As a parent, you're probably already wary of allowing your kids to live in front of their phone and computer screens all day, and a new study only underscores even more the need to limit screen time for children. Traveling is an amazing way to get kids off the tablets and engaged with their surroundings. But, it's not as easy as just booking a plane ticket and taking the kids away from their home laptops. With cell phones and iPads becoming a staple in every carry on, kids are often logging plenty of screen time even while on a family trip.
According to the recent study by Think About Your Eyes, nearly half of parents surveyed said their children would spend four or more hours using while screens while traveling to and from their vacation destination and one third of parents said their kids will spend more than six hours with screens during the vacation itself. Not only has the constant use of social media and tech been linked to everything from mental health problems in teens to sleep problems, Dr. Justin Bazan, O.D. and spokesperson for Think About Your Eyes also warns that "sustained digital device use may put kids at a higher risk for childhood myopia, or nearsightedness."
With so many reasons to get the kids (and yourself!) to ditch the tech for a few days, check out one of these spots for the ultimate digital detox family vacation so you can truly unplug and focus on getting that much needed family bonding time.
Courtesy of Inkaterra
Set in the Peruvian Amazon far from WiFi and any cell reception, Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica is an eco-luxury lodge in front of the Madre de Dios River in the lush Tambopata region in Peru made up of 35 cabins deep in the heart of the Amazon Jungle. The hotel is ideal for families looking to disconnect and spend quality time with one another. The property offers a selection of unique à-la-carte excursions that will have kids forgetting about their phones in no time from kayaking the Madre de Dios River and spotting anacondas to a tour along the Inkaterra Canopy Walkway, a bridge system suspended 98 feet above the ground.
Courtesy of Niquesa
Aptly named, this immersive trip for teens not only pries them away from social media, but also teaches them a new skill. They'll go on a wildlife film-making adventure exploring the Maasai Mara while learning how to create stories. Throughout the trip, kids will produce and edit a wildlife documentary with the help of a prestigious filmmaker. Along the way, they'll also visit the Mara Elephant Project and track the animals during a helicopter flight over the reserve, take a hot air balloon flight over the Maasai Mara, and enjoy campfire chats with leading conservationists.
Courtesy of Soneva Fushi
The Soneva motto is "No News No Shoes," encouraging guests of all ages to fully unplug and take a digital detox to enjoy their surroundings. They don't offer WiFi in most of their public spaces, and have switches in each villa that turn off all WiFi to ensure a sound night's sleep. But the family will have plenty to keep them busy. The resort offers a wide selection of digital-free activities, such as counting Saturn’s rings at its Observatory, snorkeling with local sea life, enjoying sunset dolphin cruises and watching movies at the outdoor cinema, and tasting all 60 flavors of home-made ice cream and chocolates. The Children's Den includes two swimming pools, a DJ corner (where children can become the resident DJ for the Den’s pool parties), a Mocktail Bar, dress-up area, a kitchen for cooking classes and more.
Courtesy of Emerald Lake Lodge
Discover Canada's Rockies at this idyllic property along the unspoiled shores of a sparkling lake. No matter the season, there's no shortage of activities for families to enjoy away from the screens from skiing and dog sledding to white-water rafting and mountain biking. It's easy to keep the kids tech free since only the main lodge has WiFi here and service is very limited. You'll also be immersed in history as you cozy up near the centuries-old fireplaces and sip on a drink at an oak bar salvaged from an 1890s Yukon saloon.
Chris Gamel Photography
Truly get off the grid and discover another world when you choose your own adventure with a tour through Antarctica. While the itineraries are totally customizable, options include exploring the glorious fauna of the Antarctic circle such as sea birds, penguins and whales, or cruising the South Shetland Islands. Families can hike on the continent, viewing ginormous icebergs from afar and get even closer by kayaking alongside seals and penguins.
Courtesy of Aqua Expeditions
Disconnect completely with a phone-free family vacation along the Peruvian Amazon in 5-star luxury aboard Aqua Expeditions' Aria Amazon. With no internet or cell reception, all 16 spacious Design Suites on the Aria Amazon feature beautiful dècor and a wall of floor-to-ceiling glass facing the Amazon River. Families aboard the Aria Amazon will delight in seeing sloths, elusive pink dolphins, monkeys, anacondas and more. You can even fish for piranhas and go out at night in search of caimans. This one-of-a-kind digital detox family vacation will have the whole family reminiscing about their Amazon adventures for years to come.
Courtesy of Sorrel River Ranch
You'll feel like you've got nature all to yourself at this ranch resort set on 240 acres right on the Colorado River. If its dramatic red rock mesa backdrops aren't enough, it's also the perfect gateway to exploring some of Utah's best National Parks. While the resort does offer WiFi, cell service in the area is limited and there's plenty of unplugged adventures to be had by the whole family. Traverse the enchanting landscapes by horseback, go off-roading in UTVs or Jeeps, or get out on the water with a river rafting trip. The two-story family suites are the perfect spot for tired heads to rest after an epic day exploring Moab.