How refreshing were the holidays for you? Does getting away from it all also include your phone? That’s increasingly hard to do.

A recent AP story reported that some hotels are now trying to help out by either banning phones from certain spots (like the pool), or by offering guests rewards (discounts, free snacks) if they give up their phone for a certain number of hours.

One Mexican resort asks guests to trade in their phones temporarily for free access to activities. Guests have to try at least four to get their phone back.

The AP story said the hotels see such practices as part of their mission to promote wellness and relaxation.

Lisa Checchio, chief marketing officer at Wyndham Hotel, told AP that “Everyone wants to be able to disconnect. They just need a little courage.”

A little bribery is more like it. What does that say about us?

I wish I had a great solution. The only thing that works with me, for sure, is creating distance. I can’t check my phone if I leave it in another room (tried that for an entire day during the break). But otherwise my digital detox doesn’t last long.

Neither does it for most people. A survey from OnePoll, conducted for global technology solutions company Asurion, found that:

  • People check their phones an average of 80 times a day while on vacation. That’s once every 12 minutes.
  • Nearly 10% of people say they check their phone on vacation more than 300 times each day.
  • On average, the longest we can tolerate being away from our phones while on break is four hours.

Why? Nearly 20% of respondents said they rely on their phones to provide key information when they’re in an unfamiliar location. Fair enough. But that’s not the main reason for staying attached. Mostly, the survey found, phone use during a break is about sharing fun times and checking social media.

So what’s more important, documenting the experience or having it?

The Daily Hive reports on a recent poll by travel company Contiki. They asked Canadian millennials what they’d sacrifice for an all-expenses-paid trip around the world. In the survey, 71% said they’d stop buying new clothes and electronics, 55% would give up coffee, and 38% would quit their job. Only 25% would give up their phone and internet.

What’s worth the time? Your phone demands a lot attention and a lot of juice. Better to spend time off recharging your batteries than constantly recharging its batteries.

Stuart Foxman is a Toronto-based freelance writer, who helps clients’ products, services, ideas and organizations to come alive. Follow me on Twitter @StuartFoxman, connect with me here on LinkedIn, or check me out at I would love to hear from you. More articles like this coming, with original posts every week about communications, writing, branding, creativity, media, marketing, persuasion, messages, etc., etc.

Jan. 9, 2019

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