Digital devices have given travelers instant access to online guidebooks, restaurant reviews and the social media means to disseminate photos.
Now in a backlash against digital dependency, a number of tour operators, cruise lines and resorts are championing unplugged vacations.
The adventure travel company Intrepid Travel has just announced a new category of Digital Detox Trips in which participants pledge, in writing, to swear off all digital devices including cellphones and cameras. They will receive a notebook in which to record impressions, and the trip leader will send daily email updates to loved ones back home on request. The new eight- to 10-day trips visit Ecuador, India, Morocco and Thailand (from $630 a person).
Anyone seeking a DIY digital detox will find areas in emerging destinations like Cuba and Myanmar with weak if not nonexistent signals. Much of rural Alaska is unconnected, a feature that Un-Cruise Adventures celebrates in its off-grid Alaska sailings (seven nights from $2,295 a person) and Natural Habitat Adventures highlights in its eight-day Alaska’s Coastal Grizzlies: Kodiak to Katmai trip (from $8,995 a person).
In urban areas, travel providers are stepping in to help guests switch off. Separate the children from Snapchat, for instance, by checking into the Renaissance Pittsburgh hotel, which offers a family digital detox package in which family members exchange their devices for a room stocked with board games and cards.
The tour operator Tauck sends clients on its family-focused Tauck Bridges tours and cruises with pretrip instructions that encourage them to leave their devices in their rooms.
Tauck’s chief executive, Dan Mahar, said that the response has been positive since the program began about three years ago. “Parents and grandparents were happy to have someone else set the standard.”
Airline bans Samsung Note 7
COPENHAGEN, Denmark >> Scandinavian Airlines is banning passengers from using the new Samsung Note 7 smartphone on its flights because of concern about fires.
SAS spokesman Fredrik Henriksson says he expects “good understanding from our customers” to not use or charge one, or stow it in checked baggage.
Henriksson told the Associated Press that it was a “ban, not just a recommendation” like the one issued Sept. 9 by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, which said it can’t prohibit the devices until the Consumer Product Safety Commission issues a recall.
Singapore Airlines already has prohibited the use or charging of the Galaxy device during flights, while others have said they would tell passengers not to check the Galaxy phone and to leave it switched off during flights.
Samsung on Sept. 2 recalled 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 phones after several dozen caught fire and exploded.