When’s the last time you took a vacation without checking email? If you can’t remember, you’re not alone; nearly a third of workers put pressure on themselves to check in at the office while they’re on vacation, according the U.S. Travel Association’s Project: Time Off. The problem, of course, is that when you work on vacation, you’re not on vacation. The benefits of taking time away from work evaporate, if you’re just toiling away in another location.
Interestingly, the U.S. Travel Association’s research shows that not all of those vacation-workers are checking in because they’re required to do so by the boss. A quarter of respondents to their survey said that they “are unsure or agree that their company expects them to work while on vacation”—meaning that many people are working more than they need to, because of pressure they put on themselves.
Technology is partly to blame. If you couldn’t grab your phone or a seat at the hotel business center and check your email in a matter of minutes, you’d have to do without an update on how things are going at the office. It would be like the olden days, before WiFi and smartphones made it impossible to escape.
Sound like bliss? It’s still possible. In some places in the U.S., technology hasn’t quite caught up to the needs of a 21st-century, always-on employee. That means that it’s totally possible for an American worker to escape for a couple of days—no passport required.
- Sequoia and Kings Canyon, National Parks California
Nowadays, people tend to act like any place without a strong WiFi signal is a wilderness, but if you’re hoping to escape the internet altogether, sometimes only real wilderness will do. For example, this National Park’s FAQ page warns visitors, “Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are great places to unplug and enjoy nature, spend time with family and live a little slower. They are not great places to be online!”
Internet is available in the visitor’s center only, and it’s sloooow. The FAQ warns that visitors will not be able to stream video, download large files, or screenshare. Sounds like you’re off the hook for work as long as you’re there.
- The Adirondacks, New York State
Some hotels do offer internet access, but your cellphone and mobile devices are unlikely to offer much in the way of temptation. They’ll most likely be for decorative purposes only, once you’re in the mountains.
If you can’t be trusted to ignore a hotel internet connection, opt for more rustic lodgings. Visit Adirondacks offers a listing of places to stay, including many that offer more opportunities to enjoy nature than check in with the boss.
- Ultima Thule Lodge, Alaska
If you have a lot of cash (think $2,000 per night), an adventurous spirit, and really have trouble unplugging—as in, you can’t even be trusted around a telephone—this place might be the vacation destination for you. Travel + Leisure puts it best: “The Ultima Thule Lodge is about as remote as you can get and still be in the United States.” Guests can hike, fish, ski, or enjoy a sauna—but they almost certainly can’t get in touch with the team back home.
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