When Jitka and I went off to Ibiza last month I made a point of disconnecting completely from the web whilst there. My smart phone was thus used purely for taking photos and checking the time. When it came to updating those back home of our travels we went the old fashioned route and sent postcards documenting our trip. As I suspect is typical, we got home before the postcards did.
New research suggests that people are increasingly making their holidays digital ones, forgoing the analogue methods of keeping in touch with those at home.
“Not that long ago, travelers would need to find a payphone or send postcards to brag about their vacations. Now they just log on and send photos and text,” says Christine Vogt, professor of community agriculture, recreation, and resource studies at Michigan State University.
“Our results show clearly how the changing nature of IT behavior in everyday life is spilling over into our vacations.”
The study revealed that people use wireless Interent more on holiday than they do at home (40% vs 25%), with the number using smart phones having tripled.
“Travelers are using their laptops and phones more often, and not just to plan vacations,” Vogt says. “Since Wi-Fi is available at most destinations, tourists are checking local weather forecasts, transportation schedules, restaurant recommendations, fishing reports, safe bicycling routes, and much more.”
There has been plenty of research into the importance of giving your brain a break, with the practice of checking work emails whilst on holiday growing with the increasing access to the web whilst away. Whilst there is no doubt demand for this kind of connectivity whilst away, I wonder if more will eventually take the approach Jitka and I took of being completely disconnected. It seems the researchers believe travel companies will begin to cater for both types.
“We hope to conduct more research across the various stages of vacations,” Vogt says. “This will help vacation service providers better understand what information travelers are looking for during trip planning and how it differs from the details they’re searching for after arrival.”
I wrote when I returned from Ibiza about the vast number of emails and RSS feeds awaiting me so maybe a happy medium is needed, or perhaps we just need to prioritise more.
Do you like to login whilst on holiday or do you want to take a complete mental break whilst away?