This blog post was updated on October 23, 2019.

In today’s digital world, technology is so ingrained in every aspect of our lives. Even when we choose to escape from the daily grind, technology follows us … even in our travels.

So in an age where we often just tap, swipe, and click our way through our vacations, how can we totally go for a digital detox when on the road? Is it something that’s even impossible?

We think so.

If we go back a few generations, it’s not hard to hear the technology-free travel stories of Gen Xers and pre-millennials. And guess what? They pulled it off successfully … and so can you!

For those who feel up for a little challenge to follow in the “analog” footsteps of travelers before you, we’re here to encourage you to go gadget-free on your next adventure. Just follow these simple steps and you won’t miss technology at all when you’re on the road.

Print out your travel documents

Happy girl handing over passport in airport

While printing out more paper may not sound like the most eco-friendly tip, it can save you from constantly having your phone glued to your hand as you navigate through the airport. All you have to do is make sure you carry a printout of your ticket and boarding pass (where applicable) and you’re good to go. In addition to these documents, it’s also a good idea to always carry a printout of your passport or any other documents you might feel are important.Just make sure to store all your printouts in an easy-to-access folder in your carry-on, so you won’t be holding up lines at check in or customs..

Invest in a travel guide book

While your patience for reading may have succumbed over the past decade to more short-duration digital thrills, there’s nothing quite like thumbing your way through a good old fashioned travel guide book on your destination. You’ll find some great ones out there on the market, and all you have to do is find the one that you think covers most of the important details and personal interests (even the quirky ones!). Just remember to take down some notes so you can refer to them once you’re at your destination, and you can even get creative and put together a neat little “planning scrapbook” for the place you’re visiting, which is sure to be a great souvenir you can fondly come back after many years.

Use a map to get around

Young happy tourists sightseeing in city

You can find easy-to-read maps in airports, information booths, and visitor centers in almost all cities around the world. Pick up whatever maps you may find will help you get around, and you’ll find that most of the must-see destinations will be clearly marked so you can find them easily. All that you have to do is to map out what route can help you tackle the highest number of attractions that are of interest to you.

Learn the local lingo with a phrasebook

We know the temptation is to reach for that translation software on your smartphone, but you really don’t have to. By planning ahead, you can read up on useful phrases in the native tongue of the place you’re visiting with the help of an old school phrasebook or language guide. Knowing just the basics in the local language can go a long way in winning over your hosts, so make sure you know a few handy phrases. You can even use the Internet to research way before your trip so that you can work on correct pronunciation when being out and about in a new city.

Carry a few books and games for entertainment

Leisure travel young woman passenger read book airplane cabin flight

However are you going to survive the three tedious hours on that bare-bones, pay-for-every-little-thing budget  flight you just booked WITHOUT any digital entertainment? You can say goodbye to your favorite Netflix shows on your phone, and say hello to your lil’ friend — a book! Make sure to pack a few different types of books (short stories, novels, comics — whatever piques your interest) so that you’re never bored. Got a bit more room in your carry-on? Well, if you’re traveling in a group then it’s a good idea to even throw in a pack of cards or even a small board game (which are making a huge comeback). If gaming on your phone is your addiction, then fight those fidgety fingers by working on some crossword puzzles instead!

Set up your “Out of Office” and do it right

There’s nothing more frightening than coming back from a tech-free vacation, fully refreshed and revitalized, only to open your work inbox and find it stacked up with emails from people demanding things from you. Yikes! This could have been avoided if you remembered to set up your “Out of Office” notification. When you’re on holiday, you’re on holiday. Period. By setting up your “Out of Office” beforehand you’re informing people that you should not be disturbed for work-related matters at any cost. Take extra care to make sure you’re drafting that message correctly as well. Redirect inquiries to a colleague who can help, be specific that you will not have any access to email or your personal phone, and mention on what exact date you will be back in the office.

Phone home frequently

Portrait of charming blonde female traveler holding pink handset of public telephone making international call

If you’re wondering about how you’re going to stay safe without your digital footprint on social media or being able to text message or video call during your trip, the simple solution is to make frequent phone calls to friends and family back home. Even without your smartphone, you’ll find payphone booths in most big cities or even “call centers” that will let you make international calls. If where you’re traveling is not very urban and services are sparse, you’ll still be able to purchase prepaid phone cards to dial international on any landline. So, pack up your worries (and your smartphone) and enjoy your trip!

In today’s world, traveling without your smartphone or laptop may sound crazy, but it is very much possible. So go ahead — take it as a challenge and you’ll find that the art of traveling without gadgets can color your travel memories with shades you never knew existed!

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About The Author

Socialite, philanthropist, costumed crime fighter by wait...that's bad ... Musician, writer, travel junkie, dog lover, and database of useless information. I love to learn about new cultures, experience new cuisines, meet new people, and have a few laughs along the way!