Laptop on holiday

Men, ditch the laptop and travel work-free

Written by Mark Coughlan

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Guys, do you ever feel like you work too hard? I know, me too.

Well, recent research could make listening to your gut a very good idea indeed. A new study shows that work stress can be more deadly in men than in women, depending on existing medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes or having previously suffered a stroke.

What’s more, with the rise of 4G and super-fast broadband, working anywhere is entirely possible, meaning you can keep an eye on work even when you’re away from the office.

We always intend to travel work-free. It just never quite happens.

In fact, research suggests that 30% of ‘millennial’ men (looking at you 30-35 year-olds) – double the number of women – take their work laptop or phone on holiday. That’s while 42%, across both genders, don’t even take their annual leave.

Guys, we’ve got to stop, and we’ve got to stop it now. It’s time to leave the laptop behind, take a break and really unwind.

Want to know why? Here are four, science-backed reasons to travel work-free and take a better-quality break.

A well-planned trip can make you more productive

Getting out of the office is one thing, but if your trip isn’t well planned, the odds are you’re wasting your time. One study found that a poorly planned and stressful holiday can actually eliminate the positive benefit of taking a break.

On the flip side, the study showed that ‘positive vacations have a significant effect upon energy and stress’. In the study, 94% had as ‘much or more energy’ after coming back from a cracking holiday. In fact, on trips that had almost no stress at all, 55% went back to work with even more energy than before.

Read more: Want a stress-free life? Stop working so hard and just be

Wouldn’t it be great if all the planning was done for you and all you had to do was turn up and enjoy? In a bizarre coincidence, we offer exactly that for each of our trips, from conquering the Everest trail in Nepal to 14-day itineraries in Vietnam & Cambodia.

Do that and you’re likely to return to the office refreshed and ready to ramp up productivity two-fold. Even your boss can’t argue with that! Of course, reducing holiday stress also stands for not working…

Being active is good for you

Travel is great for stimulating the senses and, if it’s distracting yourself from work stress back home you need, what better way than pumping up the adrenaline? Sitting on the beach or relaxing by the pool is great for some but, if you’re anything like me, your brain will be ticking over. The temptation to reach for the laptop is going to return.

To keep busy, get active. Firstly, simply being active carries all sorts of benefits, from taking on desert treks to kayaking in Norwegian fjords. What’s more, another study found that group workouts were most effective for stress relief, improving our mental, physical and emotional health. It means hitting a jungle hike, like this one on our trip to Peru, with a group of like-minded solo travellers now ticks even more boxes.

Read more: Spring-clean your work life with a dash of adventure

Lastly, putting the laptop away in favour of immersing yourself in nature could actually increase your performance back at work. This 2015 study suggests looking at natural imagery (let alone seeing it in person) for 40 seconds improves focus and performance on problem-solving, stimulating the brain. Combine the two – get active in beautiful, natural surroundings – and you’re onto a winner.

Less holiday screen time equals better sleep

Less screens, more sleep

Sleep is good. We know this, you know this – but we still find it so hard to prioritise sleep over a quick last look at our emails, even our Insta feeds. While work stress can interfere with a good night’s sleep, your laptop and phone are doing just as much damage. A 2014 report indicated adults are logging a total of 11 hours of screen time a day, whilst another study showed blue light from digital devices damages the duration and quality of our sleep.

Leave the laptop at home, get yourself on an active holiday – planned by Flash Pack experts – and travel work-free from now on. You’ll return well-rested, with some lifelong memories and even friends.

Wasted annual leave does more harm than good

Don't waste annual leave

Annual leave is essentially free pay – left alone it’s less useful than a chocolate teapot.

I’m talking about leaving your laptop behind to travel work-free but the stats suggest it’s hard enough getting some professionals to leave the office at all.

Research commissioned by British Airways found that a third of working Brits didn’t use all their annual leave in 2017, losing an average of four days each. 67% didn’t take a two-week holiday – one in five felt guilty for taking any at all.

It’s not just the Brits, a Harvard study found that 50% of U.S. workers on 50-hour weeks didn’t use all or most of their annual leave. Even of those who did, 30% of them worked whilst away.

Read more: 3 glaring signs you need a break from work

This is your time to look after your wellbeing, to recover, see new things and meet new people. To travel work-free. You’re not getting paid to work more, you’re volunteering to work more. If it’s in an effort to get ahead, we understand – but you might want to reconsider.

Yet another study examining unused annual leave found that, in the U.S., people who took less than 10 days off had a 34.6% chance of getting a pay rise. Those who took more than 10 days? A whopping 65.4%…

Chaps, it might really be time to pack the laptop away and definitively leave it behind for good – it won’t be much use on a glacial hike in Patagonia anyway. Make use of your leave in a positive way, come back refreshed and more productive than ever. There are hundreds of new adventures waiting for you to explore – seize the opportunity to find yours. Today. Now. Let’s go.

Where you could go

You could conquer the mighty Mt. Toubkal in Morocco

How about canyoning over rugged terrain in Jordan?

For something more relaxed, try sunrise treks, snorkelling and phenomenal beaches in Bali


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