Tech-Free Zones Urge Guests to Keep the Phones at Home

by  Maryrose Mullen | Nov 27, 2012
iPhone / Farknot_Architect/iStock

People travel for myriad reasons: to see new places, to conduct business, to escape wacky family members. More often than not, people venture out into the world for a respite from their everyday lives. A break from the daily grind is always welcome, and most vacationers are happy to escape to a realm of peace and tranquility.

Of course, in today’s tech landscape, where many of us have our smartphones fused to the palms of our hands, that can be nigh impossible. Even in the most remote corners of the Earth, you can still hear the faint buzzes, bells, and whistles of your or your neighbors' electronic devices. We’re all guilty of giving in to technology in times when we should log off – checking our work email on vacation, or wondering which Instagram filter will get your sweet landscape photo the most likes. For those of us who need the internet pried from our cold, dead fingers, some hotels are taking a more forceful route.

Marriott and Renaissance resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico have designated areas of their hotels as “tech-free zones.” Though Wi-Fi will still be available, guests are encouraged to leave their tech in their rooms to keep the scene serene, rather than remind other guests of the responsibilities at home.  The hotel made the change after a guest survey found 85 percent of guests had been irritated by someone talking loudly on the phone. (Another 31 percent said they wished they could send their phone to a watery grave.)

Many trains already employ quiet cars for riders to read, nap, or simply enjoy the view. The same logic should apply to pools and beaches. Poolside etiquette dictates you should ditch cell phone chatter entirely, or at the very least step away to take a call. Installing tech-free zones cuts out the middleman, and allows guests the escape from responsibilities – social and otherwise – they craved when they booked their getaways.

Participating Mariott and Renaissance resorts will implement the zones this December, and will continue them through the winter.

What do you think of tech-free zones at hotels? Do you need your smartphone with you at all times or do you long to disconnect? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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