3 reasons to travel with kids unplugged

Should we travel with kids unplugged, like 20 years ago?

Am I crazy? This may sound strange nowadays (and because you’re reading that online!), but I strongly encourage my kids and teens to leave screens at home and stay unplugged when traveling.

What are the benefits? What is the loss? What might happen choosing this option?


For the kids:

For sure, they are moments of boredom while traveling. This is when unplugged kids find resources to relieve it.

Possible survival reactions:

  • looking outside and let their thoughts flow freely
  • falling asleep
  • asking for pencil and paper, drawing, coloring books
  • start reading a book (this can be addictive too, hopefully my kids seems not to suffer from it)
  • suggesting to play cards
  • looking at other families, at what’s happening around, join other kids
  • starting to talk with you / their brother / sister / themselves

For the parents:

No more competing for their attention! Did you ever succeed in having a conversation with somebody playing to Candy Crush or twitting? “Mmmmm”, “yep”, “just a minute”, is mostly the best I can get from my kids. Seems to be me –when I’m working.

You might think you’ll loose a little bit of serenity. But just consider the major crisis you’re avoiding:

  • no frustration from limited screen-time (but great offer of full unlimited no-screen time!)
  • no fight for plugs in the guesthouse’s room
  • no stress looking at the battery running low
  • no tablet’s glass broken
  • no smartphone forgotten at the hotel
  • no despair for lack of wifi
  • no tears because of the party’s invite issued on FB, that nobody is going to miss except your teen daughter

For the travel experience:

My point is that traveling is also about having time away from habits, improving your capacity to adapt. And I would like my kids not to be afraid of boredom, neither feel miserable if they can’t share on social networks.

Sometimes, being unplugged is not even a choice: we’ve often travelled with kids to places with no internet connection, even no cell phone connection. And guess what? Everything went right!

Let’s take the chance to spend time together. I mean, really together, in real life! It’s worth it. Because traveling with our kids is a special moment in our often crazy busy life.

What is your point about it? Have you ever tried an unplugged travel with kids?

  1. Amy

    I totally get it! Although we do a mixture. When we go camping, we love the complete lack of wifi. But when we go somewhere crazy like Italy, we find the kids love the downtime after long days of exploring, while Mom and Dad have a glass of wine! But I agree, it’s important not to let the technology take over, so that they don’t miss the actual experience!

  2. Love the perspective. It is so true, some of the best moments we have with our kids travelling is when the electronics are not in their faces or no WiFi available. It creates the opportunity for creativity and actually being in the moment!

  3. I find the kids are naturally more unplugged when we are away as there is usually so much to do. I don’t think I could ever fly long-haul unplugged though!! 🙂

    • virginie

      Hi Katja, for sure kids need distraction on long-haul fly… Cartoons and movies provided on planes are great resources!

  4. I’m with Amy on this one ! Travelling tends to be very exciting for little ones so naturally you get a lot of running around airports, cities, parks, beach etc. So very grateful for the magic of he ipad for some grown up time over a glass of wine or a cocktail 🙂

  5. virginie

    Zen Baby Travel I’m absolutely with you and Amy for a glass or wine or a cocktail 🙂

  6. I find, as a family, we are almost naturally more unplugged when we travel: we are all more in the moment, more tuned in with each other and what is around us. Every time we come back home we say we should keep being like this in our daily lives but then somehow the screens all creep back in very quickly!!

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