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The rise of unplugged holidays

Lauren Gourley

Digital detox map reveals the UK’s best road trips to escape tech overload. Almost half of Brits (43 percent) are so frazzled by the over connected world they live in they plan to unplug on their next holidays, according to new research, Contributor Lauren Gourley, Head of Brands – Holiday Autos.

The younger generation are now so dependent on being connected that nearly half (45 percent) of 18-24 year olds ranked availability of Wi-Fi as very important when booking a holiday. The survey of 2,057 UK adults found that 42 percent of the wider population are concerned about the amount of time they and their family spend using screens in everyday life.  43 percent plan to unplug on their next holiday. has created a digital detox road trip map to help us find the best areas in the UK to unplug this summer. The map shows that there are great places across the country that are perfect for escaping our increasingly digital lives and enjoy summer staycations.

The Lake District, Devon, Scotland, Wales, the Peak District and the countryside of Cornwall are all great areas for digital detox, according to the research. A leading psychologist who specialises in the impact of technology said that digital detoxing enables us to reconnect with friends and family face to face rather than on screens.

Dr. Larry Rosen has been Professor of Psychology at California State University for 45 years. “It’s great to go on holiday somewhere with no signal because you can tell people you literally can’t communicate, which takes the pressure off. The point of a holiday is to reconnect with the people in front of you. Switching off enables us to do that”.

“The smartphone is everything to us – our phone, camera, music, GPS, and because of this we tend to allow it to interrupt us. Most of us check our phone every 15 minutes for about five minutes a day – this translates to 4-5 hours per day spent looking at our smartphones. Teenagers and young adults in particular unlock their phones over 70 times a day, up from 50 times a day just last year”.

“If we can’t access our phones, we start getting anxious pretty quickly. It has affected the biochemistry of our brains. Lots of us now spend a substantial amount of time looking at the world through a small viewfinder, which blocks our ability to appreciate what we’re actually seeing. Using our smartphone sparingly on holiday – perhaps only twice a day – can help re-teach us how to appreciate what we’re doing rather than what’s on our phone.”

Lauren Gourley, Head of Brands for Holiday Autos said, “The research shows that as a country we need some digital detox time and there’s no need to go abroad to unplug. Staycations are increasingly popular and the map shows that there are great places in the UK that you can get to by car that are perfect for escaping our increasingly digital lives.  We’ve seen the number of cars hired in the UK by residents has increased by 17 percent this year, with most staycation bookings lasting a week”.

“We’ve created a map of the UK’s best road trips to go on a Digital Detox this summer, all easily reached by car, where people will find it easiest to slip the grip of their smartphones.”

Dr Rosen has come up with the following tips to help you plan your unplugged UK road trip this summer:

  • Build up to it – it can be hard to go cold turkey for a week. Start small by not looking at your phone for fifteen minutes, then gradually build up to leaving your phone at home for a morning, then a full day
  • Go old school – buy an alarm clock, watch and camera so that you’re not constantly reaching for your phone
  • Turn off notifications so you’re not distracted and tempted to look at the screen and move social media, email or messaging apps away from your home screen
  • Consider setting a fixed time each day to check your messages to take away the feeling of tech-related anxiety, this way you’re controlling when you look at your screen, rather than it controlling you
  • Organise your staycation somewhere with low connectivity or limited 4G
  • Tell friends, family and colleagues in advance and on your Out of Office message that you’ll be out of signal and can’t respond

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