January 17, 2013

New Vacation Destinations Help You to Relax Minus Technology


As someone who recently started taking the train to get to work, it is simply astounding to me that no matter the race, size, ethnicity, age or location of people riding along with me on the subway and the train that they all have something in common—they are using some sort of technological device, ranging from laptops and smartphones to iPods and tablets.

The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism recently released some interesting facts, which include:

  • 44 percent of U.S. adults now have a smartphone
  • 25 percent of U.S. adults own a tablet

As mobility is now an essential element of our busy lives, how can we break free from these products for at least a short period of time and get some much-needed rest? It seems that the Marriott and Renaissance hotels may have figured that out.

Now testing what these resorts are calling “Braincation Zones” at eight hotels throughout the Caribbean and Mexico, guests are able to finally take a breather and shut themselves off the world through visiting certain areas within these locations that are completely tech-free. While they won’t be able to browse the Web or check their mail through their favorite gadgets, they will be able to enjoy some nice peace and quiet that comes with assorted beverages of their choosing, games and tips in tow to decrease their stress levels once their vacation ultimately comes to an end.

Image via Healthy Times Blog

According to the hotel, these sections were created after closely analyzing a survey in which nearly half of the 1,000 respondents involved revealed that having a connection to their work life didn’t allow them to fully enjoy themselves even when in tropical paradise. In addition, 50 percent claim to check their e-mails and voicemails more than once a day while away, something that I feel should be illegal.

"We saw people on the beach with their laptops," said Michelle Bozoki, director of Marketing and E-Commerce for Marriott Resorts in the Caribbean and Latin America, in a statement. "We encourage guests to sit in the areas, play games, read. It's great to see kids with their parents and no one is attached to their phone."

So, what have the results been thus far from the pilot program? It seems that travelers are much better able to enjoy their time wherever they are and soon these tech-free designated rooms could catch on in hotels everywhere.

Bozoki added, "We think this is less about a trend and more about a real need for people to unwind," she said.

What about the people that wish they escape from technology but just can’t seem to take the steps needed to break free? There are locations ideal for that compulsive tech user as well. In fact, at the Four Seasons Costa Rica, the program coined “Disconnect to Reconnect” physically removes guests’ iPhones for 24 hours. Of course, the smarphones are kept protected in a safe during this time period. When the relaxed patrons do get their phones back, they receive the added bonus of a new case from Uncommon as well as information on fun things to do without needing technology. The Lake Placid Lodge in yes, you guessed it, Lake Placid, N.Y. allows willing guests to “check” their electronic devices and as their reward they can then attend a one-hour cooking class or enjoy some outdoor activities including hiking, boating, yoga or even fishing.

My advice to someone who feels like they need technology like they must have air to live, is to try out some new things to get a better taste of what really appeals to you. Maybe you will find that your forte is in pottery or even poetry. My point is there a wide world of possibilities out there and if your head is constantly pointed down looking at something technology-related you could miss some pretty amazing things that life has to offer.




Edited by Rachel Ramsey




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