How to Unplug On Your Next Vacation

It's happened to everyone. You head out on that long-awaited vacation only to return home more drained than when you left. Those emails kept piling on, your smartphone was attached to you like a third hand, and you spent half of the vacation getting there and back. If only you could truly disconnect, maybe that vacation would be the refreshing respite you so desperately need. With a bit of intention and commitment, you can not only disconnect, but recharge as well. For some serious R&R, check out these tips to totally unplug.

Slow Down
Rather than visiting three countries in one week, why not visit one country in three weeks, or perhaps more realistically, one city in one week. This will drastically reduce the amount of time spent traveling from one place to the next and will automatically force you to slow down. Spend an entire morning in a coffee shop, or strolling the city center. Or take a nap. Or, if you feel like you have to be doing something, pick an activity with some local flavor that requires some focused attention, like a cooking class or a bike ride.

Shifting time zones can be a doozy when you return home, so staying close to home can benefit you here. That being said, sometimes it's best to get as far away as possible. In either case, if possible try to allow yourself a small buffer when you return home. Instead of taking the last flight back, sacrifice a few hours of vacation time to allow yourself the chance to unpack, unwind, and slowly reintegrate back to reality

Turn Off your Smartphone
Seriously, turn it off, and and leave your laptop at home. If you absolutely cannot break away from your email or phone because your job requires it, vow to check it only once or twice a day, and commit to the time you've set to check it. You might even want to confirm with your boss ahead of time what the expectation is during vacation. Sometimes we place unnecessary expectations on ourselves that others don't have. It's possible that the office will continue to function without you for a week, and that is ok. If the expectation is to check your email daily, then let your supervisor and staff know that you plan to check and respond to your email at 9 a.m. daily, and that's it.

Find Nature
I have a friend (who shall remain nameless) who left her overnight camping trip in the middle of the night to go to Walmart because she just couldn't stand being in nature one second more. If you are like this friend, a venture into nature may be more stressful than relaxing. So, be true to yourself on this one. But, for all of us, going toward elements of nature can have calming effects. How do you feel when you listen to ocean waves? What about when you see a beautiful sunset? Even just a little time outside can revive and energize. For nature-lovers, going somewhere more remote or isolated can be just what the doctor ordered.

Take back that vacation by resolving to unplug. You'll return home feeling better than ever and maybe even carry that refreshed feeling forward.

Jannan Poppen is a travel writer based in Greenville, SC. She's an explorer at heart and will try just about anything once.