Unplugged on Vacation

by | Aug 22, 2015 | Family, Personal, Vacation

Unplugged on Vacation by Sound Mind and Spirit

I’m one of those people who is always connected to a device – usually in front of my Macbook or attached to my iPhone.  Last year when we took a family vacation to the beach in Mexico I was unconnected from the online world for 5 days.  My computer stayed at home and my iPhone remained off and in the hotel safe.  Whew, it was hard at first but by the end I hated turning it all back on.  This year when planning our family vacation, I found myself really looking forward to getting unconnected and relaxing.

We decided to head back down to Tulum in Mexico to the same resort we stayed in last year.  Man, I was looking forward to my beach chair, reading my books, and chilling without my phone.  One small hiccup, I wanted to use my phone to take pictures this year. Last year I bought a point and shoot camera to take with us and the quality of photos wasn’t really great.  I didn’t want to carry my big DSLR camera to the beach so I wanted to use my iPhone.  Its small and takes awesome pictures!  But, would I be tempted to hop on the hotel wifi and check in to Facebook?  Post on Instagram?  

After hemming and hawing, my desire for better pictures won out and I decided to risk the temptation and use my phone for pictures.

Headed on Vacation Unplugged
Headed on Vacation Unplugged!!
Could I Stay Offline for Five Days?

After getting on the plane, I took one more picture and posted it online that morning.  Then I put my phone in airplane mode and left it there for five days.  Trust me when I tell you I had a little angst about it.  But by the time we landed in Cancun I’d mostly forgotten about it.

Last year while on vacation I constantly reached for my phone to waste time online only to remember it wasn’t there.  This year I cringed when I saw people on the beach or at dinner surfing on their phones or tablets rather than enjoying the view or their loved ones.  I think seeing all the people around me on their devices inspired me to want to remain unplugged versus making me want to check my phone.  I could see them not enjoying each other and it helped me avoid the temptation of connecting online.

There was plenty to do  at the beach or not to do, depending on how you look at it.  I had to catch some sun, swim in the pool, take a walk down the beach, eat amazing food, drink a few drinks, read several books and catch some zzz’s.  That’s a full to-do list.  No time to be checking a phone.

I will confess to posting one thing on social while I was away. My family typically enjoys Tex Mex food on Friday nights throughout the year which normally results in a Friday night margarita picture on my Instagram feed.  (Come follow me on Insta at @The5Jones) Since we were in Mexico and having Mexican food and a Margarita on a Friday night, I wanted to post a Friday night margarita picture.  My husband had a tablet with wifi for work emergencies, so we took it to dinner that night for the picture.  It was so tempting to surf while I was on there, but I had my kids giving me the evil eye at dinner, so I quickly got off.

Friday Night Margaritas by @the5Jones on Instagram
My One Post on Social while on Vacation – Margarita Friday Night (with a PhotoBomb)

I’ll also add that we didn’t allow our kids to bring anything electronic with us on the trip, even kindles and tablets that work without wifi or data.  They brought actual books, paper, playing cards and drawing pencils.  They complained before we left, but didn’t hear a peep out of them about it once the trip was underway.  They snorkeled, swam, read, played cards, and just about everything else.

Kids Enjoy their Unplugged Vacation
Electronic Free Vacation for the Kids Works!

After landing at the airport and clearing immigration and customs in Houston I turned off airplane mode.  It killed my post vacation buzz to see all of the messages and notifications pinging in my phone.  I should have waited.

On a Hammock while Unplugged on Vacation
How do I capture this feeling at home?

This latest vacation being disconnected from social, email and the web has me wondering if I need to be connected all the time when I’m home.  I’m betting there are some changes I could make, notifications I could turn off on both my phone and computer that might help me be more present.  Would it be possible to turn my phone to airplane or do not disturb mode at night so I don’t see the notifications first thing when I wake up and turn off my alarm on my phone?  Or maybe stop using my iPhone as my alarm clock?  Definitely a few things to think about.

How do you disconnect or cut back on the notifications from the online world?  I know I can’t recapture that feeling of being back on the beach but maybe there’s an in-between to help bring the relaxation of the beach vacation home with us.

Enjoy being unplugged on vacation


Lisa Henley Jones