By: Amy Bean Napier
Urban Dictionary defines “off the grid” as (adj.) Unrecorded, untraceable through normal means. But with emails continually pushing to your cell phone and social media tracking your every move, it’s virtually impossible to go off the grid during a personal vacation now. Unless you are vacationing in an area without cell phone service. And yes, there are still areas like that, even in the United States. I know from recent personal experience!
For the last two weeks, I was vacationing with my “posse” (mom, sister-in-law and cousin) in the wild, wild west and came across this no cell service phenomena many times. We were hitting all the national parks between Salt Lake City, UT, Grand Rapids, SD, Tusayan, AZ and surrounding areas and cell service was sketchy in the best of places and non-existent in others.
My pre-vacation plan was to regularly check emails daily while on the road but with the absence of cell service, this plan didn’t play out. So I had to utilize the hotel internet services at night to catch up on work and respond to the hundreds of emails that had stacked up during the day. While this worked, I wished many times I had planned ahead for this. So here are some tips to make your future “off the grid” vacations easier:
Train Staff – Before you leave on vacation, train your staff on how to answer many of those same subject emails that you receive all the time. This way, when you do have that 4 minute window of cell service available, you can use it to forward those types of emails to the office since staff knows how to handle them. Believe me, no matter how fast you are at typing or texting, that 4 minutes goes by quickly!
Join the Club – Many hotel chains offer free internet access but only to their club members. The good news is that joining their club is free. It takes just a few minutes to become a member on the internet (if you have cell service) or it can easily be done for you by hotel staff as you are checking in. This free internet service allows you to spend all the time you need checking your email and catching up with work.
Out of Office Truth – We all set up our out of office messages before we leave for vacation. But sometimes, what you planned just doesn’t work out so be sure to update your out of office message to speak the truth of what is now occurring. My “will check email regularly” quickly became “will check email sporadically” when I realized I would probably be out of touch more than I had intended.
By implementing these 3 simple tips, your vacation can truly be off the grid without worry or concern. Not that any of us ever think about work while we are on vacation!