When I go on vacation, I like to switch off. It’s such a treat to not be glued to my phone or laptop, and I’d much rather take in the scenery or unwind with a book than scroll through my Twitter feed as I sit in a sun lounger.
Compared to Europe, Americans don’t get much vacation time. And yet, we’re often expected to keep tabs on work or at least check in here and there when we do book time off. Because most parts of the world have wifi access, the idea that we might be unavailable — or simply trying to enjoy our time without worrying about work — seems so foreign.
And it’s not just employers who aren’t respecting the need to truly switch off. A friend of mine recently returned from a vacation with her daughter’s family and when I asked how it went, she mentioned that she felt she was on her phone the entire time — with friends. Because she’d posted a photo from her trip on social media, she kept getting inundated with messages from friends and acquaintances who wanted to check in or get on-the-go updates about her trip.
Obviously these people meant well, but my friend felt like all she’d wanted to do during her time was turn her phone off and have some relaxing, uninterrupted family time. She’s on her phone and laptop all day at work — vacations should be a time for going unplugged. According to her, she’d rather enjoy her time off and catch up with friends afterwards.
It’s important to respect that. Unless an emergency comes up, why not leave someone to enjoy their vacation and just check in when you know they’re back? There will be more to talk about and people won’t feel obligated to carry on a conversation when they’re out and about, trying to live in the moment, or paying hefty roaming fees in a different time zone.
Of course, everyone is different. Some people are naturally chatty and may not mind the distraction, but let them initiate a conversation. Vacations never last long enough, so give them the freedom to soak up every second.