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Tech Detox: Retreats Such As Digital Detox Offers People a Break From Their Electronic Devices

Travelers Today       By    Karen Fredrickson

Updated: Jul 19, 2013 10:53 AM EDT

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Many people find that even on their vacations, they can't stop checking their e-mail, their Facebook and their Twitter feeds, so travel companies have started "digital detox" trips, according to NBC News.

On these trips, guests are asked to voluntarily turn off their phones, store their laptops and tablets and embrace being technology free.

"The fact that we can now carry a computer in our pocket that is more powerful than what was used to fly astronauts to the moon is amazing," Marsha Egan, a life coach and the author of "Inbox Detox and the Habit of E-Mail Excellence," told NBC. "The ability to be connected anywhere, anytime, 24/7, is both a blessing and a curse."

Eighty percent of smart phone users never leave home without their device and 66 percent of them use them to access the Internet at least once a day, according to a May 2012 report from Google. Sixty-seven percent of cellphone owners check their phone for messages, alerts or calls, even when they don't notice any ringing, beeping or vibrating, according to Pew Internet.

Social media exacerbates the problem, according to Levi Felix, the founder of The Digital Detox, a company that offers no-gadgets-allowed events and retreats in the San Francisco area.

"You post a picture or status update and then you get a beep or a buzz saying you got a 'like' or a retweet, so you get back on your phone," Felix said. "It's a constant feedback loop and you get sucked in."

Participants in his events hand over their devices and enjoy hikes, yoga sessions and other activities.

"We want to give people the opportunity to turn off their devices for a little while and re-evaluate what life is like when you're not looking at a screen," Felix continued.

Not all of these trips require participants to surrender their electronic devices, but many still suggest people leave them at home. Being able to disconnect from their jobs is one of the appeals of these retreats.

For people who can't completely disconnect, Egan suggests setting aside specific time to disconnect for an hour or so.

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