By Ellen Creager Detroit Free Press
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Are you really ready to cut the cord? If so, there are travel companies that are ready to wisk you away WITHOUT your devices. Intrepid Travel, offers "digital detox" tours to Thailand, Ecuador, Morocco and India; and Digital Detox Camp Grounded, offers no-device camping trips to northern California, New York, North Carolina and Texas.
Detroit Free Press
Would you, or could you, take a digital-free journey this summer without cellphones, cameras, laptops, TV or social media connections?
The industry journal Travel Weekly reports that a small segment of the public may be searching for such a vacation. Two companies that offer them are Intrepid Travel, with "digital detox" tours to Thailand, Ecuador, Morocco and India; and Digital Detox Camp Grounded, with no-device camping trips this year to northern California, New York, North Carolina and Texas.
Intrepid Travel doesn't even allow film cameras. The company found in a survey that people waste at least one hour of their vacations just searching for a Wi-Fi signal, and 41 percent choose vacations "based on what will look good on social media."
But as summer arrives with its lazy days, that sounds so exhausting and unhealthy.
So cut the cord. Here's how.
DO-IT-YOURSELF DETOX One obvious way is to go somewhere with no cell or Internet service. This is not as hard as you think.
Up at my cottage on Lake Huron in Michigan's Thumb, we have digital detox every day, without paying for it. That is because we cannot get a cell signal next to the lake, and there is no way to get Internet service in the sparsely populated stretch of Sanilac County's Forester Township where our cottage is. (We also cannot get satellite Internet at our place.)
OK, I admit that occasionally we have driven inland from the lake about two miles to fetch a 4G mobile phone signal. We also have walked out to the main road to see whether our phones will work at all, even for texting, and once in awhile they do, usually in the winter.
But you know what? After the initial panic, we don't miss it much.
Suddenly, things are very quiet. We are cut off from the world. Just like people used to be.
THE HARDER JOB The trickier digital detox vacation is the cold-turkey variety. You leave your devices at home, but people all around, and I mean absolutely every man, woman and child, are using them.
So start small. Take a little overnight trip where everyone in the family leaves his or her devices at home, where you take not one single photograph, you never call or text, and you never drift down to the hotel computer. Instead, add three vivid real-life attractions: a bonfire with s'mores, family board games, and swimming or hiking.
Can you make it? If you can't break your digital addiction, don't be ashamed. Just try again.
If you do manage it, your children may begin to recognize your face. Your thinking may become less scattered. You will take a deep breath. And you will remember your experience because you are present to live it.