A smartphone-free vacation. Is it even possible to go abroad without your favorite gadget? These days it seems an unrealistic endeavor. Holidaymakers without a smartphone must take into account various pitfalls.
Of course, anyone can go on holiday without a smartphone, stresses mass psychologist Hans van de Sande of the University of Groningen (RUG).
"It is the same as going abroad without underpants," he compares. "It is fine, but you do not like it so much. Unconsciously it makes you very restless: people are generally no longer used to living without a smartphone. Not even on vacation."
It is strange how quickly people get used to certain habits, says Van de Sande. "We are all ruled by the fear of missing out, " says the emeritus professor. "Certainly abroad, smartphone use has only taken off enormously in recent years. Ten years ago it was still so expensive to call, app and use the internet that nobody did it outside of the country. It's funny to see how fast a technological development is so quickly listed in the list of essential necessities. "
"Road maps caused many relationship crises." Ad Vonk, ANWB Emergency Center
ANWB: You encounter practical problems
Ad Vonk of the ANWB Alarmcentrale frowns on the question of whether a trip without a smartphone is recommended. "You mainly come across a number of practical objections," he muses. "For example, many people want to be accessible to family members in the Netherlands. The chance is small, but if, for example, there is an unexpected death, you want to know immediately. It is very annoying if the funeral has already been when you return from vacation. "
Vonk thinks that there are easier ways than abruptly stopping to reduce smartphone use during a stay in foreign places. "I think it's just as effective to turn off your mobile on vacation and then check your messages briefly every two or three days. Or get all the apps you use for work off your phone for a few weeks "
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'Never make people at home trackers'
In the 1980s - long before the introduction of the smartphone - the ANWB launched the campaign 'Make people not at home a tracker', to point out to travelers that they should inform their families of their whereabouts abroad.
"Hundreds of thousands of Dutch people listened to the Radio Netherlands Emergency Center almost daily at the campsite," Vonk sketches. "In the event of an emergency, people were then asked to contact the home front: 'Mrs. Jansen, driving in a blue Open Kadett near Bordeaux', followed by the international weather report from Jan Pelleboer. But that service no longer exists, so smartphone-less travelers can no longer fall back on that. "
Other practical objections, such as the lack of a route planner or Google Maps abroad, can be overcome, thinks the ANWB man. "Is a tomtom still allowed to go? That is handy in itself, I think. And otherwise you have to rely on the old-fashioned road maps, which have caused many relationship crises in the past. of the country of destination, just in case . "
Places without internet and wifi
Travel consultant Marie-Louise Veerling from the Pearl Travel agency has never had requests from clients who were resolutely looking for a smart vacation. "But of course there are people who consciously try to find peace during their holiday weeks," she says.
"There are still plenty of so-called white spots , places in the world without internet or WiFi. I went to places in the desert in Chile where my smartphone did nothing and a few years ago there were also countless places in Cuba without any reach " Sometimes it also surprises her that in some places there is internet or wifi; in the middle of the Serengeti desert in Tanzania for example.
"Guests are forced to put their phones in a basket in the dining room." Marie-Louise Veerling, travel consultant
Veerling welcomes the fact that people on holiday leave their daily mobile routine. "It helps you to break free from the daily routine. Have a good time together, exchange travel and life experiences. Or try exploring a restaurant or town without first looking at TripAdvisor or receiving something like four or five stars - for example, see for yourself which eatery has many local guests. Discovering a destination is definitely part of the total holiday experience for me. "
Highly educated people in particular seek rest on vacation
Highly educated holiday makers in particular are deliberately trying to find smartphone-free locations, notes the travel expert. "In the US, for example, there are already hotels that respond to this. Guests are forced to put their phones in a basket in the dining room. That way you can do nothing else than just have conversations at the table."
In Indonesia, for example, there are resorts where guests must put their smartphone in a locker when they lie down at the swimming pool.
In practical terms, it is perfectly possible to travel without a smartphone, the travel consultant agrees. "You just have to make sure you download the right tickets in advance and print them out. But with a Lonely Planet or a Guide me Right you can also travel from hotel to hotel. The chance that you will make contact with the locals and make nice discoveries is considerably larger than if you continue to communicate with the home front on Facebook and WhatsApp. "