Plugged or Unplugged

Posted on: 20 July, 10

When you go on vacation do you get away from it all or take it all with you?  When we travel, we practically need a whole suitcase just for the various chargers for our electronic devices.  When a friend of mine travels, she won’t even answer a text. 

My friend says vacation is about getting away from it all, getting away from stress and “real life.”  She and her husband want no connection to home or the outside world when they are on vacation.  If there is a crisis at home, they can be reached, but it takes some effort. 

When we go on vacation, we take laptops, cell phones, handheld video games, ebooks, Crackberry, etc.  We now have a portable wi-fi that lets us access the internet with 5 different devices at one time.  On car trips, we can access the internet while driving in the car. 

Hubski needs to stay connected for work.  Yes, technically he is entitled to uninterrupted vacation time.  However, the reality is if he doesn’t stay connected while he is away, he will pay for it when he gets back.  All those emails will not magically disappear because he is not in the office.  On vacation, he only responds to really critical emails and calls.  Taking a bit of time each day to look at email means less work when he gets back to the office.  It would be more stressful for him to think about the work piling up while he is gone. 

For the boys and I, playing around on the internet is a way to relax.  We don’t sit in the hotel plugged into gadgets the entire vacation.  After a day of sightseeing or playing on the beach, a little downtime is needed.  Checking Facebook or chatting online with a friend about the day’s activities is relaxing. 

We also use the computers to find out about activities in the area.  Google Maps is a great way to find restaurants close to the hotel or get directions to local sights.  In addition to reading reviews online, we also check with the hotel concierge.  Our online research has lead us to many fabulous adventures.

When I am out and about on vacation, I will often see something that reminds me of someone back home.  I will snap a photo with my Crackberry and send it in an email or text.  It lets my friends know I am thinking about them.  It is a little like having them come along on the trip.  I love when friends do this for me.  It takes just a few seconds to brighten someone else’s day. 

My boys spend lots of time reading.  They will each bring a backpack full of books.  They spend lots of time engaged in conversation with us.  If they want to spend a little downtime in the hotel playing a video game, I don’t have a problem with it.  Vacation is about relaxing and having fun.  They work hard during the school year and deserve to indulge a little.

It works for us.  I might feel differently if I had sulky teenagers who never  looked up from their gadgets or a husband who always put work first.  We have all learned to balance things.  What doesn’t work is the lack of electrical outlets in hotel rooms.  We have started traveling with a power strip so we can charge multiple devices at one time. 

I think we took a 5,682 photos on this vacation.  Once I get them all uploaded and delete the bad ones, I will share the 6 or so good ones.  We love gadgets, but are terrible photographers.  Our strategy is to take lots and hope for a few keepers. 

What is your families philosophy on unplugged vs plugged vacations?


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