The value of tech for travellers - even on holiday more than seven in ten UK millennials can’t escape from their phones and a third are even ‘anxious’ away from their devices

26 August, 2019

Technology - whether we see it as good or bad - has become an integral part of life. In the travel and hospitality industries it is driving change with mobile increasingly at the heart of developments. More sophisticated devices mean we can be better connected for work, but those benefits seemingly have a negative flip side that means it is becoming harder to escape from the technology and even during down time we cannot stop ourselves from going online.

Going on holiday would seem to be the perfect time to switch off from work and technology. However, a new survey from international roaming service TravelSim has shown that UK travellers are spending more than half an hour each day using tech for work while on holiday and over a third of people say they get anxious if they don't have access to the internet on holiday.

In fact, the research shows that UK holidaymakers spend a whopping average of four and a half hours using tech each day and just around a sixth of that time (44 minutes) is actually spent on direct messaging apps, despite the fact that the number one reason people gave for taking tech on holiday was to keep in touch with family and friends.

When it comes to social media and direct messaging there is a gender divide and women dedicate more of their holiday time to these than men. Women spend 42 minutes more, each day, on social media and direct messaging apps than men and over the course of a week's holiday this racks up to almost 5 hours more online time.

The survey reveals just how attached we are to our phones, with 53% of people overall saying they couldn't go on holiday without their mobile phone. For 25-34 year olds, this figure increases to 72% yet 49% of them also said they would like to use their phone less while on holiday but find it difficult to do so.

Access to the internet is a genuine consideration when booking a holiday as one third of people (33%) said they would be less likely to book a holiday in an area that doesn't have good internet access with a similar number of people (32%) saying they get anxious on holiday if they can't access the internet.

For a large number of travellers much of the 'tech time' can be attributed to keeping children entertained, an important factor for tech usage for parents. More than half parents (59%) say they take tech on holiday to entertain their children and just over two in five (44%) say they find it easier to relax if their children have access to tech.

More than half parents (57%) also say that travelling with children is less stressful if they have access to tech and a third (33%) agree that mealtimes are also easier if children have access to tech.

The survey also highlights that occupations have clear impacts on our likeliness to be connected while on holiday. It appears those that work in human resources find it hardest to break the work bug with them spending just under a third (30%) of their total holiday tech time working. They are also the most likely to be in touch with co-workers with 40% of people in HR saying they are in regular contact with work colleagues while on holiday.

Most of us are guilty of keeping one eye on emails while on holiday, even if it is just to keep on top of our inboxes to avoid hundreds, even thousands of unread messages when we return. But, increasingly it appears people are taking work on holiday to ease stress. This might seem strange but people working in sales, media and marketing seem to do just that, with over a third of survey respondents (35%) saying they feel less stressed about work if they have access to tech that allows them to keep on top of work while on holiday.