It used to be that friends, family, and neighbors would go on vacation and we would have to wait for their return home to hear about the trip. As for photos? Those might be produced days or weeks later after a trip to the photo shop. Today, that’s certainly not the case. We can live vicariously through our friends’ and families’ travels – or they can live through us – simply by tuning into social media as updates and images are published freely.
There’s one problem. Sometimes we forget a little detail when we travel – we’re on a family vacation. Unless you are a travel writer and/or blogger on a working trip where you are expected to be live reporting on social media there’s no need to post your family’s every vacation moment. You may even find that you’re missing precious moments with your loved ones, not because you’re uploading a photo to Instagram (that just takes a moment) but because you’re more likely to get sucked into what is going on back home, an interesting article, of other families’ Facebook updates.
Technology is tough on families as it is and, hopefully, getting away from the computer and TV is part of the joy of your family’s travels. However, tech isn’t a bad thing for family travel. We use it for navigation, airline boarding passes, travel apps, and keeping pertinent information regarding our itineraries. It even has a place with our kids. For example, my daughter writes travel journals on her iTouch when we’re on the road while my son keeps photo and video documents. Yes, it’s true your teens may be texting friends back home or your pre-teen prefers to be tuned-out listening to their personal music. Kids are kids after all. But at the same time, we parents should be setting the example for family vacations. Limiting or balancing our own social media time can make quite the difference during our family time and help create lasting memories.
Here are some tips for keeping your social media habits in check while you travel:
1. The right times. When posting on social media stick with early in the morning or late at night when the family is asleep or when the family is preoccupied. Is your husband splashing with the kids in the ocean or standing in line for a ride while you sit out? Are you in transition such as on the road or inflight? Then go for it.
2. Wait until you get home (gasp!). I know this one is tough. However, it’s not a bad idea if your house is unattended. But giving up social media for the entire trip will give you a much needed rest, as in a real vacation.
3. Stick with no-tech times. Banish personal electronics for the entire family during meals, tours, activities, or whenever is appropriate for your clan. Hey, did you know some hotels offer Digital Detox packages where guests can actually surrender their electronics for their stay? How daring are you?
4. Talk to your spouse before you depart about travel tech rules. Having the two of you working as a team is much easier for everyone and it’s best to have that conversation long before you’re at your destination.
5. Go old school. This one is fun…especially if you stay off of social media the entire trip. Send friends and family postcards via snail mail. The look on their face when they check the mail will be priceless.
Let’s all get into the moment and put the “family” back into family travel.