Do we suffer from an addiction to smartphones and digital devices? The collective answer is “YES!” And statistics back it up. Ninety percent of all adults in America own a cell phone. In 2017, the average American adult spent approximately 2 hours and 51 minutes on their smartphone every single day. That’s 36 percent more time than what is spent eating and drinking.
What would happen if we took a week’s hiatus from our phones and devices and let nature and recreation fill the void? One leading adventure travel company aims to find out.
This summer, with the mountains, rivers and trails of Montana and Yellowstone National Park providing the inspiration, Austin Adventures will ask their guests to relinquish their digital devices, turn away from the news and embrace the natural, technology-free world. For six ring, buzz and beep-free days, brave souls willing to sign and adhere to a Digital Detox Pledge will enjoy uninterrupted conversation, periods of true silence, healthy exercise and the opportunity for real family bonding. See: https://www.austinadventures.com/tour-packages/the-most-needed-trip-of-2019-digital-detoxification/
Why now and what makes this so important? Austin Adventures guides have personally witnessed the transformation that can take place when adults and kids head out on a hike where cell and Internet coverage doesn’t exist. Immediately they begin talking and sharing. Parents feel a reconnection with their kids that they haven’t felt in some time. With 52 percent of adults agreeing they suffer from smartphone addiction and 57 percent believing their use over time will increase, the company felt it was time to act.
Austin Adventures’ Montana - Big Sky, Yellowstone & Paradise Valley tour will offer two dates in 2019; July 7-12 (family focused) and Sept. 1-6 (for adults only) designed to help guests detoxify from the digital world. Noting that the average person checks his or her phone more than 110 times per day and a majority of Americans (84 percent) think smartphone addiction does exist, it won’t be any easy task.
“Knowing how addictive our digital devices can be, we may be setting ourselves up for failure, but all of us feel compelled to try,” says Dan Austin, founder and president of Austin Adventures. “I read that 61 percent of users say they could not go on vacation for a week without use of their smartphone. I think with a little help, a dose of empathy and some gentle guidance, we may be able to help people kick their habit for a week and perhaps even longer!”
First step will be to field questions and concerns from prospective participants and assure them that advance planning will be done and procedures put in place to assist them in their detox journey. Next will be the signing of a Digital Detox Pledge to embrace a full week away from normal digital and media surfing habits…
Guests will be asked to agree to refrain from:
- Any and all use of a cell phone, tablet, laptop or other electronic devices (emergencies are an obvious exception; specially trained guides will be available for contact at all times of cell coverage and there will be an emergency number to give to family/friends back home)
- Discussing daily issues including:
- Politics & World Affairs
- The Economy
- Immigration or Healthcare
- Investing any time in media and news (even in hotel rooms), including:
- Social Media
Instead, guests will be asked to invest their time, energy and focus in the enjoyment of friends, family and new acquaintances and to practice being present, living in the moment, exercising gratitude and working hard at truly de-stressing from daily life.
“Not having your smartphone or iPad for photos or as a connection to social media might be the biggest points of resistance, but we’ve figured that out,” says Austin. A professional trip photographer will respectfully roam the background snapping candid (and requested) images to be shared with participants after the trip via a USB flash drive. And throughout the week, guides will take over the Austin Adventures Facebook page with daily posts and images from the trip. Guests will be encouraged to have friends and family back home log-on to follow the fun.
At check-in guests will be asked to deposit their devices in a mobile safe, only accessed in the case of an emergency. Each morning guests will wake to fresh coffee and muffins delivered to their door with a soft knock replacing the alarm clock. Evening campfires, smores, stories and music will supplant the need for Netflix movies. Televisions and radios will be removed from guest lodgings to stem any temptation. And guests will be encouraged to do “gratitude journaling” at the end of each day, to be shared with the group the next morning.
The company hopes that for couples wanting to deeply reconnect and families in need of bonding and shared experiences, this “detox experiment” might become a popular annual offering. After all, 77 percent of parents feel their teens get distracted by their cell phones and fail to pay attention to other people at family events. This leads to 30 percent of teens and parents arguing about mobile devices and cell phones on a daily basis. A little detox, peace and quiet may surely help.
For more information, questions and trip availability, please call 1.800.575.1540 or email [email protected]. For a full roster of Austin Adventures’ 2019 trips, cruises and distinctive accommodations on seven continents please visit http://www.austinadventures.com.
Austin Adventures is a Travel + Leisure Magazine World’s Best Award Winner and a Virtuoso Preferred Tour Operator.
About Austin Adventures
Based in Billings, Montana, Austin Adventures has spent over 40 years building an international reputation as a top provider of luxury, small group, multisport tours for adults and families to the world’s most captivating destinations. They have been acknowledged twice by Travel + Leisure Magazine with the prestigious World’s Best Awards along with other national media accolades and distinctions. Austin Adventures has perfected the art of creating itineraries featuring exceptional regional dining, distinctive accommodations, incredible guides and exhilarating activities, all while keeping all-inclusive rates and services the norm. In addition to scheduled group departures on all seven continents, Austin Adventures has developed a reputation as the leader in customized trip planning and execution, all backed by the industry’s best money-back satisfaction guarantee.
- The Detox You Need to Go On Now - https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-detox-you-need-to-go-on-now
- Signs and Symptoms of Cell Phone Addiction - https://www.psychguides.com/guides/signs-and-symptoms-of-cell-phone-addiction/
- The Latest on Teen Cell Phone Addiction - https://www.newportacademy.com/resources/mental-health/teen-cell-phone-addiction/
- Here's Why You Need to Put Your Phone Away, According to Science - https://www.inc.com/christina-desmarais/heres-why-you-need-to-put-your-phone-away-according-to-science.html