My family and I are taking a Fourth of July beach vacation and I’m already anticipating a technology struggle. I’d like to say our teens are the only ones who gravitate towards checking their mobile devices, but with busy careers, my husband and I can’t seem to stray too far off our own devices. A complete digital detox isn’t an option, but I’d like for my family to stay unplugged as much as possible during our short getaway. A tablet-free sunset is my goal! Any cell phone and technology tips I can pass along?
The excitement leading up to a family vacation is a great feeling. I admire your thoughtfulness in planning ahead for a mobile break, while acknowledging your limitations.
Here are a few polite technology recommendations when it comes to making the most of your summer vacation.
Prepare a few social media “tech break” posts. Although it isn’t always possible to turn off business communication for work-related issues, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are another story. I personally find it refreshing when a social media friend posts a “taking a break” message, along with their motivation for doing so. Depending on your level of interaction, this will help eliminate any concerns from your friends who may notice your absence.
Cover your bases at work. I shared more about preparing office mates and clients for your time away in my recent article on The Huffington Post. The peace of mind you’ll achieve will help reduce the number of times you are tempted to check-in on your device.
Budget for a vacation-friendly camera. Your teens will be much happier to leave their phones in your hotel room for a few hours if they have a camera (preferably water-proof) that they can take into the waves. For around a $100 investment, they’ll have hours of fun in the sun and plenty to post when you return home.
Start small. Depending on how often everyone in your family is accustomed to checking their phone or tablet, it may take a little more self-discipline to unplug. Ease into things a few days before your vacation by reducing technology use, and work your way up once you arrive to the resort. Don’t expect miracles – give your kids a few tech windows so they don’t feel isolated from their friends. It’s unrealistic for teens to sign off when their friends are posting Instagram pics of their summer fun.
Have a great time!