You’ve had a vacation planned for months, and you anticipate the long, lazy days free of interruptions. So often when mentally preparing for a trip, we daydream about being able to do nothing and truly unplug and disconnect. However, without proper planning and intention setting, vacations that are meant to be “unplugged” end up having the same stress and noise that we experience in our daily routines.
If you look forward to your vacation being a relaxing retreat, then you’ll need these tips on how to unplug and disconnect while on vacation.
The biggest mistake people make before jet setting to a dreamy destination is forgetting to tidy up work, emails, and other tasks before departing. Spend some time answering those emails you’ve marked as “unread,” and set an automated email response that notifies people you will be on vacation. This way no one will be waiting on a response from you, and when new emails come your way there will be no confusion as to why you aren’t responding immediately.
If you have any looming deadlines, you don’t want to bring this negative energy with you on vacation. Work hard before your trip so that you don’t have a ton of work to come home to. As a procrastinator myself, I know how easy it is to push things off until the last minute. But trust me, your vacation will be much more enjoyable if you don’t have to bring any work along with you.
Have any appointments you need to make? Friends you need to see? Schedule anything you need to ahead of time or let friends know you will get back to them after your vacation. This will eliminate any need to bring your calendar with, let alone think about life back home.
TURN OFF NOTIFICATIONS
Turn off notifications for your email, social media, and even text messages so that nothing will pop up on your screen while you’re on vacation. You may still have the urge to check your phone—we’re human—but you will be less aware of your notifications if they aren’t constantly lighting up within eyesight.
In addition to turning off your notifications, decide what you won’t need to look at on vacation and make a conscious effort to stick to your intention. If you’ve planned ahead and completed the work you need to, then there is no reason your emails need your attention while away. Notice how avoiding technology gets easier as you practice unplugging each day.
OPEN A BOOK
While this may not be the case for everyone, I often hear people list all of the books they want to read and then say how they never have time to read them. Vacation is the perfect time to dive into a novel you wouldn’t read at home. Pack a few books for your trip and try to read for relaxation instead of flipping on the TV. Of course movies and TV shows are relaxing too, but it’s so easy to watch these at home. Challenge yourself to settle in with a good book.
EXPLORE THE TOWN
When is the last time you walked around and explored without an agenda, errands to run, or people to meet? Head into the nearby town simply for the sake of exploration—be curious. Talk to the locals and find out the best coffee in town, the best place to try fresh cuisine, and the best local boutique. Wander down streets that peak your interest and get lost for some time.
By allowing yourself time to explore, this leaves room for spontaneity. You may find out new activities to do from the locals that you wouldn’t have planned into your trip otherwise.
FORGO YOUR ROUTINE
Instead of running through your usual routine on your vacation, see if you can step away from it. Perhaps at home you workout at the crack of dawn—well, on vacation order room service or spend some leisurely time at a nearby café for brunch. Instead of sweating it out in the early morning try an afternoon workout class that you don’t usually do, like pilates, yoga, or barre.
CONNECT WITH YOUR GROUP
If you are on vacation with a group of loved ones, make quality time a priority. It can be easy to be glued to our phones, especially when lying around on the beach or in a cabin. Get the board games out, play cards, and cook a meal together.
TAKE THE PHOTO NOW, POST LATER
There’s no denying that one of the best parts of vacation is being able to share your experience with others. Instead of immediately posting your photos to Facebook or Instagram for the world to see, save this for after your trip. Take as many photos as you want, just don’t waste precious vacation time editing and posting on the apps you’re trying to unplug from.
Finally, the ultimate way to unplug and disconnect while on vacation is to treat yourself to some self-care time. One of my absolute favorite ways to check out from the world for an hour is to book a massage. Indulge in a nicer spa package than you would normally book at home. If you’re in a location that specializes in something you wouldn’t find anywhere else—like a Mexican clay treatment—go for it! When I visit Frisco, Colorado I love to book an acupuncture appointment because the options for Chinese medicine are much wider there.
Most importantly, follow your heart’s desires. Listen to what activities and experiences you feel called to do—even if what you need is a day of doing absolutely nothing. Tune in to yourself and you will discover what it feels like to truly disconnect from the noise of the world.