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Digital Detox Challenge: Here's How to Unplug on Vacation to Create a Lifetime of Memories

Recharge your batteries with these tips from Hilton Grand Vacations

The Vacationeer
A happy family laughing and engaging at dinner during a digital detox challenge.

"Almost everything will work again if you unplug it — including you."

— Author Anne Lamott

In a world where Americans check their phones an average of 52 times per day, it's easy to see why so many are embracing the digital detox trend. Unplugging from technology benefits us in more way than one. 

At Hilton Grand Vacations, we're in the business of making memories, and according to Linda Henkel, a human memory researcher at Fairfield University, to create truly, long-lasting memories, you need to unplug. 

Here are our top tips for how to unplug on vacation, so you’ll remember the moments for years to come. 

Choose a Destination with Limited WiFi

Taking a glamping trip in the mountains or the jungles of Costa Rica can force you to turn off and put away that phone, but far-flung lands aren’t the only option. If international travel isn't in the cards, you can get the same off-the-grid experience by staying at Valdoro Mountain Lodge, in Breckenridge, Colorado and unplugging for a day hike. 

Declutter Your Digital Space

Before you leave on vacation, schedule upcoming bills for autopay, delete apps you don't use and make your phone a more functional (and less distracting) place.

Turn Off Push Notifications

Push notifications can immediately distract you from your vacation bliss. Take a break from the news, celebrity gossip and the constant phone notifications. According to research from Carnegie Mellon University and Telefonica, you’ll feel less stressed after just 24 hours by silencing notifications.

Set Up an Out of Office Reply

Set yourself up for success by communicating the need to unplug before leaving on vacation. Let your email contacts know that you'll be out of the office, and you won't have access to email. Ease your conscience and provide an alternate person to contact for any immediate issues. 

Airplane Mode or Just Turn It Off

Keep your phone on airplane mode during your travels to avoid international fees. To commit to a digital detox fully, just turn it off during your getaway. If a full digital detox makes you itch, commit to turning it off at night. 

Use an App to Help

It may sound counterproductive to use an app to create distance between you and your device, but give Moment a try. The app automatically tracks how much you use your iPhone and iPad each day. To reel in your screen time, set daily limits — once you go over, the app will notify you. Serious device addicts can even force themselves off the device when at the time-limit. Vacation or not, this app is an excellent tool for parents enforcing screen time. 

The Phone Stacking Challenge

If you are going out to dinner with your travel tribe, have everyone stack their phones away from reach for the entire meal. Raise the stakes: the first to look at their phone has to buy a round of drinks.

Make a List of Non-Tech Activities You Want to Do On Vacation

Pack a paper journal to make a list of things you would like to do on holiday. Movie nights are great, but we encourage you to stick to activities that don't involve a screen. Take a yoga class, go for a hike, read the latest New York Times Best Seller by the pool, take a cooking class or try all the gelato flavors in the city.

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Delete Social Media 

Yes, seriously. Just for your vacation, delete all of the social media apps (and even email if you can), and stick with travel apps and your phone's camera to help you on your journey and make your trip stress-free. 

Schedule Specific Check-In Times

Breaking up is hard to do. If you can't commit to taking a break from your device during your vacation, commit to being intentional about your use. Schedule specific device times where you can check email or enjoy scrolling social media for a moment. 

For even more help unplugging on vacation, read about some of our favorite off-the-grid Hilton resorts that make it easy unplug and make memories. 

Vacationeer

The Vacationeer

The Vacationeer is a collective of Hilton Grand Vacations storytellers whose goal is to inspire travelers to go further. We're always on the lookout for new destinations to explore, useful travel tips, and unique ideas to help you plan the most memorable vacations possible.

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