Social media has become an integral part of vacation for most travelers. Some of them simply can’t imagine a single day without sharing their holiday joy with friends and followers, forgetting what’s all about – relaxing, re-charging batteries, experiencing adventures, and communing with the different.
So, is social media the ultimate enemy of vacation? Or is it just an exaggeration?
Let’s check some facts about using social media and why we should consider (at least partially) unplugging from the digital world when enjoying our holidays.
Facts about social media’s impact on vacation
Nothing explains social media’s impact on vacation more objectively than numbers.
A recent Passport Photo Online study shows that most (55%) travelers spend between 30 and 120 minutes daily on social media. Simultaneously, almost three out of five (58%) vacationers admitted that their frequent social media use negatively affected their most recent holiday.
Of course, we should be fair in judging social platforms’ impact on our holidays. Among the top reasons why people use Facebook, Instagram, and so on while enjoying their vacation, there are:
- taking photos and/or videos (63%);
- staying up-to-date with friends and family (58%);
- staying in touch with news (56%).
Unfortunately, those three positive (or at least neutral) reasons are closely followed by:
- observing how many likes and comments their latest vacation posts have (51%);
- making followers jealous with their travel experiences (46%);
- filling up spare time (40%).
All of these last three reasons reveal a negative aspect of using social media during vacation – it becomes more about impressing others and seeking validation instead of enjoying the experience itself.
Vacation – a time to (partially) switch off
As you can see, social media (and technology in general) can easily take away the full enjoyment of our vacation. That’s why more and more travelers decide to experience a digital detox, at least partially.
What does it mean? It means leaving your phone or laptop in a hotel room for an entire day and simply enjoying every moment of your trip without checking notifications every few minutes. Being fully present in the here and now.
What are the main benefits of such unplugging?
First of all, it reduces anxiety. According to the University of Bath’s research, taking a one-week break from social media significantly improves well-being, depression, and anxiety. Such a detox is crucial in the case of our well-being, as even 60% of people claim that vacation does not relieve their stress, and many of them admit to checking emails and taking phone calls during their leisure time. The fact that so many people can’t reduce stress on vacation would be ridiculous if it weren’t tragic.
Secondly, it helps to establish stronger connections with our travel companions – family members, friends, and even new acquaintances. When you’re fully present in every situation instead of checking your phone every few seconds, other people notice it and are more willing to communicate with you on a deeper level.
Finally, focusing on the present moment allows us to better remember our travels and experience them fully. We’re not missing out on any details, as we can’t possibly snap a photo of every single moment.
That’s pretty obvious that social media has both pros and cons. But in some situations – and vacation is definitely one of them – staying constantly plugged in has more negative than positive effects. It’s time to make a conscious choice and consider at least partial digital detox while traveling. Not only will it improve our well-being, but it will also help us establish deeper connections and remember every moment of our vacation with crystal clarity. So why not give it a try on your next trip?
Michal Jonca is a travel, food, and trail running passionate who visited 40+ countries on four continents. He is a Travel Leader for Solisci Adventure Club and the Community Manager at PhotoAiD.