How a Digital Detox Makes Vacations More Valuable

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Getting away from it all isn't just a nice break from routine; it can basically save your life. Whenever you put your day-to-day behind you, the question inevitably comes up: Should you bring your work laptop, or check your email, or even unwind with Instagram?

More and more, people around the world are leaning into the digital detox. We're recognizing that boundaries are healthy — and we don't get paid enough to deal with work stuff 24/7. That's one reason why researchers from the U.K. and New Zealand have just released a study looking into how digitally detoxing affects travelers on their trips.

One of the biggest signs that you need to step back from the internet is getting angry when you can't have it. The researcher team found that early on in the process, tourists did grow anxious and frustrated, especially when it came to wanting services like Google Maps. They also developed withdrawal symptoms, but most importantly, once those subsided, the travelers had a much better time on their trip.

"Our participants reported that they not only engaged more with other travelers and locals during their disconnected travels, but that they also spent more time with their travel companions," said lead author Wenjie Cai. "Many also pointed out that they were much more attentive and focused on their surroundings while disconnected, rather than getting distracted by incoming messages, notifications, or alerts from their mobile apps."

Most of all, digitally detoxed tourists got a more authentic experience. Without GPS navigation, they wound up asking locals for help — and getting a more interesting, fulfilling trip than they bargained for.