Digital detox vacations offer a great opportunity to take a break from devices, apps, and mails and addiction to TV and social media. From destinations to hotels, here is a stage-by-stage map that allows you to choose a holiday depending on how severely you want to unplug.
[box type=”tick”]Stage 1: Beginner’s Level [/box]
One of the best ways to get away from a dependency is to focus on an alternate powerful experience that has no place for it. Since 2005, resident marine biologists at the One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives, have been growing coral to increase the coral cover and diversity around their house reef.
OOH Reethi Rah has a Marine Concierge Centre, which specialises in organising luxury yacht big game or sunrise fishing trips, turtle adventures, reef snorkeling, sunset and dolphin cruises, shark safaris and more.They also have the only PADI National Geographic Dive Centre in the Maldives. Thilas, giris, reefs, channels, wrecks and a stellar visibility of up to 50 meters means you won’t be near your devices. It’s the perfect way to start your family’s journey of digital detox. There are diving experiences for children as young as eight and nine. Ask about their Bubblemaker programme. For ages 10 and above, there are one-day scuba introduction programmes and entry level scuba course with certification, too.
[box type=”info”]Pirate Cruise: Walk The Plank
Pirate’s Day is a unique experience to allow kids to live the pirate life as they imagined it. From painting their own pirate shirts to getting their faces painted, they also get to participate in an adventurous treasure hunt. Go aboard a pirate Dhoni where the adults get to ‘walk the plank’.[/box]
[box type=”tick”]Stage 2: Mobile-Free Tweens And Teens[/box]
If your kids are teenagers who need their mobile phones surgically detached from them, then Beaches by Sandals, a resort in Jamaica will make them do that voluntarily (and non-surgically).
At this family-run, all-inclusive resort in the Turks & Caicos, teens have their own spa menu, a nightclub, an Xbox play lounge, and the world famous Scratch DJ Academy. In fact, Beaches by Sandals doesn’t just offer one of the best unplugged-holidays for teenagers alone. They have a full kids concierge that can organise age-appropriate excursions, activities and learning experiences. For young ones, their Caribbean Adventures with Sesame Street has two new programmes this year including Explore the Moon with Elmo, where they learn astronomy concepts like moon phases, and make their own clay model of the moon. Or young chefs can bake with the Cookie Monster.
The Choo-Choo Train, a tropical ride for kids takes them through the beautiful villages within the resort. The resort has limited mobile network coverage, and the activities demand so much attention that your kids will be compelled to leave their devices alone.
[box type=”tick”]Stage 3: Limited-Access Only [/box]
Visit one of world’s most famous geysers, Old Faithful; spot grizzly bears in the wild; and see the Mammoth Hot Springs—the Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming can be your kid’s first real encounter with wildlife. Other than animals and plants,there are lakes, waterfalls, springs, and valleys in the vast park that spreads over 2.2 million acres—a big textbook on geology can be written after a visit. The best part? Network coverage is bare minimum and there’s no wifi here. The camping sites and lodges will give you the true essence of the park with their rustic feel. From watching a powwow to fly fishing in the lakes to hiking and snowmobiling, it’s hard to fall out of things to do here, a definite plus when there is no technology for entertainment.
Mountain Sky Guest Ranch (near Yellowstone National Park) is a luxury resort in Montana with great views of the mountains. Get closer to nature and have a wild, cowboy experience when you book one of their cabins—Big Horn, with three bedrooms and a living room, has good space for a family. Besides, the ranch offers plenty of activities for kids to keep their minds and hands off their phones and tablets—horse riding, arts and crafts, nature walks, campfires, hiking, and teen dinners are some of the few. Adults, too, have filled days with yoga, golf, pool and sauna, barbeque dinners, hiking, and fishing.
[box type=”info”]Catch-of-the-Day: Fly Fishing With Kids
For years, Yellowstone National Park has attracted anglers.Streams, creeks and rivers have ample trout, and other varieties of fish. With no coverage and or devices to distract, it gives conversations a good chance.[/box]
[box type=”tick”]Stage 4: Back to the Life Without TV [/box]
A holiday without TV, internet, or even mobile networked—doesn’t it sound like another era altogether? Take your kids to England to stay in a historic home that makes 21st century science fiction. They won’t find the idea so outlandish if they are Austen fans.
The Landmark Trust, founded in 1965 by philanthropist John Smith, saves smaller historic buildings and makes them accessible to the public, by turning them into homes. But it isn’t exactly like your home — there is no internet, no TV in rooms, and you may or may not get mobile network.
The Cavendish Hall is a Regency House in the outskirts of an ancient village. It was completed in 1802 by Thomas Halifax, once Mayor of Chester.Restored by the trust, it still has a storybook. It will be an exciting experience for your kids to help you start fire using logs and take walks in the countryside, just like old times.
A coach house, walled gardens, and woodland cover the 30-acre estate. But it has modern-day comforts too—a bath with shower, microwave, dishwasher, and a table tennis table. Come prepared to keep your kids entertained—books (physical copies to suit the environment), games, and possibly holiday homework. You can also use this time to teach them the lost art of letter writing—on paper, making precise curves with an ink pen—curled up in front of the fireplace.
[box type=”tick”]Stage 5: No Time for Technology [/box]
The perils of human civilization without technology is unimaginable now, and as we come to this stage, we are even more aware of how our dependence on connectivity is detrimental to our common sense. After shunning the television in the previous stage, you now look to revive what’s lost from within.
Before the world had discovered alarm clocks or wake up calls, man would depend on their body for signs of hunger or rest. Realign your natural body clock by taking a camping trip to Norway, fondly referred to as the ‘land of the midnight sun.’
In the summer months between April 20 and August 20, the sun doesn’t set in many parts of the arctic country, especially in Svalbard, an archipelago that’s 400 miles from the Norwegian mainland. A GPS will lose its use in the rugged unmarked arctic trails you’ll describe time with some memory attached to it, “How long since we saw the polar beer?”
Longyearbyen Camping is the northernmost camping site in the Arctic and the northernmost human settlement in the world.It sees an international crowd and offers camping equipment for travellers to set up a tent anywhere they wish. Bung in a luxury boat tour with Natural World Safaris to enjoy majestic fjords, glaciers, and other remote pockets from a relaxed vantage point.
[box type=”tick”]Stage 6: Digital Nirvana [/box]
Digital Detox Retreats has such a long list of NO’s that you’ll think twice before signing up. Founders Levi and Brooke’s mobile retreat aims to help people revaluate their relationship with technology by weening them off it: no form of digital technology, clocks, or sound (there is a no-word talk clause) is available here. Instead, you’re allowed journals and typewriters, taken on guided hikes, and given lessons in yoga and meditation. The camp hosts dances, talent shows, archery, sing-a-longs, and analog photography.
People are encouraged to listen to their own unique body, because ‘students are their own best teachers’. Without the ability to hit a Command Z to undo, the art and writing workshops here encourage people to create spontaneously and at the same time ‘consciously’ because what they do, cannot be undone. They promote healthy eating practices, mindfulness and reflection.
Guests are encouraged to teach each other a skill they own, and therefore, on your way back, you carry something substantial. By the end of the weekend, guests are exhausted from pursuing this alternate lifestyle, but deactivating your worldly being helps ‘bring them back to life.’
[box type=”info”] Their upcoming retreats are scheduled in Northern California in May and New York in June.[/box]