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Staying Connected on Vacation. Should You?

  
  
  

By Ellen Barone

Girlfriend Getaway   enjoy the friends your with, not your virtual friends left at homeYou’ve finally gotten away for that much-anticipated girlfriend getaway with your pals, yet you still find yourself reaching for your iPhone… Sound famililar?

Like many, I use the Internet, own a personal computer, have an email address, carry mobile devices and utilize social technologies like text messaging, Facebook, Twitter, and Skype. It’s how we stay connected in the 21st century. Or is it?

The digital revolution has dramatically altered the way we do life – at home and on vacation. Thanks to YouTube, Facebook, Skype, and apps for nearly anything, we are able to record and share experiences instantaneously. I’ve celebrated birthdays, summited mountains, listened to concerts, and explored new destinations, despite the geographical separation of miles and continents, thanks to technology. It’s a powerful connector and travel tool, no doubt about it.

But there’s a technological tipping point - the point at which the craze for documenting and broadcasting our lives begins to displace the experience of living it.

For those not quite ready to unplug completely, here are 5 tips to help you stay connected on vacation while still embracing the moment.

  1. Blog or update your Facebook profile when inspiration strikes, not as an obligation.
  2. Limit checking and responding to email to a dedicated time (15 minutes after breakfast, for example), rather than every time your Smartphone beeps or vibrates.
  3. Monitor yourself. If you’re spending more time tweeting and video Skyping with virtual friends than the real people surrounding you, stop it.
  4. Go ahead, capture the unique sights and sounds of the places you visit in video, audio and photographs. But don’t trade an evening of conversation, romance or solitude, for hours on the laptop processing and uploading.
  5. In theory, information is just a tap away. In reality, that can mean spending your vacation doing something you do all too often at work: squinting at a computer screen. Keep it low-tech: look, listen and ask.

While it's true that the Bobbie Burns and Bugaboo Lodges are remote mountain lodges, they are not without the convienences of home, bottomless cookie jars and wi-fi included. But once that helicopter has taken off, you are as far from a wireless signal as you could ever imagine.  And blissfullly so...

What's your choice?  Connect or Disconnect? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Travel expert Ellen Barone did what many of us only dream of doing: at the age of 35, she traded a successful academic career for the wild blue yonder and set out to explore the world and herself. In the dozen years since that intrepid decision, she has turned passion into profession journeying to more than 70 countries in search of evocative images and life-enriching adventures. Learn more at EllenBarone.com

Comments

This day and age we are ALWAYS connected at all times of the day and night. Facebook, Twitter, e-mails, texts,laptops, your blackberry, and the list goes on and on. Therefore, when I am on vacation it is very hard for me to "de-connect". I almost feel lost if I don't check e-mails, texts, facebook, etc. I don't like that feeling, but I think society has helped to create it. So as much as I want to de-connect, I have the urge to stay connected.
Posted @ Wednesday, May 18, 2011 12:09 PM by Adam McGinness
The conversation on this topic is usually HOW to stay connected. I love that Ellen asks the question, SHOULD you and how much.
Posted @ Wednesday, May 18, 2011 12:18 PM by Jeff Jung
I always panic before I go to a place without connectivity, and feel I have to do way more than necessary to let people know I'm 'leaving'. Once I take the plunge and go to that remote place, there's a huge sigh of relief. FREEDOM!!!
Posted @ Thursday, May 19, 2011 8:40 PM by Lorraine Chittock
I have this love/hate thing going with technology. Give me a new gadget and I'm like a kid with a new Christmas toy playing day and night with it. But at the same time, I love little more than a day where I never turn on the laptop or cell phone.  
 
Like anything, I suppose, the challenge for me is maintaining balance. Turning off when it suits me and tuning in when it's fun and convenient.  
 
Glad to learn I'm not alone.  
 
Ellen
Posted @ Friday, May 20, 2011 7:57 PM by Ellen Barone
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