This technology generation is the best and the worst thing that has ever happened to us. While we’re traveling, it has become easier to stay in touch with friends and family, keep from getting lost, look up information at the click and swipe of our finger, and endless amounts of travel apps that ease the stress of travel. But in the midst of our tablets and phones, we start to explore through the screen of our phone. Technology can create a sense of unnecessary urgency to take the craziest picture to post on Instagram or being bombarded with responding to messages every single day when you’re across the world… Like, do you really have time for that?

The answer is no. You don’t.

social media overload travel unplugged

Photo via theeroom


While I absolutely love travel photography, and I think posting about your travels via blog or social media is what makes the travel community so wonderful, we are in an age of information overload. You’ve heard it before, and you’re hearing it now. Sometimes not knowing what is happening back home, on the news, or at work makes you feel liberated. It’s the “don’t know, don’t care” attitude that you have to adopt for at a little while to truly enjoy the full potential of the immediate space you’re in at that exact moment.

Sounds pretty nice, right? Here are six steps to arrive at travel freedom-or at least limit your tech-use.

1. Post on social media about how you’re unplugging.

Posting on social media or sending out an email about how you will not be available lets people know to not contact you. They’ll probably still try to, but at least they know where you are and why you aren’t responding within five minutes like you normally do. Plus, posting about it online helps hold you accountable. If you put it on Twitter, you obviously have to keep your word.

2. Print out documents before you leave.

Printing out everything you’ll need prevents you from searching through your Email inbox. There will inevitably be things you don’t plan for, but having printouts of addresses, directions, and reservations of things you do have planned is a one of the baby steps to staying offline.

3. Let your phone battery die.

Is your battery on 5%? Score! Let your phone die because then you really don’t have a reason to use it.

4. Use a camera instead of your phone.

Taking pictures with your phone is super convenient, but using a camera keeps you from ducking into a WiFi hotspot to check WhatsApp for the umpteenth time. *Caution: Beware of being photo-obsessed. Traveling behind a lens can be just as bad as traveling behind a screen.

5. Write in a journal instead of online.

Your response to why you need to bring your laptop is so you write about your trip. Unless you plan on publishing online about your travels as-you-go, take to writing in a journal instead. Your journal can’t pick up WiFi like your laptop can, and it’s lighter and easier to travel with.

6. Set WiFi time limits.

If you don’t think you can completely unplug (no shame-not many people can), then set time limits while you’re online. Whether it’s once a week for an hour, or daily for 30 minutes, you can decide how often you need the Internet. Then during this time, you can take care of all your Internet needs.

How was your unplugged travel experience?

Sydney Pereira is a student at New York University trying to change the world while simultaneously making enough money to travel when she's not studying or writing. She's also an athlete, music-lover, and avid news reader. When she's not exploring NYC, fresh flowers from the farmer's market and a cup of hot tea on a lazy Saturday are equally fulfilling.


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