5 techniques that will help you switch off and enjoy your next holiday

Take a break from your phone, online life and overflowing inbox.

Your phone can be a useful tool while on holiday, holding boarding passes, trip itineraries, Airbnb reservations.

For many of us, it’s indispensable for keeping in touch with loved ones at home and taking lots of souvenir snaps. But just as phones can encroach on your time in everyday life, so too can they take over your trip.

If you’re truly wanting to get away from it all, then here are some smart ways to stop your phone hijacking your holiday.

Reorganise your homescreen to remove temptation

It’s time to get rearranging. Move practical apps, such as your camera, maps or a translation app, to your home screen. These are your ‘tools’ to use freely.

You can even plan ahead by downloading maps or taking screenshots of information you know you’ll need.

For apps that you can’t resist – email or Instagram, for instance – hide them in a folder off your home screen. If you’re committed to having a distraction-free holiday, you can always delete them and restore them once home again.

Turn your notifications off

From news alerts to Facebook notifications, go through your phone and switch them all off – this includes ‘badges’, those little red circles that pop up on the app icons.

If the thought of turning off email notifications sends you into a cold sweat, set some time aside once or twice a day to skim through those emails you absolutely can’t miss.

Apps like Inbox Pause, available for Gmail and Outlook, let you have your emails batch-delivered at a time and frequency of your choosing – and you may even want to keep it on once you’re back in the office!

Make it a game

If you’re travelling with others and you have established phone etiquette, like no phones at meals, why not turn it into a friendly competition? For example, if you’re on a getaway with friends, the first person to pull their phone at the table covers the tip.

If you have little ones, agree to pay a small fine every time you’re caught breaking the rules, then at the end of the trip, put that money towards a family activity of your child’s choosing.

Give yourself alternative options

It’s hard enough to limit screen time at home, let alone when you’re itching to check your phone poolside. So pack alternatives for those times.

It’s the perfect opportunity to lose yourself in the book you’ve been waiting to read.

Make phone-free time a social event by adding a game or deck of cards to your luggage. And for those who are arts-inclined, pack a journal, sketchpad or a knitting project into your suitcase. (If you want to break out the knitting needles on the plane, most carriers will allow you to keep it in your carry on, though it’s better to pack wooden or plastic needles over metal.)

Test the waters by easing yourself in

If you’re not keen to go totally phone-free, try picking a time or an activity to leave your phone behind each day.

Perhaps leave it in the safe while exploring the neighbourhood on the first night or grabbing a drink after a day of sightseeing.

Holidays also offer a good opportunity to reset your relationship with your phone when you head home.

Before going back to your normal routine, you could reflect on what you’d like to keep doing, whether this is keeping notifications off or leaving your phone behind at set times.

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