KidTripster Teen: 6 reasons why parents should plan a tech-less vacation for their family
Why go no-tech?
This summer, I was invited to spend two weeks at my friend’s cabin in Oquossoc, Maine. I went with two of my closest friends and my friend’s family. It was the first time that I had spent that much time away from my parents!
The cabin originally belonged to my friend’s grandparents and had been passed down to the next generation. It was located in a beautiful spot, right next to a lake. The cabin was rustic with no WiFi. I'm not going to lie - as someone who usually spends quite a bit of my day on my cell phone, it was difficult to adjust at first. But being cut off from my phone actually allowed me to see things through a whole new lens. I am really glad that I got to experience a vacation where I wasn’t constantly looking at my phone but instead my surroundings, and I would do it again!
Here are 6 reasons you may want to plan a similar vacation for your tech-obsessed kids (and maybe even yourself)!
1/Spend more time with people
My friends and I do all kinds of fun things, like going to tasty restaurants or taking day trips to the beach. But sometimes when we hang out, we'll sit around on our phones. While in Maine, I was with two of my best friends. When we hung out with each other for a week and a half with no internet access, sitting around on our phones wasn’t an option. It didn’t even matter after a while though, because I had so much fun just talking to my friends in person! I feel like we became a lot closer. If we had access to our phones, I don’t think that it would have been the same.
2/Try new things
There are going to be times during a vacation where you have some downtime. Usually I would use that time to check Instagram and text my friends. However, none of these options were available to me in Maine, so I had to think of some other things to do. My favorite activities were reading books, making friendship bracelets, and going swimming in the lake. Of course, depending on where you go, you may not have access to a lake, but books are easy to travel with and can keep you entertained for hours. While I was on vacation, I read The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, and I loved it! It had been so long since I had sat down and read a book, cover to cover. In fact, I loved reading so much that as soon as I got home, I got The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and read the whole thing in two days!
While this may not be relevant to everyone (as there may not be much drama in your life), I still think this could apply. By putting down your phone, you don’t have to be reminded of drama or any problem that you may be facing at home. For example, I'll be a senior in high school this fall, and I have been working hard all summer long in preparation for college applications. While I’m excited about college, I’m also quite nervous and a little stressed. Without my phone, I couldn’t receive emails from colleges or even work on college research, so I got a little break. It was very nice not to worry so much!
4/Being in the moment
Whenever I am traveling someplace really cool, I find myself on my phone a lot because I want to take pictures or send a Snapchat about where I am. I liked not having to worry about uploading a picture of a beautiful view, and instead, I just lived in the moment. It was so much more enjoyable to be completely focused on what I was looking at or doing. Don’t get me wrong, I still snapped a couple pictures on my phone every now and then, but it never got in the way of me fully experiencing where I was.
5/More excited to see family & friends when you return
One of the things that I always look forward to after returning home from a vacation is being able to see my friends and family again. Since I wasn’t traveling with my family in Maine, I began to really miss them. By the time I got home, I was so happy to see them! Returning home after being away always makes me happy, but because I hadn’t talked to anyone at home during the vacation, it made me even happier. I had a new appreciation for being able to share with my family every day.
6/You won't rely on your phone so much when you return
Of course, when I returned, I texted my friends and family right away! But for the next couple weeks, I was so used to not having my phone that I didn’t really use it as much as I had previously. It was nice just talking to my family or going to see my friends in person instead of texting them! We'll see how long it lasts.
Elena Martinez is a high school senior who travels the world with her mom, dad, and brother - and sometimes without them! She enjoys art, music, and spending time with her friends.