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The benefits of switching off your social media while travelling

girls travelling in the mountains

Can you remember a time before social media became a part of your daily routine? Just like we make the same breakfast in the morning or have the same routine in the shower, for many of us scrolling on social media – often aimlessly – has become second nature.

Six months ago I realised I didn’t like the amount of power social media had over me. It took up an ever-expanding amount of my time and my energy throughout the day and gave me very little in return – other than fuelling my anxiety and making me obsessively compare myself to others.

Taking back some control and putting steps in place to reduce the amount of time I spend on social media has been quite an empowering experience. That’s why I hope by writing this, I can encourage you to do the same.

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1. Being present

How many times have you been on your phone and someone has said ‘did you see that?’ and you’ve missed it? This happens to most of us quite regularly because we’re too preoccupied with the glass screen we’re holding. When we stop using social media as a means of entertainment and distraction, we start to notice things we wouldn’t otherwise. This is especially important when exploring a new place you’ve never been to before.

Being present is also really important because, quite frankly, you’ve spent your hard earned money to be where you are. It feels even more precious in today’s economic climate. These are moments you may never experience again. That’s why you want to really enjoy it and immerse yourself in all the area has to offer, not have your head buried in a social media platform.

If you want to take pictures to share with friends and family, I recommend taking any photos you want to and waiting until later in the day, when you have a bit of downtime, to give people an overall idea of what you’ve been up to that day. This allows you to share the memories you want to without preventing you from physically being at an experience, but mentally being somewhere else.

Contiki travellers snorkeling

Image source:Contiki

2. Better mental health

I say what I’m about to say from personal experience : switching off from social media can do wonders for your mental health. Not only does it give you a well-deserved break from the exhausting habit of comparing yourself to others, but it also helps to build your confidence as you learn more about yourself through your travels.

There are endless reports that suggest social media has had an impact on how anxious and depressed we feel as a society. We no longer have to wait until the next day to grab the morning paper because we have access to 24 hour news at our fingertips.

Taking a break from news articles that are largely negative or are inciting some sort of emotional reaction can help reduce how anxious you feel about the state of the wider world and help you focus on the present moment instead. Overall, this helps improve your sense of wellbeing and brings you a period of peace.

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3. Focusing on what you really want

Social media can provide us with some inspiration and information when it comes to how we might spend our time in a new city or country. But it can also distract us from understanding what we really want – whether that be out of a particular experience or life in general.

Switching off from socials can give you the head space to explore what you really want to get out of your time away. It can also provide you with the escapism we sometimes need from our day to day lives to analyse whether we’re living the life we want and if any changes can be made to improve it. It stops us from looking to others to tell you what you should do, want and achieve and encourages us to look inwards instead.

friends in Europe

Image source:Contiki

4. Better use of your time

There are things that you enjoy outside of scrolling on social media. We all have things that we get excited to do because it brings us joy, peace or satisfaction. If you’re travelling, think about your hobbies and what you can do locally to feed your interests. There is bound to be something you can do instead that will provide you with the excitement and discovery you expect from a trip away

5. Real life connections

Let’s be honest, who is brave enough to approach someone for a conversation when they’re seemingly fully engrossed in their phone? Very few people. You might as well wear a ‘do not disturb’ sign.

But by doing this, you’re potentially missing out on the opportunity to meet someone you wouldn’t have met or had a conversation with otherwise. We take for granted the power of natural connection in the virtual world we live in, but it can be really rewarding. I’ve made friends travelling that I am still friends with to this day because, you guessed it, I made a conscious effort to avoid using my phone and speak to those around me.

travel with your siblings

Image source:Contiki

Tips for reducing the amount of time you spend on social media

Understanding how to limit your time on social media can be difficult. So I’ve pulled together a few of my tried and tested tips to help you get started:

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We put this to the test recently by sending a group of content creators to Spain and Portugal on a strictly Switch off Socials trip! Here’s what they had to say when asked the following:

What was it like to switch off from your socials?

“At first I was very worried to switch off my socials. I love sharing what I’m doing with my audience, and I kept catching myself reaching for my phone. But I stopped myself and I just

thought ‘wait, let me just enjoy this moment with everyone together.’ It really allowed me to fully engulf myself in the culture and beautiful experiences that Spain and Portugal have to offer.” – Tom Sharpe

“This was something I’d never done before, and I didn’t realise how much social media actually impacts my life. But when I wasn’t using my phone, checking it, or even thinking about it being there, I was able to focus on being with new friends and it really made us all SO much closer.” – Marissa Meizz

“I honestly really enjoyed switching off socials while on holiday. It made me realize how much time I waste scrolling through social media instead of putting my phone down and enjoying the holiday. It really helped me feel more present and live in the moment. I didn’t really miss it at all.” – Vinny Mui

solo-female-traveller

Image source:Contiki

Did you enjoy the experience? Would you try it at home?

“YES! I’d definitely recommend this to other to try, and I’d love to incorporate this into my everyday life. I think I’m going to challenge myself every morning to have some ‘switch off’ time and allow myself to be present and enjoy the morning.” – Tom Sharpe

“Absolutely! I enjoyed the experience far more than I imagined. Being disconnected helped me tune into the group’s energy and partake in the fun and camaraderie, which was a stark contrast to my usual solo travels. Reflecting on the positive impact of this digital detox, I’m more inspired than ever to incorporate regular disconnects into my everyday life. The concept of ‘disconnect Saturdays’ or designated times when I step away from social media to focus on personal well-being, real-life interactions, and hobbies has always been appealing to me, so I’ll be trying those soon!” – Luke Springer

“This has showed me how much time I really spend on socials and on my phone in general. When I get home, I’ll 100% be reevaluating how I use my time, especially when hanging with friends, to spend less time scrolling and encouraging others around me to do also.” – Marissa Meizz

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