Finding balance for an (almost) unplugged family vacation

This activity was inspired by tech, yet tech was forgotten at the moment because they were so present. My husband shared what they saw on the walk and how peaceful it was. While I am sad that I have no physical proof of them walking together, I’m overjoyed at the bonding time and connection they both experienced. We all ended up going on these walks, and for the first time in my life, I logged 20,000 steps a day consistently.

My daughter’s project was to use her device to create a video when she returned home. She’s my artistic and creative child. She woke up early to record the sun over the views of the mountains and take in the vast and stunning landscape. This was done from the balcony of our hotel room. When we returned home, she and I worked on editing and creating the video together. She also painted the scenic photos from her device to canvas prints and made beautiful pieces of art that are located throughout our house. I often look at her paintings and remember how fun and unique that trip was, and it enhanced her creativity and the overall experience.

Ready to unplug and hit the road?

You can still have an unplugged vacation from screens even if you decide that tech can be a part of your family experience (and if you’re looking for more reliable coverage on the road, check out Verizon’s new unlimited plan). Talk with your kids about the guidelines listed above, then think about creative ways to let your kids use the tech they love while still being in the moment. Below are a few ideas to help you get started.

Photos—One of the kids may want to be the trip photographer. They can use their phone to take photos and make a plan to print them out or save them into a digital family photo album.

Vlogging—Use the phone’s video camera to make a family video of the trip together and publish to a family vlog. Consider using video editing apps to edit videos.

Digital and 3D art—On the return home, can they make a cartoon of the trip’s adventures using digital or 3D art? This improves memory retention.

Music production—Write a song on that long road trip and learn how to record it using a tablet’s music production apps. 

Fitness challenge—Set a step goal on family vacations. Or try and guess how many steps it will take on that walk to get some ice cream. The person with the closest guess wins.

Whether you hit the road, or just try to have some screen-free time for a family weekend together, be safe. And be in the moment.

Quick tips for an almost tech-free unplugged vacation:

  1. Establish guidelines and expectations about using technology on the trip.

  2. Prioritize connection to the people and the places you’re going to see (see the list above for examples).

  3. Make sure kids understand that if they don’t follow the guidelines, they can’t use the technology.

  4. Give the kids a fun tech assignment to help you and your child spend more time in the moment.

Smart Family can help you and your family stick to your screen-free rules on vacation.

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