It’s no secret that Americans are obsessed with their mobile devices 24/7 and that even includes the time they’re off the clock, according to a recent Hotels.com study.
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“For travelers the mobile effect begins with booking, as 43% of people in our study have booked a hotel on mobile,” said Dan Craig, senior director of mobile for Hotels.com.
And the reliance on technology continues as people embark on their trips. According to the report, 81% say their smartphone is their number one travel accessory. And on average, travelers spend three hours a day looking at their mobile devices.
While these figures may not be surprising, they are nonetheless worrisome.
“We’ve almost gone into what I call ‘relaxation amnesia.’ We forget how to relax and how to let go,” Dr. Susan Albers, a clinical psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic, tells FOXBusiness.com.
Albers says that by relying on our phones daily, it’s hard to disconnect for even a short period of time. Our electronic devices have arguably become extensions of ourselves, and therefore we end up living our lives through them, “almost like being at a sporting event and watching a game on the jumbo screen instead,” she adds.
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Vacation is meant to serve as a way to relieve stress caused by our everyday lives, and perhaps most importantly, catch up on much needed rest.
- Create a plan of action: Decide what is important to respond to & what can wait
- Keep social media use to a minimum
- Set clear limits for colleagues, family & friends in your absence
- Designate someone at work to vouch for you while you are away
- Set a time window each day of your vacation to check in with your phone
“Sleep helps us to repair our bodies and regulate our appetite” as well as “reset all of our natural hormones and chemicals,” Albers says.
By spending time on your phone, Albers says you will fail to achieve the goal of vacation and much more. This is because using technology means being connected to the people and things that stress us out, and we can therefore never truly escape the feelings that vacation is supposed to quell. Much like your mobile device, if you never recharge your batteries, you will burn out.
Of course in this 21st century world of continuous connectivity, it’s unrealistic to completely ditch your phone. Which is why Albers recommends creating a plan of action before you leave so that lines are clearly drawn.
“Decide what you would consider urgent to respond to, and what is an issue that you can put on the back burner.”
And keep apps like Facebook (FB), Instagram and Twitter (TWTR) to a minimum. The Hotels.com survey found social media is the top app category (66%) people use while traveling. Whether you are among the 50% who admit to uploading photos just to show off, or the 64% who admit to looking at friends’ social media so as not to lose touch, engaging online will prevent you from connecting with your surroundings and living in the moment.
Albers also encourages travelers to set clear limits by way of automated email responses for colleagues, family and friends so they know what to expect in regards to hearing from you. It’s a good idea, too, to designate who at your job can vouch for you in your absence, this way you feel less pressured to check in so often.
And since it may be hard to let go of all technology at once, Albers says you should set up a specific window each day throughout your vacation to allow yourself to check in on things at home.