The average person spends more than ten hours per day with their eyes locked on to a screen, three hours of which is spent on social media. While it’s great to know that Becky’s kid grew two inches in a month or that Bob broke his CrossFit WOD record, it’s easy to forget how important it is to give yourself a break from what everyone else is doing. Device disconnection creates time for exercise, healthy eating, better sleep, and more vivid social and emotional connections. Here are eight creative ways to give yourself a digital detox this summer.
1. Travel off the grid — Europe/South America/Mexico
A digital detox can change your life, but what if you just can’t do it on your own? Travel off the grid arranges group trips with like-minded people on which digital devices are not allowed. You can choose the level of detox you want to achieve ranging from “easy mode” — where you are allowed to check your phone at a designated time each day, to “all in” — where you are allowed no smartphone or internet for the duration of the trip. You are, however, given a pre-programmed burner phone to check-in with family or for emergencies. They’re so serious about disconnecting (for you to connect with people and places instead) that you actually have to apply and be accepted to book a spot on one of these trips. From $1619 (Croatian Coast, 10-day trip).
2. Snake River, Hells Canyon, Idaho
Might as well give up your devices at the beginning of this trip as there’s no wifi 8,000 feet down at the bottom of North America’s deepest river-cut gorge. The Snake River winds through this jagged canyon and the warm days of summer are an ideal time to take the plunge. Trips run from three to six days and will have your eyes pinned to anything but a screen from start to finish. Immerse yourself in wild class III-IV rapids, hike to sites were 7000-year-old tools were found, eat like a royal, and sleep under the twinkle of undiluted stars. Guides have a satellite phone for emergencies, but otherwise, expect the experience to be about nothing but being in the moment. From $1199.
3. Petit St Vincent Island, The Grenadines
There are no phones, televisions, or internet in the 22 villas of this private island in the lower Caribbean. In their place are a beach bar, a treehouse spa, two miles of white sand shoreline, three meals a day, and whatever ocean activity your heart desires — be it snorkeling, scuba, fishing, or sailing. Instead of trying to outdo your Instagram rivals, you can do your best to beat out in-person foes at the area’s most popular pastime: liming. Liming consists of living in the moment, enjoying nothing more than where you are and who you are with. Sounds like a worthy goal of attainment as doing absolutely nothing is highly underrated. From $1200/night.
4. Device-Free Date Night, Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas
Spending some time device-free is easier said than done, especially surrounded by the flash of glitzy Las Vegas. In order to assist couples in connecting, or re-connecting, the Mandarin Oriental offers a “Device-Free Date Night” where lovers check their devices in at the front desk and prepare to focus on someone instead of everything else. The package includes credit for use at The Spa as well as sparkling wine and chocolate-covered strawberries. From $299.
5. Canyon Ranch, Lenox, MA
Massachusetts isn’t usually the first place that comes to mind when you think of getting away from it all but Canyon Ranch’s Lenox wellness resort specializes in exactly that. Located in the Berkshires, this all-inclusive, tip-free resort, offers a digital detox experience tailored to each of its guests. In addition to spa services, guest options include creative arts classes, one-on-ones with spiritual guides, fitness instruction, meditation, communication counseling, and even access to nutritionists. Gourmet meals and transfers from nearby airports and train stations are included so you won’t even need your phone for directions. As they say, “Unplug in a place where ‘recharge’ means something different.” From $959/night.
6. Spa Eastman, Eastman, Canada
When booking some time at Spa Eastman, one of the Montreal area’s favorite spa escapes, ask for the “Option Disconnect” add-on. With this, all electronic devices are surrendered upon check-in and staff ensure board games, books, a “disconnect” guide, and plenty of “me” time. Rooms here don’t have telephones or televisions, and — in addition to the usual massage, meditation, yoga, and hiking offerings — Spa Eastman also has thermotherapy facilities. These include steam baths, saunas, hot tubs, polar baths, and indoor-outdoor pools to provide the kinds of stimulation devices can’t. From $215/night.
7. Maqai Beach Eco Surf Resort, Qamea Island, Fiji
If you make the effort to travel all the way to northern Fiji, the last thing you’ll want to be is absorbed in a screen. That’s where Maqai Beach Eco Surf Resort comes in. Aside from all of the natural beauty Fiji is famous for, this eco-friendly escape encourages guests to get involved with the friendly local community by participating in a kava ceremony, learning to weave baskets, joining in a game of volleyball, or even visiting the kids at the local school. Qamea Island doesn’t have internet and, even if it did, you’d probably feel pretty foolish using it instead of taking one of these many opportunities to make a true connection. From $170/night.
8. Go Camping, Anywhere
Perhaps the most underrated of ways to unplug is to just to pack it up and head somewhere near nowhere. There’s a spot in just about every country or region where you can get away from it all. Most publicly-owned national forests, nature preserves, grasslands, and Bureau of Land Management areas offer off-grid camping of all kinds, from somewhat developed campsites to boondocking to backcountry trekking. While it’s always good to have a cell phone for emergencies, perhaps the stunning country will deter you from using it for anything else. You’ll likely have plenty to keep you busy doing nothing.