A Pacific Coast Highway roadtrip should be on everyone's bucket list. The beautiful beaches, national parks, bustling cultural epicenters, small fishing towns, vineyards, breweries and restuarants have so many memories and experiences to offer those who venture on its 655-mile path.
With so much to do and see, staying connected with loved ones while being present in your travels can be difficult. Here are five ways to help achieve the ever-so-delicate balance.
Many of us are programmed to immediately look for our smartphones at the first sign of a text message, email or push notification. Sometimes you dig through your purse or fumble getting your phone out of your pocket, only to find a notification from an app you never use, from your co-worker who didn't get the memo you were traveling or spam email from a site you don't care about. But you certainly don't want to miss a text from your parents or an email update on your flight/hotel reservation. Alas, avoiding unnecessary communication and remaining in the moment is a tough balance to achieve.
Instead of relying on your smartphone, invest in a smartwatch that gives you a less intrusive and gentle notification when synced with your smartphone. After a quick glance at your wrist, it's up to you whether you'd like to ignore the alert and stay in the moment or take a few minutes to address the notification. With its scratch-resistant, comfortable fit, the Apple Watch Sport is the perfect travel companion, giving you a much-needed balance between staying connected and enjoying your travels.
Normally, we indulge in screen time whenever we'd like without putting much thought into it. Even when you're lounging on a beach along the PCH, wine tasting at a California vineyard or hiking in Big Sur, breaking habits aren't easy. By designating screen time for 15-30 minutes every evening, you avoid checking Instagram, Facebook, emails or texting friends during the daytime. Keep track of your screen time and stick to the allotted time you scheduled.
Some stretches of the PCH are remote, and losing cellphone service is fairly common when driving down Highway 1. This might sound crazy, but use airplane mode and disconnect yourself even if there is service. Doing this still allows you access to your phone's camera, music and Google Maps. But when you're outside, enjoying nature and the beautiful PCH coastline, be present and reconnect during screen time later that night.
This might sound contradictory, but social media is actually a great way to update all your loved ones about your adventures on the West Coast without spending too much time keeping in touch. Use Facebook to give loved ones status updates about all the neat places you've been to, the lessons you've learned or experiences you enjoyed the most. Instagram is great for sharing your beautiful sunset photos, snapshots of all the flora and fauna, or the unique cuisine you're enjoying.
Automated replies are perfect for letting those who contact you know you're traveling the PCH and might not be able to respond until you return. Likewise, an automated out-of-office alert allows you to ignore co-workers without feeling guilty, giving you more time to explore. You should also consider updating your voicemail with information about your travels for those who might call you while you're traveling.
Now, put your phone away and enjoy everything the PCH has to offer!