Going on Vacation? Turn Your Phone OFF

POPSUGAR Photography | Sisilia Piring
POPSUGAR Photography | Sisilia Piring

Guys, we're experiencing a widespread epidemic called phone addiction that a lot of us just can't kick. You know the signs: phantom phone vibrations, inability to detach phone from hand, the need to be aware of all notifications at all times. We've all become so dependent on our devices that it's not unusual to feel uncomfortable without them. Not only is it an unhealthy habit, but it also removes us from the present. Which is why my friends and I decided to unplug for a weekend girls' trip. Spoiler alert: we survived.

When my two girlfriends and I first started planning our quick getaway to the cozy beach town of Carmel, CA, our ultimate goal was total relaxation and to be free of distractions. We wanted an outdoorsy vacation filled with sand and scenic hikes, and we knew that being attached to our phones would defeat the purpose of escaping the city. Our one rule was to have a designated driver who was allowed to have Maps on to get us around, but Wifi would have to be turned off otherwise.

Beginning from the two-and-a-half-hour drive over, I turned my phone off completely. One friend was distracted with driving, the other was finishing up some work in the passenger seat, while I idly sat in the back with absolutely nothing to do. I've always used long (and quick) drives to catch up on Instagram, Facebook, and emails, but without my phone, I found myself bored and already finishing all the snacks we had just picked up. I ended up falling asleep and waking up nearly to our destination, so I was saved this time. The rest of the trip wasn't so bad.

It was odd to see no cell phones sitting on the table while we ate lunch, but nice. No buzzing, no lit screens, no one peeking over to see who just texted. But it was hard not being able to Snapchat our hikes since they were so beautiful and definitely Instagram-worthy. We hiked along the coast with perfect picture ops at every turn, so we allowed camera usage on airplane mode — no one was allowed to post anything, though. We all got to know each other even more, and not receiving constant notifications allowed us to enjoy every second of our surroundings. It felt like we were so far away from San Francisco, and we loved that.

After a device-free afternoon at the beach, we headed to our Airbnb rental, where we continued our relaxing vacation. We grilled burgers, made s'mores, and played games around the fire pit — it was kind of like Summer camp except with wine. We read books in place of texts and talked to each other rather than incoming calls. It was a pretty great couple of days the three of us had together.

We were allowed to fire up our phones when we reached home, and a flood of notifications instantly brought us back to reality. I'm not going to lie, it was really nice to have my phone back. Our trip made me realize how dependent we are on technology and convinced me that you can't truly get away during a getaway if you're in constant communication with others. Although my daily usage hasn't changed much, we all agreed that ditching your phones on vacation is really the way to go.