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Switch off for a better break these school holidays

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

These days we rely on our smart phones to keep us connected to the world, but research from Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI) suggests the devices may be doing just the opposite.

According to the survey findings, 54 per cent of people regularly check their emails while travelling on holiday and only 17 per cent leave their phone switched off, unless there’s an emergency.

SCTI chief executive Chris White says while there are clearly benefits to taking your phone, checking and responding to emails means you never completely switch off and enjoy the holiday experience you’ve worked hard for - especially if it’s a chance for quality time with the kids.

"Our research found that more than 90 per cent of Kiwis travelling overseas take a phone with them. And fair enough - you can keep in touch with friends and family via social media, use online tourist guides, take photos and call us if you need help."

White says a smart phone can also act as a safety net - it’s a flashlight in case of a blackout, a radio for emergency broadcasts, a GPS tracker and more.

But he says there can be a downside to staying so connected, particularly if your interactions are work-related. "You’re more likely to have a restful break, better appreciate your surroundings and return to your job refreshed if you disengage from work for a while," White says. "And if you’re away with the kids, it’s valuable time to spend together and participate in activities without the usual day-to-day distractions."

He says there is a case both for and against taking smartphones on holiday and it’s up to the individual.

"If you want to get the most out of technology, then definitely use your device to its full capacity. But for those unforgettable moments, it might be worth turning the phone off and soaking in the world around you," he says.

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