Just a couple decades ago, electronics were mostly confined to the home. You might watch TV or a movie, but you weren't connected everywhere you went. Now that's changed with smartphones and other gadgets keeping us online all the time. That's left many wondering how to unplug from electronics.
Unplugging isn't as hard as it sounds, but it takes some effort. Fortunately, going on a camping trip is a great opportunity to cut back. Use these 10 tips to step back from the distractions and focus on the present.
Keep a media diary to see how much time you spend using electronics. Note how long you watch TV, how much time you spend on the computer for work, and how often you check social media. The next tip on how to unplug will make this easier.
Most smartphones now have "Digital Health" or "Digital Wellbeing" tools. These keep track of how long you spend on different apps. For your phone, this does the work of a media diary.
These digital wellbeing tools have other features too. You can set daily timers that lock apps after you spend a certain amount of time using them. You can also enable a blue light filter to protect your eyes, set notifications to silent at night, and more. Take advantage of these aids!
As you prepare for your camping trip, plan to leave work at home. There are a variety of ways to do this. Start by setting up a vacation response for your work email. You can also turn off notifications for this email account while on vacation.
Avoid taking time to check email or work on projects while camping. Instead, focus on the present and the people you're with.
These activities are great for the drive and rainy days. And this infographic has more ideas for when you're stuck in the tent.
It's a scary thought for many but ditching the GPS can be a good thing. Try using a paper map on your next trip. This will require some forethought, so look over the route beforehand.
By using a paper map, you may discover routes that are more scenic. GPS navigation systems skip these because they're not as efficient as the interstate. However, a scenic drive is a great way to break up long hours in the car. Give it a shot on your next trip!
Ever heard of a cell phone sleeping bag? This is a small bag, usually cloth with drawstrings, that holds your phone. It allows you to keep your phone on you but makes it more difficult to access on an impulse. It's an excellent way to break the habit of unnecessarily checking your phone.
When learning how to unplug, people often try a phone-free day right off the bat. That's difficult to do and usually doesn't work.
Instead of ditching your phone for the whole day, block out two sections of time. For one hour in the morning after you wake up, don't use your phone. And then, for one hour before bed, also avoid using your phone. This improves your sleep and calms the urge to use your phone during every waking hour.
When going on outings, bring just one cell phone for the family. This allows the group to unplug while remaining connected in case of an emergency. Carry the phone in a bag, rather than a pocket, to keep the carrier from checking it.
These tips are great, but to successfully unplug, you must keep each other accountable. Try turning it into a game. For example, the first person to check their phone at dinner washes the dishes. Or offer small prizes for those who stay unplugged the longest. Get creative and see what works best for your group.
Armed with your knowledge of how to unplug, you're ready to plan your next camping trip. Check out our resorts across North America and find a destination for you. And don't forget to pass this post along to your fellow travelers!