How to Vacation Like It’s 1999
Let’s take a road trip back in time to, say, 1999.
It’s the start of your summer beach vacation. Upon arrival, you unpack, slather your sexy self in sunscreen and head to the beach. You bring a paperback book and a fancy new yellow Sony CD player. You have a drink, read a little and relax.
When your friends show up, you snap a few group photos with a disposable film camera (there’s no such thing as a selfie yet) and hope they turned out O.K. It’s heaven.
Fast forward to our vacations today.
You set off on a much-needed summer break. The second you land, you check your cellphone and are greeted by a flood of messages. After an hour sitting in your hotel room replying to work emails, you finally go to the beach.
You pull out your iPad to read a book and, oh, look: You have a message on Facebook, not to mention WhatsApp, Snapchat and Twitter.
And because the beach is so beautiful, it’s probably a good idea to take an Instagram. After a hundred attempts to capture the best and most original photo of a beach ever taken, you spend another hour seeing how many “likes” your photo got.
More messages come in. You end up getting stressed about all the work emails you have to respond to back at the hotel.
One obvious remedy is to leave your smartphone and tablet at home. But that ignores the fact that our devices have replaced some vacation essentials, including physical books, magazines, music player, cameras, maps and in-flight entertainment.
Believe it or not, there are ways to unplug that don’t require downgrading to a CD player.
The simplest solution is to put your phone into airplane mode the moment your vacation begins. This way, you can still listen to music, take photos and read, but you can’t connect to the Internet and get sucked into the black hole of wasting time.
If you have legitimate travel-related reasons to access the Web — for, say, driving directions or restaurant recommendations — go to your phone’s settings to enable (or disable) the cellular data capabilities for certain apps. Turn on maps and apps like Yelp and Foursquare; turn off email and social media apps like Facebook and Twitter.
For those inclined to cheat, I would tell them to delete the most tempting apps from their phone, whether it’s Instagram or Snapchat. And rather than bringing an iPad on vacation, try a print book or Kindle.
I know what you’re thinking here. What if someone from work or home really needs to get hold of me?
Danny Cohen, director of television at BBC, told me that once a year his entire family sets off on a two-week vacation and they all leave their smartphones at home. When I asked what happens if there is a work-related emergency, he said a limited number of people have the hotel name and room number where he is staying, and can call if need be.
And guess what? No one calls. It turns out, most work emergencies aren’t really work emergencies. Picking up the phone to disturb a colleague’s vacation is a lot harder than firing off an email.
Still, for some, resisting that urge to check the phone or open the laptop while on vacation can be too difficult. For this group, I recommend paying to unplug.
There are places that not only advertise zero Internet access, but also have a strict no-gadgets policy. Camp Grounded, in Anderson Valley, Calif., for example, bills itself as a summer camp for grown-ups. While archery, potato printing and stilt-walking all sound like fun, the best part of this campground is that you have to hand over every piece of technology you have before you enter. This includes watches, phones and computers. A weekend without your gadgets costs $595.
有些地方不仅以完全不能上网为卖点，而且有严格的无电子产品规定。比如，加利福尼亚州安德森谷(Anderson Valley)的禁足夏令营(Camp Grounded)称自己是给成人开的夏令营。虽然射箭、土豆作画和踩高跷听起来都很有趣，但是这个营地最棒的一点是，进入之前，你必须上交所有的科技产品，包括手表、手机和电脑。想在这里度过一个没有电子产品的周末，你得花595美元。
The Renaissance Pittsburgh hotel has offered a Family Digital-Detox Package in the past, for entire families that want to unplug. According to its website, “Prior to your arrival, the television, phone and iHome dock station will be removed from your guest room and replaced with board games and playing cards.” (It sounds like a scene out of “The Shining.”)
过去，匹兹堡复兴酒店(Renaissance Pittsburgh)为整个家庭提供戒除数字产品上瘾的套餐(Family Digital-Detox Package)。酒店网站称，“在你到达之前，你房间里的电视机、电话和iHome将被移除，代之以棋类游戏和扑克”（这听起来像是电影《闪灵》[The Shining]中的一个场景）。
If you book a day at the Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire outside London, you will be asked to trade your digital devices for a “delicious detox smoothie.” And the Villa Stéphanie spa resort in Germany has even installed a copper grid in the walls to block out wireless signals.
如果你在伦敦郊区的罕布什尔四季酒店(Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire)下榻，你将被要求用数字设备交换“美味的戒瘾水果奶昔(smoothie)”。德国斯特凡尼别墅(Villa Stéphanie)温泉度假村甚至在墙上安装铜网，以屏蔽无线信号。
A slew of campgrounds and beaches around the world are deliberately not providing (or are limiting) Wi-Fi or cellular coverage, including those on Tristan da Cunha Island, a far-flung group of volcanic islands in the south Atlantic Ocean. The Sahara and the Grand Canyon are so vast that you can get no bars on your phone for miles (though you may need a device to find these places on Google).
世界各地的很多露营地和海滩故意不提供（或限制）无线或蜂窝信号，比如南大西洋偏远的火山岛特里斯坦-达库尼亚群岛(Tristan da Cunha Island)。撒哈拉沙漠和科罗拉多大峡谷非常广阔，你可能走上好长一段路手机都没信号（不过你可能需要一个电子设备通过谷歌地图找到这些地方）。
Another option, which could induce its own share of anxiety, is to charge your devices before leaving home, but don’t bring any chargers. This way, you know you have a limited amount of battery life, and won’t squander that time looking at Vine videos.
But I don’t think people should wait until vacation to unplug.
In recent months, I’ve started deleting some social media apps from my phone on weekends. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are removed entirely on Friday afternoons. On Monday morning, I reinstall everything for the workweek ahead.
If you still can’t stop yourself from logging on and checking in after all this, I have only one piece of advice left. Dunk your devices in water and replace them with an old yellow Sony Discman.