A new study has shown that more people are staying connected whilst on holiday via their laptops, smartphones and tablets. It doesn’t sound like a particularly groundbreaking piece of research. In fact, to me it seems downright obvious.
But the devil is in the detail. More people are using the internet to plan holidays than for work. When travellers arrive at their destinations they use the internet to look up bus schedules, check the local weather, find restaurant recommendations and take virtual guided tours.
And what were the conclusions drawn from this study? That we need to find out what people are looking up so we can make it even easier for travellers to use technology as a part of the vacation experience. I think that’s exploitative.
The fundamental point of a holiday is to give you a break from the things which make you feel stressed. You go away on holiday because being out of contact means that the stresses of everyday life can’t follow you. And you do this because taking a break every so often is healthy. So, when we know that using smartphones, tablets and computers is addictive, why are we being pushed to use them more instead of less? Surely checking your emails four times a day defeats the purpose of ‘taking a break’?
Not only does using technology in this way undermine the concept of a vacation, it also means that you don’t get some of the experiences which can make your holiday unique. By looking up restaurant reviews you are less likely to ask a local for their recommendation, and so might miss out on discovering a new culinary gem. Using a virtual tour means missing out on unique insights you could receive if you hired local tour guide. And the hours you spend sending emails, checking your Facebook or playing Words with friends are hours you could have spent relaxing with a G&T by the pool watching the sun set.
So, next time you go on a holiday, why not leave the laptop behind?
To find out more about the original study read Vacationing with technology
Have your say
Do you travel with technology? Do you think it makes life easier, or should we all just leave the phones and laptops behind?