These days, vacation can feel like work. Between Facebook updates, Instagram posts and tweets of your shower thoughts, memorializing your vacation can overpower the trip itself. In fact, 41 percent of millennials feel that their phones are keeping them from living in the moment when traveling, according to a And over half of those who plan on unplugging during vacation aren’t able to, according to an Intel digital behavior study.
So how much are tech addicts (i.e. most of us) willing to pay for someone to cut them off? It turns out, quite a lot. And the travel industry is readily capitalizing on our addiction to glowing screens.
Lack of WiFi and cell service, once unforgivable for any hotel, have become selling points at places like La Pause, in Morocco. Nestled between desert sand dunes, it has no electricity or cell service, but offers luxury tents with egyptian cotton linens and bathrobes for $250 a night. Similarly, at Petit St. Vincent, a secluded Caribbean resort averaging $1,000 a night, the phone never rings. Residents use flag poles outside their bungalows to communicate with management.
“People don’t know how to disconnect. That’s why there’s this demand. It’s catering to soul searchers, people are looking to get to know themselves again,” said Adriana Lacerda, a travel consultant at Plantel Tourism. “Technology prevents this self-reflection. You are connected to other people, but not really.”
Unplugged tourism is like rehab for the traveler whose thumb flicks upward at the first sign of boredom. And digital breaks can have actual health benefits. Studies show that heavy users of technology and have
What Really Happens To Your Brain And Body During A Digital Detox
Neuroscientists observed 35 people who were totally cut off from their devices in the Moroccan desert. The results were life-changing.
Results from the few studies that have been done are troubling. Social media appears to promote narcissism, smartphones could be causing insomnia, and screens seem to be making our kids less empathetic.
Better Posture, Deeper Friendships
After three days without technology, people’s posture noticeably changed. They began to adapt to primarily looking forward into people’s eyes, rather than downward into their screens. This opened up the front of their bodies, pushing back their shoulders and realigning the back of their head with the spine. “A wonderful side effect of this is that people’s general energy opens up,” “They appear much more approachable when they enter a room.”
This better eye contact also appeared to encourage people to connect with one another more deeply. They were able to relax into conversations and seemed more empathetic toward one another.
Google Is A Conversation Killer
The content of conversations changed when people were without technology. In a connected world, when a general trivia question comes up, people immediately Google the answer, ending that particular line of questioning. However, without Google, people keep talking as they look for an answer, which often results in creative storytelling or hilarious guessing games that lead to new inside jokes. “These are the conversations that really form bonds between people,”. “You gain insight into the way someone’s mind works, and it is not typically a conversation anyone has had before, so it is engaging and memorable.”
Even after a few days without technology, people were more likely to remember obscure details about one another, such as the names of distant relatives mentioned in passing. The neuroscientists believe that this is because people were more present in conversation, so their brains were able to process and store new information more easily. With the many distractions of technology, our brains have been trained not to register seemingly insignificant details. These minor facts are actually very important in the process of bonding and learning about other people.
The guests on the trip said that they did not have to sleep as long, but felt even more rested and rejuvenated. The neuroscientists believe this is because the blue light from screens suppresses melatonin in the body, which makes us more alert as we are going to sleep. Studies show that people who check their phone before going to sleep—and, let’s face it, that’s most of us—don’t get particularly high-quality rest.
One of the most powerful findings was that people tended to make significant changes to their lives when they were offline for a while. Some decided to make big changes in their career or relationships, while others decided to recommit to health and fitness. The lack of constant distraction appeared to free people’s minds to contemplate more important issues in their lives, and it also made them believe they had the willpower to sustain a transformation. (Of course, there was no control group that detoxed from devices while remaining in their regular work and home routines.)