How to (partially) unplug on vacation


By Heather

Travel & Tech Writer


In a perfect world, we’d go on vacation without our phones, tablets, and computers. We’d close our eyes, let the sun warm us, and sip something delicious — far, far away from the pinging and beeping from our usual devices.

But not many people can *fully* unplug on vacation.

We’re very impressed by anyone who can pull it off, but most of us are, admittedly, too dependent on our devices. We don’t want to miss a text. The idea of not being able to check our email (even just occasionally) feels too weird. What if we get an emergency call from someone who doesn’t realize we’re on vacation?

(This is one of the biggest reasons many aloSIM customers choose to use our eSIM plans for roaming data when they travel, but leave their regular plan on so they can still receive calls and texts.)

In 2022, going on vacation without any technology might feel more stressful than taking it with us.

So on your next vacation, try a partial unplug.

Ready to embrace your inner Zen? With a few small tweaks on your phone, you can master the art of vacation relaxation without triggering the FOMO that comes with getting 50 messages behind in an active group chat.

1. Set realistic OOTO email expectations

You know the drill. «Thank you for your email. I’ll be out of the office from …» la dee da. But the key to a good OOTO (out of the office) auto-response is to actually let it work for you.

If you keep your work email notifications on and glance down at your phone whenever it pings, you’re not actually away from the office — you’re just working in a new office a.k.a. wherever you are on vacation.

If you can’t disconnect from email entirely while you’re away, at least shut off your work email notifications and commit to only checking your work email at set times throughout the day.

2. Disappear on Slack, Microsoft Teams, etc.

You’re probably in a bunch of group threads and won’t be able to resist chiming in if you see a message meant for you, so do yourself a favor and take a break. No, no one expects you to respond to corporate DMs while you’re on vacation. (If it’s urgent, they’ll text you.)

Set yourself as «Away,» update your status so people know you’re on vacation (that’s what the cute beachy emojis were made for, really), and pause notifications (either right in the app, or in your phone’s settings for the app).

We promise your favorite dancing gif will still be there when you get back. bananadance

3. Review ALL of your notification settings

Not just work stuff! Think of all the social apps, games, etc. that are constantly fighting for your attention.

Most of us couldn’t handle turning off notifications for every single app while we’re on vacation, but there definitely some you can skip for a while.

Open «Settings» on your phone and scroll through the apps listed under «Notifications» to see which notifications can be temporarily turned off.

If there’s an app you want to keep tabs on, but not urgently, you can always turn off sounds and/or change the banner style to «Temporary» so it will quietly come and go without disturbing you (but you’ll be able to check what you missed later).

4. Silence the chaotic group chats

While you’re on vacation, trying to relax, your bored friend might be spamming the group thread with pictures of potential haircuts for their next appointment. («I don’t know, is it crazy to do bangs again???»)

It’s okay to temporarily mute the chat (with or without telling people first) so you aren’t getting dozens of messages while you’re touring around.

5. Consider tinkering with Do Not Disturb mode

iPhone users can use their Focus settings to get really specific about when they don’t want to be disturbed, but allow for specific contacts to «break through» and contact them anyway (to make sure you don’t miss anything important from the people closest to you). You can also allow notifications from select apps only during certain times of the day.

If you really want to shush your phone from everything but calls and messages from the most important people, consider putting it on Do Not Disturb mode with the settings configured to allow notifications from key people like parents, children, siblings, and emergency contacts. That way your phone will remain mostly silent, with the exception of those important people.

With a little luck, this «partial unplug» will be the perfect combination of you-can-reach-me-if-it’s-important and leave-me-alone-I’m-on-vacation. 😉