Top Travel Destinations for Unplugging and Reconnecting

Val Watson
Authored by Val Watson
Posted Thursday, April 18, 2024 - 10:11pm

We all live in a hyper-connected, always switched-on world, so the allure of unplugging from the digital noise around us and reconnecting with nature is unsurprising. It’s reported that UK adults spend on average over 8 hours a day looking at a screen and checking their smartphones every 12 minutes. With this in mind, escaping from the relentless pings of your smartphone and reducing screentime can offer peace and a chance to rejuvenate both your mind and body.

What better way to walk away from the screens in our lives than by booking a holiday that focuses on doing exactly that – escaping and rejuvenating. 

To help you do so, below you’ll find some of the top destination ideas that are ideal for those looking to break free from technology and immerse themselves in the tranquillity of natural surroundings. From whispering woods and serene islands to majestic mountains, each destination provides a unique opportunity to embrace wellness and mindfulness.

Prepare to explore places where the only connection you’ll need is the one with the world around you and perhaps, more importantly, with yourself.

The Importance of Taking Time To Disconnect

Disconnecting from our digital devices, even temporarily, can have amazing benefits for both our mental and physical health. Our attention is constantly being ruled by notifications and engaging with our smartphones which can lead to anxiety and depression, so stepping away allows the brain to reset, reducing stress and enhancing focus.

Spending time in environments free from screens not only refreshes the mind but also encourages a more mindful, present state of being. Embracing unplugged solitude and tranquillity should be an essential part of your routine, helping you enjoy the simplicity of the natural world. Yes, you will have to engage with your devices to help plan your getaway first, everything from researching the ideal destination to booking accommodation, flights, and arranging the right travel insurance coverage, but once done, you can look forward to putting the phone down and disconnecting for a while. 

Destination #1 – A Forest Retreat

Like the sound of being nestled among towering trees with the gentle sounds of nature? A forest retreat is an ideal location for those looking to disconnect and rejuvenate. Think of plenty of lush greenery and secluded paths that provide the perfect backdrop for light and peaceful activities. Places like Blackwood Forest in Hampshire are home to 60 luxury lodges deep within the trees providing the ideal escape within the UK, or even an eco-lodge in Sweden’s “most primitive hotel” that is surrounded by forest in Skinnskatteberg for an off-grid adventure.

You could begin your day with a peaceful morning yoga session followed by a nature walk where the only interruptions are the wildlife around you. If you’re feeling more adventurous, there are digital detox camps that can amplify the experience of disconnection, focusing entirely on nature-centric activities without the temptation of technology as it is locked away during your stay. You could also enjoy evenings around a campfire for storytelling and reflection. A forest retreat not only enriches the mind but also offers a real connection to nature, perfect for mental clarity and relaxation.

Destination #2: An Island Getaway

An island getaway is many people’s idea of a relaxing destination where the tranquil waves and soft sands provide a peaceful setting. Picture an island surrounded by crystal-clear waters, where the hustle of modern life is replaced by the soothing sounds of the ocean and the gentle rustle of palm leaves. The world is blessed with many unique locations for this, whether the Maldives in the Indian Ocean is your idea of heaven with its 1,100 islands, or one of the many beautiful Greek Islands from Santorini to Mykonos is your preferred setting for relaxation and ancient ruins.

Locations like the Maldives mean you can indulge in snorkelling to explore coral reefs teeming with marine life, providing a natural meditation that is calm and beautiful. Some locations will even have wellness resorts that offer spa treatments to help with unwinding further, such as in St Lucia or Mauritius.

As the sun sets, you can engage in sunset meditation sessions on the beach, enhancing your mindfulness and helping you to reduce stress and connect with nature. An island retreat not only disconnects you from digital distractions but also reconnects you with nature's calming environment.

Destination #3 – Mountain Solitude

How about taking yourself high above the noise of urban life and enjoying some mountain solitude? You can enjoy a breathtaking escape where the air is crisp, and the views are awe-inspiring, finding peace in the rugged beauty and the expansive vistas that stretch as far as the eye can see. If you enjoy hiking and trekking with a bit of relaxation too, this is the pick for you.

Whether you’re heading to the Scottish Highlands or the Alps, you can find cabin stays that offer a cosy, intimate base where you can explore the surrounding wilderness. The physical exertion of mountain trekking is rewarded with unparalleled tranquillity and moments of solitude, allowing for deep reflection and connection with nature. Locations like Anako Lodge in Valais, Switzerland or Bjornfjell Mountain Lodge in Alta, Norway provide the perfect views and a real feeling of getting away from it all.

At night, the clear skies can help you enjoy a spectacular display of stars, perfect for stargazing sessions by the fire. A mountainous retreat can be just what you need to help your worries melt away.

Destination #4 – A Desert Oasis

For mesmerising beauty that can feel almost otherworldly, a desert oasis provides a unique landscape for disconnecting from the digital world and reconnecting with your inner self. The vast, open expanses promote a sense of solitude that can be unmatched in more lush environments. Al Maha in Dubai is one such location if you’re looking for luxury that is 8kms into the desert providing 42 private suites in Bedouin-style tents, or Kulala Desert Lodge in Namibia, where you can explore Sossusvlei salt and clay pan which is within the largest conservation area in Africa.

The days can be spent exploring the rolling sand dunes, participating in sand meditation sessions, or enjoying slow treks across the serene desert. Wellness retreats nestled within the desert focus on holistic healing practices, integrating the tranquil surroundings into therapies that rejuvenate the mind and body, such as the Bedouin Roots Experience in Marrakech, Morocco which provides daily yoga and meditation classes.

The cooler evenings bring relief and a quiet, reflective atmosphere that will help you feel fully immersed. The silence and simplicity of a desert environment could be your perfect destination.

Practical Tips for Unplugging

To truly benefit from an unplugging holiday, you’ll want to set clear boundaries for device use. Consider designating specific check-in times rather than being constantly online and let your friends and family know of your digital detox so they are aware you may not be contactable at all times. Be sure to pack books, puzzles or journals to help engage your mind in non-digital ways too, especially in the evening when you may be used to reaching for your phone. When you do, Mind has an app library so you can find approved mental health apps to help reduce stress and improve your well-being.

If you’re considering these diverse destinations for your next adventure, it’s just as much about the effort you put into truly reducing screen time as it is the location. Whether it's a forest, island, mountain, or desert, each offers a unique path to mindfulness and a break from the digital world if you’re willing to embrace it. 

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