How to find the balance between disconnecting and story’ing your entire trip

It can be tough to find the balance of how often to post, share and story during your vacation. Being present and able to truly appreciate your vacation requires putting the phone down and looking up. Below are some ways that I try to manage that balance, as I believe that being able to disconnect from social media while traveling is important. And no, I’m not going to suggest that you leave your phone at home, don’t worry, my tips are totally do-able. I do what I call selective disconnecting.

I love taking pictures – I always have – it’s in my nature for me to document my entire trip with photographs. Long before social media came around, I was snapping up a storm on every vacation. I inherited this trait from my father who would travel with two cameras, one for prints and one for slides, as well as a video recorder. Yes, we used to need a separate apparatus for all of these! Bless his soul, my entire life is on film, lol! Much like everyone else these days, I use my iPhone as my camera, which is both a blessing and a curse. It takes great photos, but it means that I’m constantly connected.

Women at Horseshoe Bend, Arizona
One of the selfies I was caught taking at Horseshoe Bend, Arizona. Who can blame me though? Portrait mode is the best, and this scenery can’t be beat!

There is a lot of value in disconnecting to recharge while you’re on vacation, but few of us manage to do this successfully. Our phones are our means of communication, our GPS, our translators and so much more. I can pay for a coffee with mine anywhere in the world (that has a Starbucks) and am able to reload it while waiting in line for my Flat White, no currency exchange fees or hassle. As convenient as this is, my phone is always with me, which means so is my email, FB, Insta, LinkedIn, SnapChat etc. etc.

When was the last time you looked at your phone and had zero notifications? Personally, I can’t recall this ever happening. I swear every time I get rid of them all, a new one pops up! It’s definitely a lot easier if you disable seeing your notifications on the home screen, which I recommend if you get a lot of them. Even if you only turn them off during your vacation, you’ll be amazed at how much more relaxed you feel.

Since I use my phone as my main camera, I have come up with my version of a compromise that works for me – selective disconnecting. I take my pictures and then put my phone away until later. I rarely post on Social Media immediately while traveling and I ignore notifications. In fact, I don’t even open my phone at all, I access my camera from the home screen. I prefer not to post in-the-moment because I want to BE in that moment, not showcasing it to others. While I definitely post Instagram stories during vacations, I typically post them while I’m waiting for lunch in a restaurant, or once I’m back in my hotel room. This means I record, save and then post the majority of my videos later. I select an appropriate time to connect to social media, and it’s only a few times a day at most.

Lake Powell, Arizona
I captured this image of Lake Powell in Arizona out the window of the truck while my friend was driving. Had I been on my phone, I would have missed this picturesque view. It’s pretty rare to see water in the middle of the desert.

If you are glued to your phone, you’re going to miss a lot of what’s going on around you. FB and Instagram will be there later, but the scenery you’re driving past outside the window won’t be. Be present and enjoy your trip while it’s happening.

For me, the key to maintaining the balance between documenting a trip and being present in the moment is to take my pictures without unlocking my phone and looking at it. Turn those home screen notifications off while you’re away. Remember, when you’re on vacation it’s okay to take a break – in fact, it’s better!

Share with me in the comments below how you tackle Social Media while traveling. Are you a story-every-minute-as-it-happens kinda person, or an out-of-office-TTYL kinda person?

Follow my adventures, and check out my Arizona road trip on Instagram. Of course, I created a story highlight 😉


Feature photo credit: Lisa Zral captured Fabiola and me in full-on selfie mode at Horseshoe Bend in Arizona.