While on Vacation, “To Unplug or Not to Unplug?” That is the Question

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unpluggingNow that it’s summer, I’m seeing the inevitable seasonal articles about should you or should you not unplug while on vacation. And yes, I’m well aware of the irony that I am writing one of them.

However, many of the articles take an all or nothing approach. They advise that you should completely unplug and take no electronic devices while acknowledging that most people fail miserably at said “goal.”

My question is this: What about a sensible middle ground? I do take my phone with me while camping. Heck, I’ve got people back home watching my cats. It’d be nice if they could get a hold of me if something happens. So, yeah, the phone goes with me.

My phone is also my stereo. We listen to lots of music while driving to our camping location. It’s hard to beat my phone for carrying the music.

What about reading? It’s generally considered a completely acceptable “unplugging” type activity. Well, all my books are electronic, and I read them on a tablet. So, yes, the tablet comes with me. (Sometimes I bring my Kindle Touch for the ease of reading outside, but it’s still an electronic device.)

And what about email? To check or not to check? I’ve done it both ways, and for me, the thought of coming back to hundreds of unread emails causes far more stress than processing them while I’m gone. Now that I have the Mailbox app, it’s easy. On the last trip, I deleted all the junk as it came in and scheduled the important stuff to come back when I got home, so my Inbox was empty for most of the vacation, and everything I needed was there when I got home. A few minutes each day while vacationing reduced my stress and made the “checking email on my first day back at work” a breeze.

So, yes, I’m a believer in not spending my entire vacation working, but I don’t think “leave all the electronics behind” is the answer either. How about moderation and finding a balance that works for you?

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