This is part of our series "The Changing Face of Travel"...exploring specific topics and trends affecting travel in 2021 and beyond. To read more articles click here
UNPLUG TO RECONNECT: UNDERSTANDING THE TRUE MEANING OF CONNECTION
Even before the coronavirus changed the workplace, the average American spends 17 hours a day looking at screens from smartphones to computers to televisions. With the pandemic shifting whole industries to working from home with countless hours of Zoom meetings, it is estimated that people are spending an additional two hours glued to the screen. With no sports, recreation facilities closed, and stay at home orders, even children are spending more time than ever looking at screens, too. YouTube, Tik Tok, and all the other social media platforms are designed to keep kids engaged for as long as possible while you work or do chores.
All this screen time means less time for us to actually “connect” with one another, especially parents to their children. How can parents compete with online content when teens and even younger kids are spending over seven hours a day in front of a screen (and that doesn’t include school or homework)? If you want to be involved in shaping your child’s view of the world, you must first connect and then make a plan to stay connected and engaged while trying to remain aware of what media kids are exposed to daily. Better, it’s time to expose them to experiences away from screens!
Go Somewhere New
Science suggests There is no better way to do this than to remove your kids (and yourself) from your everyday surroundings and explore somewhere new. There’s a new challenge that is becoming popular across the country, the 1,000 Hours Outside Challenge. Swap 1,000 hours of screen time a year for 1,000 hours outside playing and exploring. As stated on their website, “Childhood is finite at just shy of 9.5 million minutes. We only get one shot at it. One of the biggest decisions we make in how we will use our time”.Spontaneous, last-minute trips to the beach or the mountains is a great way to stimulate your brain and help awaken your sense of adventure...again. Getting out of your comfort zone is important, especially for kids!
Whether you choose to head to the mountains for some skiing or the beach on a hot summer day to work on your tan, there’s a ton to do in New England that doesn’t involve any screens. Well, maybe we’ll allow a photo or two for the family holiday card. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Go ziplining in the White Mountains or rent bicycles and enjoy a leisurely ride along the Cape Cod Rail Trail stopping at every ice cream stand along the way.
Unplug to Decompress
Most of us agree that unplugging, decompressing, and remaining as stress-free as possible makes us a better and healthier friend, spouse, parent, and an all-around better person. It’s just like eating right and exercising, we all know that it’s good for us and that we should do it, but it takes commitment to actually stay on track. Start 2021 right by making a goal to put away the phone, tablet, and computer for at least one hour a day and then build up to more hours. Fill your time by reading a book, playing with your kids, or planning your next vacation the old fashion way with a roadmap!
Don’t Forget to Reconnect with Yourself!
While we’ve talked a lot about connecting with loved ones, you want to make sure that there is time spent connecting with the person you spend more time with than anyone else – yourself. Yoga, healthy eating, exercise, and meditation are all great ways to reconnect with and become the best version of yourself. Better yet, book a solo weekend away and enjoy all your favorite things on your own timeline.
Research has shown that travel is good for your health. A survey conducted by Expedia revealed that 81 percent of American travelers say they take regular vacations for “mental wellness.” Travel can also help rewire your brain. For many years, scientists thought the brain could only change in childhood, but recent studies of the human brain show otherwise. Getting outside of your comfort zone and embracing the unfamiliar can change your brain and keep your memory strong. We’ll dive into the benefits of health and wellness vacations in our next article, so stay tuned for even more health benefits of vacations!
Even if you’re not quite ready to go somewhere, planning a vacation can actually make you happier. Planning a vacation for a few months’ time will give you something to look forward to and studies have shown that it can boost your overall happiness. You could plan your vacation online, but since you’re trying to give yourself a break from the screen, head to the library and pick up some books about your favorite destinations or host a socially distanced outdoor picnic with friends who have been where you’re going and ask them for advice. Or call the resort or tourism board and ask them to mail you brochures. The kids will love to look at them and pick some activities!
And planning vacation time is oftentimes a task that people simply avoid or don’t prioritize due to our hectic schedules. But, as Erin Speakman, Customer Service General Manager at InnSeason Resorts, describes it. “The happiest members we have are not necessarily those who spend the most money or own the most product! The members who make a conscious effort to take advantage of all of their benefits – those who make getting away a high priority in their lives - are those that I see getting the most enjoyment out of their vacation time. They are at the resorts several times a year, really getting to know the properties like second homes, learning the surrounding areas and becoming comfortable, even creating a relationship with the staff….those are the folks that truly love their ownership with us.”
Unplug and Book a Vacation This Year
We all need a break from screens and our lives at home. While you might not be ready to hop on a plane and head to an exotic location far, far away, regional travel by car is a great escape. Ask your family to pledge to put down their phones for a whole weekend and enjoy the time together to explore new places, activities, and each other.
ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTING AUTHOR: ALLAN GUILBEAULT
ABOUT INNSEASON RESORTS AND OUR COMMITMENT TO CUSTOMER SERVICE:
As the northeast’s largest Vacation Ownership developer, InnSeason Resorts has always held our customer’s needs at the forefront of everything we do. We are a family-owned, award-winning, New England company providing a variety of Vacation Ownership products that focuses on the Northeast Experience and what that means for each owner. InnSeason Resorts provides access to the region’s most sought-after destinations or thousands of resorts around the world. One of the most used benefits of ownership encourages owners to use their network of InnSeason Resorts to stay in a vacation state of mind year-round. This Gold Card membership program allows 365 day a year access to some of New England’s most demanded locations and is simply one of the benefits that has established Innseason Resorts as the gold standard in Vacation Ownership with the New Englander specifically in mind.