, you’ll need discipline, consistency, and commitment to making the right choices. When the temptation is too strong, try preparing your favorite meal, visiting a friend, or doing any other non-tech activity that you like doing to help you stick to your self-imposed tech diet.
#2 Need vs. Want: Know the difference.
Whether it’s a gadget or a new app, you have to make sure that it’s going to be a necessity in your life if you decide to buy it. We know this one’s hard, considering how the digital world seems to thrive on evolving itself, sometimes to a terrifying degree. If you own a company, you probably have an excuse to buy the latest hardware and software that are beneficial to your business. A startup can survive with just having a decent business phone service just like RingCentral, some desktop computers, printers, and other basic stuff. But as businesses grow, upgrades become necessary to boost their operations, keep in step with the competition, and better serve clients and customers. Now, if you’re “just” a technophile, resist the urge to upgrade whenever a shiny new laptop, smartphone, or tablet hits stores. Always ask yourself repeatedly whenever you feel like buying the latest release: “Do I really need a new gadget or do I just like the idea of having a new toy?” You also need to remind yourself that you don’t need to be online all the time. Talk to someone instead of posting a status. Print your photos and personally show them to your family and friends rather than uploading them on Facebook.
#3 Reconnect with yourself.
For the connected generation, disconnecting from the digital world is easier said than done. A recent travel survey found that many Americans would rather give up booze than their mobile devices. But, come to think of it, people two decades ago were doing just fine without Instagram photos, online banking, and Twitter feeds. Technology was meant to serve you, not the other way around. You will have more time for yourself if you spend less time tinkering with your gadgets. Choose real books over e-books, schedule regular face time with family and friends rather than just interacting with them on social media sites, use a real map instead of a map app, and so on. The Internet never takes a break, but your mind needs to. Get away from the distractions of the digital world by meditating or simply by doing nothing at all. Using technology often means being sedentary, which is not good for your health. Hit the gym or go out for a jog to burn some calories and get your blood flowing. Cutting off the stream of information for an hour or two – or even a day, if you can manage it – will be beneficial to your mind and body.