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Check then disconnect

Date posted: 31.07.2019

Studies have suggested UK adults spend up to half of their day looking at screens, the average internet user browsing social media for more than two hours per day. There are few jobs left that do not involve the use of computers in some way, leading to an increase in recent years in the popularity of a ‘digital detox’, where people spend an extended period of time without phones, TVs or computers. In fact, travel companies have built package holidays around the premise.

The appeal of disconnecting from an ‘always-on’ culture, in which work emails and social media notifications continue despite being halfway around the world, is motivation enough to leave your phone behind when you jet off. Yet, in a world where phones are used to manage money, navigate new places, check the weather, take pictures and more, it becomes difficult to disconnect, even partially, without getting lost.

The Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing scheme (ATOL) protects package holidays sold by UK travel companies so that if an ATOL holder ceases to trade, you would be able to continue your holiday and would not experience any financial loss. However, it is during circumstances like these that you may need your phone to ensure you are aware of any important announcements. So, how can you enjoy the freedom of a tech-free holiday without sacrificing your availability for the important things?

Check for ATOL protection before booking – our database search allows you to verify an ATOL before you book with a travel company. Check the company’s name on our database.


Restrict your screen time while abroad – if you want to disconnect but still want to be kept in the loop, give yourself an hour per day online. That way, you can be aware of any important notifications and still reduce your tech usage. Take advantage of a WiFi hotspot, get yourself up to speed on everything back home and then switch off, relax in the knowledge that you aren’t missing out on anything.

Tell your colleagues, friends, family and travel company of your plans to go tech-free – if someone needs to contact you or your travel company needs to let you know about any changes, they need to know the best way to get in touch. If you plan on cutting down your tech use, consider the ways in which you are contactable without being ‘always on’.

Leave all unnecessary technology behind – as the primary method of contact, your phone is one piece of technology you should take with you. If you truly want to disconnect, restrict your data usage, limit your screen time and leave the laptop at home.

Check your details 48 hours before departure – if you only use your phone once, it is always sensible to reconfirm your flight and transfer details for your journey back. If any of these details were to change, you don’t want to be caught out.

Andy Cohen, Head of ATOL at the UK Civil Aviation Authority:
“Being available for important information, such as flight delays or cancellations is essential while abroad but limiting your time ‘online’ and enjoying your trip is a real breath of fresh air. We have launched our Check then Disconnect campaign to make sure that travellers enjoying a break from technology and the pressures of modern life are doing so safely and securely.”

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