accessibility mode: off

While there certainly is a time and place to be wired and accessible, it shouldn’t be while you are on vacation. Everyone needs and deserves a break from the stresses of everyday life to recharge their human batteries; you’ll hardly be “getting away from it all” if you constantly feel the buzz of your phone in your pocket. Whether it’s taking a break from the non-stop demands of the office or not having to constantly be living your best life on social media, a good tech-free trip can do wonders.

When my own kids were 8 and 11 we started taking them on an annual, mandatory unplugged vacation. I wanted to set a good example early on by taking a family digital detox before they ended up like the 72% of teens who feel the immediate need to respond to texts and other notifications.

Now is the time to try it for yourself: Resist the urge to pack your electronic gadgets on your next trip and make it a real off-the-grid getaway. And while your friends and family likely love seeing how great your vacation is in real time, you may be so busy snapping, sharing, and tweeting that you end up missing the best moments of your travels.

Without further ado, here are my favorite places to unplug that will leave you feeling completely rejuvenated before you have to come back to real life.

Sailboats on the Casco Bay, Maine. Photo credit @msjessiemeghan via Twenty20

Maine Windjammer Cruise

Last summer my husband and I embarked on a four-night Windjammer Cruise. We set sail on the Schooner Ladona from her home port in Rockland, Maine. With no formal itinerary in place, each day our captain charted a course, based on the winds and the tide, around the Penobscot Bay. There is no Wi-Fi, no TV and no cell service on board so it forced us to unplug. Instead, days on a vintage small ship are spent taking in the beautiful scenery as you sail along the rugged coast of Maine. You may have the opportunity to explore a small coast town or go swimming off the boat in the ocean. There is plenty of time to relax, read, or play a game of Scrabble on deck. In the evenings you can expect to dine on gourmet meals underneath the stars.

Eleuthera, Bahamas

Bahamas Outer Islands

Eleuthera is known for its pink sand beaches, turquoise ocean, and secluded snorkeling spots. It is a small outer island of the Bahamas, just a short flight from Nassau. If you are truly looking for a place to get away from it all, this is the perfect spot for a vacation. You won’t find any large resorts, only a handful of small boutique hotels. There is no shopping to speak of, not a lot of restaurants, and there certainly isn’t any nightlife scene. For these reasons, both of the times I vacationed on Eleuthera I have rented a house from HomeAway. While you can find free Wi-Fi at the one coffee shop in the main town of Governor’s Harbor, you’ll find you’d rather spend your days unwinding on the uninhabited beaches. More often than not, you might find you have an entire sandy stretch of shoreline all to yourself.


Most of Vermont

I have been living in Vermont for almost two decades and, while the entire state isn’t technically off the grid, there are plenty of places you won’t get cell service, much less be able to connect to the Internet. And why would you want to? Vermont is a four-season recreational state with year-round round opportunities to get outside and disconnect. In the warmer months, adventure enthusiasts can bike, hike, fish, sail, or kayak. During the winter, vacationers spend their days downhill skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, or cross country skiing on hundreds of miles of snowy terrain. The Green Mountain State also has plenty of off-the-grid places like Knight Island State Park or rental homes that will force you to be tech free on your next vacation.

Hiking from the summit of Mount Mansfield, Vermont. Photo credit @cafealternativo via Twenty20

Where are your favorite spots to disconnect? Let me know in the comments!

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