While some people don't have any problem forgetting about work the moment they switch on their out-of-office, many are so overworked and addicted to life behind a screen, that they continually check their email even while on holiday. Others have difficulty staying away from social media, mobile messaging and photo sharing apps. Experts say that what you really need to rest is a complete break, which will return you to the workplace rejuvenated.
Ironically, there's a host of online travel resources that promise to help you do just that. For a wide range of digital detox holidays around the world, visit digitaldetoxholidays.com. The site offers three grades of disconnection: the lowest, "detox packages", feature hotels that suggest ways to help you disconnect. The middle grade, "tech-free attitude", means there will be no Wi-Fi, no phone and no TV in your room. Finally, "highly disconnected" offers "exceptionally remote" places where there will be no mobile phone connection. Such locations include a luxury lodge on Lake Malawi, a jungle resort in India and a "comfortable" lodge in the Gobi Desert.
The United Kingdom-based Time to Log Off (www.itstimetologoff.com/digital-detox-retreats) offers real-world breaks in Britain, Italy and Hawaii. Its next retreat takes place at an 18th-century farmhouse in Puglia, Italy, from Oct 1 to 7, and activities include cycling, yoga, guided nature walks and "creative mindfulness" activities. Prices are from £870 (Dh4,156) per person.
Digital Detox retreats (www.digitaldetox.org) in the USA are based on the theory that "as we disconnect from our devices, we reconnect with ourselves, our community, nature and the world at large". The rules of the retreats, which take place in California, North Carolina, New York and Texas, include "no digital technology, no networking, no work-talk, no anxiety". Instead, time is devoted to "analog art, movement, writing, mindfulness, conscious and healthy eating, and reflection". For pricing, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
On a mountainside in the Swiss Alps, Montagne Alternative (www.montagne-alternative.com) has been designed with a holistic philosophy involving the renovation of ruined stone and timber buildings in a remote village, amid hiking paths and open spaces, with guests encouraged to connect with nature. "The peace and quiet and authentic and beautiful surroundings will unleash positive emotions and strengthen relationships," the company claims. Activities include walking, astronomy and healthy cooking classes. It offers a selection of upscale lodges with views over the Grand Saint-Bernard Valley. The Barbey Lodge, which sleeps 10, costs from CHF1,130 (Dh4,305) per night.
The UK-based in:spa retreats (www.inspa-retreats.com) runs luxurious group health, fitness and detox retreats in Marrakech, France and Andalucia. This year, it has introduced a unique "digital crèche" at its destinations, "where guests can simply leave their digital devices (phones, tablets and laptops) until the end of the retreat. Cutting out on screen time allows their mind and body to fully relax, enabling a sense of calm and inner-focus, whilst minds are re-energised."
In Morocco, prices start at Dh7,382 for a five-day programme including accommodation, gourmet meals, two massages, two guided hikes, twice-daily fitness classes, yoga classes and a personal training session.
The new Santani resort in Sri Lanka has no Wi-Fi or TV. Instead, guests swap screens for an immersive stay in nature, surrounded by 47 acres of rainforest, where the hotel "aims to restore the inner balance of guests and reconnect them with their inner self" through well-being activities such as meditation, yoga, cleansing spa treatments, gentle fitness sessions, cookery workshops and cultural trips to nearby natural swimming pools and the Temple of Tooth in Kandy. Evenings are spent in modern wooden villas that offer a calming inside-outside feel with sleek decor, timber floors and floor-to-ceiling glass walls. To book, visit The Healthy Holiday Company.