Is the Cell Phone Destroying Vacations?

Have you ever been in a gorgeous locale, taking in the scenery and happened to glance over and see someone more engrossed in their cell phone than the destination they’re supposed to be enjoying? I’d bet money that you have seen this everywhere, not just while on vacation. You can’t go anywhere noteworthy in this day and age without seeing people either buried in their cell phones or hoisting them up in the air at all angles in an attempt to get the perfect Instagram-worthy picture. What joy people used to get in relishing an experience has now been replaced by making sure to capture the “perfect” picture. Read on to see how cell phones have changed the modern vacation.

There are so many ways that cell phones are ruining vacations. If you feel like tourist attractions have denigrated to mere photo sets in the past decade, you’re not alone. Try getting a good shot of the pyramids when you have a sea of cameras in front of you. How special is that picture, really, when so many others are posting the same exact thing? Nothing is sacred anymore; it seems as though photos that span the entirety of the world are all over Instagram and Facebook. Being glued to cell phones also makes it impossible for people to actually be present for the moment they’re supposed to be enjoying!

I’ve been to dozens of countries in the past few years and the scene is virtually the same at every destination: a sea of selfie sticks in front of a million people clamoring for that perfect shot. Instead of just soaking up the moment, they’re more stressed about making sure their photo makes all of their Instagram followers jealous. And if missing the moment wasn’t bad enough, some people have been so preoccupied with their selfies that they’ve actually died trying to get them! Of course, those are extreme cases, but the point is that these handheld devices are seriously jeopardizing the travel experience. 

The main issue at hand here (and it’s no secret) is that people are addicted to their cell phones, and it is starting to bleed into and ruin the quintessential vacation. And the addiction is universal and has nothing to do with economic status; whether rich or poor, people just can’t resist the glow of their cell phone’s screen. We’ve sat next to “zombie” families in McDonald’s and Michelin-starred restaurants alike that paid no attention to each other whatsoever and just stared at their screens for the entirety of their meal. 

So, if this is as simple as people just being addicted to their cell phones, why can’t we fix it? Well, with all of the apps we have tied to our phones, we are finding it harder and harder to unplug. We have reminders on our phones, can access directions, communicate with others and resolve issues with just a quick swipe. This attachment may make it seem daunting to put it down for any length of time. But you can, and should, put limitations on your device usage. Set times during your vacation that you can check your phone, but reserve the other moments for experiencing a new destination and just being present in the moment. I promise that you won’t need a selfie to commemorate it. 

I think we can agree that cell phones are necessary, useful and quite nifty little devices. But there should be limits to them, as with most good things in life. Your cell-phone is invaluable on vacation. It can help you contact emergency services, find your way around new cities, resolve issues with customer service representatives, communicate with foreigners and of course, capture those special moments. But, there needs to be a balance. A simple solution while on vacation is to just use your phone when you need it and put it away when you don’t. If you find yourself sitting on the beach and watching funny cat videos instead of soaking up the sun, you may want to tuck your phone away for a bit and enjoy the surroundings you paid to enjoy!

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