10 Ways to Actually Ditch Social Media on Vacation

POPSUGAR Photography | Bonnie Burke
POPSUGAR Photography | Bonnie Burke

It's the addiction we pull from underneath our pillows in the morning and the same bright screen that we crawl into bed with every night. It's the urge to post photographic evidence of every vibrant acai bowl you encounter (even though you really wanted that croissant that ruins your monochromatic feed). It's the drive that pulls you into heated political discussions on Facebook with Aunt Martha and subsequently ruins Thanksgiving. It's the calling to eagerly peruse Snapchat for new filters — because what is life if you aren't a rabbit in the "pretty filter" on Easter?

We all suffer from this ailment called SMA (social media addiction), and it's seriously time to stop, fly away, disconnect, and create priceless private travel memories.

As a travel blogger, documenting every Insta-worthy moment of a trip comes with the job — but leave that hectic rush to capture travel evidence to the influencers. If you're taking precious vacation days for your long-deserved global escape, don't dare carry Kylie Jenner's latest Snaps with you. Be the one who enjoys the ultimate modern travel luxury: enjoying vacation fully sans social media impulses.

These are the 10 ways even I — as a travel blogger and entrepreneur whose entire business depends on being connected — ditch social media while on vacation.

1. Treat Vacation as Social Detox From Day One

If your job involves looking at a computer screen ad nauseam daily, you need to detox. Rejuvenate yourself mentally by retraining your body. Look at the sunrise in the morning, not the bright screen of your iPhone. Enjoy culinary goodness without needing to justify its nutritional greatness on Instagram. Enjoy adrenaline-inducing moments without sharing it on your Story. Learn to be present for yourself, not the entertainment of others.

2. Set an OOO on Email (Sans "Will Check Emails Infrequently," Which Translates to "I'm Still on My Phone")

You're a boss, I get it — but here is a secret: there is nothing more professionally admirable than someone who works hard, achieves it all, and indulges in an actual vacation. Don't be the person who answers emails before going scuba diving with whale sharks — it's not impressive, and if anything it shows you have no concept of work-life balance.

3. Socially Humblebrag on Your Ability to Disconnect

If you have family, friends, or loyal strangers in 30 other countries who follow your every life move, send a social signal ahead of vacation that you will disconnect to focus on yourself. Social expectations are dropped, and perhaps you just inspired someone to finally do the same.

4. Bring a Real Camera and Leave Your Phone Behind

Leave your smartphone in the hotel room and bring a real camera with you on your adventures. This will encourage you to capture the journey without the immediate need to share it with the world. A camera is an intimate, patient, and wonderful companion to any trip; your smartphone, however, is the needy companion that always has to use the bathroom every five minutes.

5. Include Yoga in Your Vacation

The most effective way to retrain your mind is to connect it once again with your body — that's where Child's Pose comes into play. Yoga is one of the most accessible classes to take anywhere in the world, so plan a couple sessions in your itinerary or master your favorite poses before jetting off.

6. Call (Not Text) a Friend and Let Them Know How Vacation Is Going

The art of phone calls is somewhat lost on our SMS-obsessed generation, but if you are missing your best friend and need to tell them about your adventurous day in paradise, call them instead of allowing them to find out via the same photos you send to the whole world. Remind yourself what it means to do things on a personal level.

7. Appreciate the Beauty in Your OWN Life

It's so easy to get caught up in the lives, feeds, and social media existence of others that you often overlook the beauty of your own present moment. Once you accept that life has no filter and the most valuable experiences are the ones that can't be conveyed on Instagram, that's the moment you'll stop comparing your life to others and realize your vacation is the only one worthy of travel envy.

8. Cherish the Art of Privacy

We broke up with privacy when we signed up for Facebook in high school. Whether you're on vacation for a long weekend or a month-long sabbatical, revisit the art of privacy and cherish travel moments, whether solo or shared, without seeking social acknowledgment ("likes," comments, and shares).

9. Use the 15-Minute Rule

If going cold turkey isn't an option and you know the "no social media at all" rule will end in failure, go by the 15-minute rule. Indulge in one short fix in the a.m. and again in the p.m. Not more, not less.

10. Think of Ways to Scale Back Social Media Post-Vacation

We love social media, and let's face it, our affair with it is for life. Still, before heading home, think of a few ways you can scale it back and dedicate more time to activities on your to-do list — read more, finally try that kickboxing class, or pick up a new language. If we took away 30 minutes of stalking other people's online lives and dedicated it to making our real lives more fabulous, every regular day would be a touch more vacation-like.