Do a ‘digital detox’ on vacation

Save the phone for fun selfies on vacation rather than for keeping connected on stresses from back home.
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“Cleanse” diets are designed to help people clear their bodies of foods that might have an adverse effect on their health. Many people find such diets effective, prompting others to wonder if a digital cleanse, particularly while on vacation, might produce equally beneficial results.

Advances in technology make it possible for people to essentially be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Free Wi-Fi is available at restaurants, rest stops and hotels — beckoning people to stay connected. In fact, according to information from, free hotel Wi-Fi has become the most sought after amenity at resorts and places to stay. But is there a price to pay by remaining so available to work and other outside influences while traveling for recreation?

Studies have shown that unplugging while on vacation — or at other times — can boost meaningful conversations and more. The study, “Can you connect with me now? How the presence of mobile communication technology influences face-to-face conversation quality,” indicates devices can negatively impact closeness, connection and conversation quality, essentially interfering with human relationships.

Phones and other digital devices also force people to multitask. Evidence suggests that multitasking isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, leading to preventable errors and actually delaying the completion of tasks. A 2010 study from researchers in France found that the human brain can handle two complicated tasks relatively easily because it has two lobes that can divide responsibility equally between the two. Add a third task, however, and it can overwhelm the frontal cortex and increase mistakes. Trying to multitask on vacation can lead to stressful feelings and not being fully immersed in the experience.

Being connected while on vacation may leave a person dealing with stresses they normally would avoid until returning home. A study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life indicates that stress accrued on vacation can cause people to feel like they had lower energy at work after returning from a relaxing vacation.

Taking a step back from their phones, tablets and laptops while vacationing can help people make the most of their getaways. Such a break can promote mindfulness, encourage people to try new things and lead to more meaningful conversations with travel companions.

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