Off The Grid: How to Stay Offline While on Vacation

Travel Lists How To

You’re likely reading this because you have no self-control. You want help, advice—anything to show that damn phone of yours who’s boss. You know how addictive it can be; how tethered it makes you feel, especially on vacation.

Well, dear reader, you’ve come to the right place. While I can’t solve your compulsion disorder or work-life balance problems, I can give you some ideas on overcoming both during downtime.

I wish you luck. You’re going to need it.

Step 1: Try It For Once

You can’t charge your figurative battery if you’re always online. This goes for in-between work as well as vacation. So give leaving the grid a chance. Letting go feels good. When you do, the sun will still rise. The world will move on without you. I promise. For some, that may be a humbling, if not, uncomfortable thought. But it’s true. You can’t dislike something you’ve never tried. And if you can’t stomach going offline for an extended period of time, you can always go back to your always-online ways.

Step 2: Set Boundaries Before You Leave

If you don’t decide beforehand how you’ll stay offline, you will fail. Willpower alone won’t work. Turning off all audible and visual phone alerts during designated times, either individually or with the catch-all “airplane” or “do not disturb” modes, should be your primary objective. If you’re really addicted, you may need to go old-school and ditch your phone altogether. Obviously, not having Google and other online tools can be a huge pain. But there are workarounds. You just have to decide what’s most important.

Step 3: Find an Accountability Partner

Not to get all “alcohol anonymous” on you, but asking a “sponsor,” “recovery buddy” or travel partner to keep you honest is a tried-and-true way of staying on the wagon. This applies to substance as well as phone abuse. This works because peer pressure works. So if traveling with someone else, disclose your bad habit and the boundaries surrounding it, then ask them to help you stick to the plan. Lame habits require a seemingly lame response.

Step 4: Check Your Motive Before Sharing

If you decide to keep your phone nearby (hopefully with alerts turned off) and find yourself alone, you’ll still need to fight the urge to share all the cool things you encounter while away. This goes for sharing pics via social media as well as group texts. In other words, is what you’re anxious to share “showing off” or will doing so deepen your relationships with people back home? To help you answer that question, set a boundary for this as well. For instance, “I’m only going to share the single coolest thing I encounter on my adventure.” You’ll know when the moment is right. Otherwise, it can wait. Carry on smelling roses.

Step 5: Bask In Glory

In exchange for staying offline, your brain will settle down, and you won’t be distracted by irrelevant news. And that’s when you’ll know you’ve found it. Perspective. Analog awesomeness. Winning!

Photo: Tina :0), CC-BY

Off the Grid columnist Blake Snow writes epic stories for fancy publications and Fortune 500 companies. Follow him on Twitter.

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