The pros and cons of staying connected on vacation

While planning a trip to Montreux Switzerland, I contemplated whether to take my cell phone, laptop, tablet and other devices that tether me to the world around me.  I am sure that my Montreux accommodation will have wireless internet service and that I will have no shortage of pictures to share based on the breathtaking scenery promised by the Montreux tourism office.  However, while I am enjoying my Montreux ski vacation, do I really want to stay connected to the outside world?  Over the moans and groans of my husband, I made a list of pros and cons to weight my options.

Pros of staying connected

  • Fewer surprises and less work when you return – By staying connected, I will avoid surprises waiting for me in my email box when I return.  I may be able to quickly diffuse a situation rather than have it completely blow up upon my return. I will also be able to quickly weed through emails if I check them every day rather than wade through 100 or more emails upon my return.  If I spend just 30 minutes each day responding to email, it will reduce the stress of coming home.
  • Staying in touch with family at home means they will worry less.  My parents worry when we travel; however, if they see regular posts to my Twitter account or Facebook account, they know we are safe and enjoying our trip.  It is also less time consuming to make a quick post than to engage in a 30-minute telephone conversation each day with our respective parents.
  • Combat boredom during downtime.  There will be periods when we will experience downtime while traveling.  Having our electronic devices is a great way to pass the time even if we will be tempted to stay connected even during other times.
  • Access is easier.  There was a time when traveling meant leaving everything behind because access to the internet was scarce or expensive.  Today, that is not the case.  Most Montreux hotels offer free internet access.  Staying connected is actually easy.

Cons of staying connected

  • Because you can stay connected, employers expect you to be available 24/7 even when you are on vacation. Leaving everything behind means that no one, including your employer, can bother you on vacation.
  • Learning about something that I can do nothing about may ruin my vacation.  Knowing that a tree fell on top of my car will only ruin my vacation.  There is nothing I can do about it until I get home except worry.
  • I will be tempted to work while on vacation if I have my laptop and cell phone.  Unless my husband turns them off, I will be tempted to respond to each and every email instead of just those that are urgent or require an immediate response.
  • Access to the internet may not always be reliable and can be frustrating. It can also be an added expense if the hotel does not offer free wireless internet access.
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