Travel is almost always a means of getting away—from work, from a chaotic schedule, and from all responsibility. But ever-expanding modes of communication are making it harder to ignore all these things, especially while on your highly valuable vacation days.
The solution? Unplug.
If a trip that disconnects you from the world sounds like exactly what you need, you're not alone. Research shows that just having a phone present distracts people from reality, and Intrepid Travel recently found the average traveler admits to spending about two hours of every trip searching for Wi-Fi.
It's time to break the habit. Here's how to truly go off the grid and experience adventure and isolated bliss that will make you forget all about emails and Instagram likes.
Go Cold-Turkey with a Group
You can find strength in numbers when it comes to unplugging if you go with Intrepid Travel, which now takes entire tour groups off the grid for adventures without any technology allowed.
That's right, there are no phones, cameras, or Wi-Fi devices on Intrepid's Digital Detox Tours. Leave your chargers behind and head to Ecuador, Thailand, Morocco, or India on a feasible budget. These trips start at just $630 (before airfare), and will challenge you to truly experience these destinations with all of your senses.
Navigate the Amazon River by boat, taste street food in Bangkok, peruse medinas in Marrakech, or soak up the sun on south Indian beaches without the distraction of your worldly devices. They'll be there when you get back, but experiencing the marvels of these trips only happens for a limited amount of time.
You don't have to be a big spender to get off the beaten path, but it does make a difference. If you want to splurge, go big with a National Geographic expedition, sailing to isolated Antarctica or following endangered gorillas in Rwanda. If a $12,000 price tag doesn't float your boat—it seems Nat Geo anticipated that—they recently teamed up with G Adventures for a more affordable line of journeys. Head to the remote Peruvian Andes ($2959), zipline and make chocolate in central Guatemala ($1299), or join a National Geographic animal expert on a South African safari ($1999).
For even more off-map experiences, Intrepid Travel's new round up of expedition trips can introduce you to surprising new places. Track reindeer and snow leopards in Russia ($2985) and India ($6675), respectively, attend unseen tribal festivals in Myanmar ($4510), or walk sand dunes in Morocco with Berber nomads ($1125).
RELATED: How to Safari Like You're on Assignment for National Geographic
Even if your budget is on the lower end, you can still experience a cell-phone free vacation.. In honor of the National Parks Service centennial some of America's most calming forests are dropping their usual price tag. Free entry days celebrating the NPS's 100th birthday mean reduced or waived camping and entry fees, so you really have no excuse not to head into the wilderness for some down time.
You can hike or set up camp for free at one of the 127 national parks that typically charge entry fees on the six remaining free days this year. Beloved American gems like Yosemite and Yellowstone can now be seen free of charge and are the perfect place to unwind.
More from SmarterTravel:
- Secret Places You Need to Go Before Everyone Else
- America's Secret Beaches
- How to Travel for a Year Without Losing Your Job
Read the original story: Off-Grid Ways to Truly Unplug on Vacation by Shannon McMahon, who is a regular contributor to SmarterTravel.