5 Ideas for a Digital Detox Vacation

By Mary Shoemaker January 8, 2019

Can you imagine going on vacation without technology? No cell phone. No laptop. No TV. No Facebook. No Twitter. No Kindle. 

Hyperventilating yet? 

We know you're addicted: After all, the average U.S. adult spends over 11 hours each day interacting with media, including smartphones, computers, and television, according to a 2018 Nielsen survey.

That's a lot of time. 

But, as we all know, there are huge benefits to unplugging, including reduced stress, improved sleep, and, of course, the opportunity to spend quality, distraction-free time with your family.

Now resorts and travel companies are encouraging visitors to unplug with digital detox vacations. Consider it the ultimate adventure!

We love the idea of connecting with each other instead of the hotel wifi, so we're challenging our readers (and ourselves!) to take a tech-free family vacation this year. 

Here are five resorts and travel companies encouraging your family to unplug:

1. Unplug in a beachside paradise

Families who participate in the Digital Detox program at the luxury, all-inclusive Grand Velas Resorts in Riviera Maya or Riviera Nayarit will need to surrender their electronic items to the Detox Concierge and earn them back over the course of their stay. How? By participating in complimentary, tech-free wellness activities and watersports such as a bike tour, ecological tour of the property’s flora and fauna, snorkeling tour, and select treatments at Virtuoso’s Best Spa. Now that's a challenge we'd like to take! 

To really get in the spirit of unplugging, families will also receive t-shirts that read, “We are digital detoxing,” and will have a timer placed in the lobby that features the family’s last name and the time that they have already detoxed.

2. Swap your devices for new adventures

For five nights this July, families can embark on a device-free, action-packed, all-inclusive dream trip to Montana and Yellowstone National Park through Austin Adventures. The cowboy-style journey includes rafting, horseback riding, hiking, zip lining, and evening campfires. 

Each guest must sign a Digital Detoxification pledge before starting the trip, promising to unplug from technology, refrain from discussing work (or politics!), and focus on being present. 

And there's no need to worry about not being able to capture photos along the way because a professional trip photographer will respectfully roam the background snapping photos.

3. Replace wifi with wellness

With the Digital Detox package at the James NoMad in NYC, personal devices are locked away and the room is stripped of all electronics (including the TV and alarm clock!) and replaced with books and newspapers to ensure guests can truly unplug. 

Instead of screen time, families participate in curated, in-room experiences that target the physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional components of well-being, such as guided meditation and yoga practices.

4. Step back to a time before tech

Discover what life was like 60, 90, or even 150 years ago with a stay at the historic Canal Quarters in Montgomery County, Maryland. Located along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, each of the six historic lockhouses is furnished according to its time period and requires families to embrace a quiet and simpler lifestyle -- without cell service or wifi. 

The 1930s and 1950s lockhouses offer heat, air conditioning, a bathroom, and kitchen. But for families that really want to go all out, there are lockhouses from the 1800s without electricity or indoor plumbing.

5. Break free from your devices 

Families looking to recharge together will find a perfect fit with the Digital Detox package at the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel. Laptops, phones, and other devices must be surrendered at check-in, and the room's television and iPod dock are replaced with playing cards and board games.

Instead of staring at their screens, families will receive a voucher for a tech-free activity in the city, such as kayaking or biking, and are given an instant camera with film to capture the memories.