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Top 10 tips on how to ‘Switch-Off’ on your holiday


Top 10 tips on how to ‘Switch-Off’ on your holiday – in association with American Express®

Taking a holiday is important for many of us, as is the ability to switch off when we’re there, which in this digital age is easier said than done! An interesting study by American Express® Preferred Rewards Gold Card found that almost half of us (47%)* can struggle to switch-off and relax on holiday and for one in ten 35-54 year olds surveyed, it can take up to six days to unwind. So why does it take so long to unwind? Apparently it stems from the need to be constantly connected when abroad. A third of us (35%) turn on mobile phones within minutes of touching down and over half of us (51%) will check social media up to fifteen times a day during their holiday. We have to admit the results didn’t surprise us as we know exactly how tempting it is to check emails and share a picture on social media on a trip!

To help travellers make the most of their time away, American Express has partnered with meditation expert, Will Williams, to develop the ‘Switch-Off series’ which consist of four easy to use meditation podcasts designed to help travellers relax and immerse themselves into their trip. They feature visualisation, breathing, mindful awareness and mindful mantra techniques, which aim to prepare travellers in the week prior to going on holiday.

Want to go even further? Then also follow the very popular BBC travel presenter Simon Reeve’s Top 10 tips on how to immerse yourself in your holiday experience and truly ‘Switch-Off’

1. Know yourself

Spa health retreat on GlobalGrasshopper.com

If you’re someone who is easily distracted and will find it hard to unwind, then you will need to work harder to enjoy the true holiday experience. Set yourself strict rules and ask your travel partner to enforce them as well.

2. Set yourself some fun holiday targets

Turtle Lady Elliot Island

These could be as simple or challenging as you like: eat in five local restaurants, ski a black run or train for a new PADI diving level. Doing this will not only help you to explore the local area but really breakaway from the norm.

3. Make a plan

Travel map

Jot down various things that you would like to do on your trip and discuss them with your travel partner. This will excite you and as a result, it’s much more likely that you’ll actually do them rather than check in with the office.

4. Make the journey part of the adventure


Your trip starts as soon as you’ve shut the front door, so use it to wind down and get into holiday mode. Enjoy a nice meal at the airport, use the travel time to read up on the destination’s history and when you arrive, soak up the scenery as you drive to your accommodation. Even better, get a local taxi so that you can glean any tips from the driver!

5. Step out of your comfort zone

Exploring old Bangkok

Get out of the hotel and immerse yourself in the local culture. Eat in neighbourhood restaurants to sample the cuisine and challenge yourself to eat something completely different – you want to come back with tales after all!

6. Plan an adventure

Hot Air Ballooning over Sossusvlei - African Safari Adventure on GlobalGrasshopper.com

Follow a river from source to sea or arrive in one city and head across country to another. Aim for extreme: whether it’s extremely exhilarating, exciting, beautiful, thrilling, or surprising. The more unusual and different it is, the less time you’ll have to worry about work.

7. Don’t look at the UK media


Doing so will tempt you to look at your emails or social channels. Instead pick up the local English-language paper. You’ll learn a bit more about the country that you’re in and you’ll see the world through their eyes as well.

8. When planning your next trip, explore the unknown

Adventure and relaxation in Chile on GlobalGrasshopper.com

The further you stray from the tourist trail the more authentic, immersive and memorable the experience will be. My top recommendation is the island of Madagascar. The wildlife, plants and trees have evolved into unique and spectacular forms. It’s a fascinating place with landscapes and views that will leave you astounded.

9. Become a savvy spender


Get even more from your holiday and make sure that you have the best possible trip by using a card that rewards your travel. From lounge access to hotel upgrades and car hire privileges, the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Card is packed with travel benefits to help ensure that you have the best possible travel experience, every time you go away.

10. Make the necessary preparations at work

Research your destination - How to save money when abroad on GlobalGrasshopper.com

Don’t be shy about telling everyone that you’re having a break and set an out-of-office reminder. If you absolutely have to be contactable then I suggest that you set some boundaries: tell colleagues that they can only reach you between 9-10am – you need to be strict to really relax!

* One Poll study of a representative sample of 2,000 UK residents September 2015

About the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Card



From lounge access to hotel upgrades and car hire privileges, the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Card is packed with travel benefits to help ensure that you have the best possible travel experience, every time you go away:

  • Earn 20,000 bonus Membership Rewards®[1]points when you spend £2,000 in your first three months of Card membership. That’s enough for a return flight
    from London to over 100 destinations, including Salzburg, Amsterdam or Marrakech. Terms, taxes, fees and charges apply.
  • Cardmembers can earn at least one Membership Rewards Point for virtually every £1 spent and more points for foreign currency and airlines (One additional Membership Rewards Point[2] for virtually every £1 spent directly with airlines and every equivalent £1 spent in a foreign currency. Two additional Membership Rewards points for virtually every £1 spent at amextravel.co.uk). Points can be transferred to major frequent flyer[3], hotel[4] or retail loyalty programmes or used to book flights (from 12 frequent flyer programmes), hotels, car hire and experiences with American Express Travel. Terms taxes fees and charges apply.

Introductory offer not available if you currently hold or have held any other Membership Rewards enrolled American Express Cards in the past six months.

For more information or to apply for a Preferred Rewards Gold Card click here 

Annual fee: £140 (£0 in first year). If you’d prefer a Card without any rewards, other features or a Card membership fee, an alternative option is available – the Basic Card

Terms and Conditions apply

Promoter: American Express Services Europe Limited has its registered office at Belgrave House, 76 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 9AX, United Kingdom. It is registered in England and Wales with Company Number 1833139 and authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

[1] All introductory offers are subject to change, can be withdrawn at any time and are not available if you currently hold or have held any other Membership Rewards enrolled American Express Cards in the past six months. Please note that it can take up to one month for bonus points to be awarded to your Account. Flights are based on a return economy flight, reward flights are subject to availability.

[2] Membership Rewards points are earned for virtually every £1 spent and charged per transaction on your Card at the following rates: one point for virtually every full £1 spent and charged per transaction, two additional points for virtually every full £1 spent and charged per transaction on pre-paid hotels, flights, car hire and experiences at American Express Travel (excludes cruises and The Hotel Collection), one additional point for virtually every full £1 spent and charged per transaction directly with airlines over the phone or online via their official website or affiliated mobile apps (only transactions made directly with the airline will be included for bonus Membership Rewards points, including but not limited to flights, car hire, package holidays and insurance. Bookings made with other travel agents, comparison sites and affiliates will not be included for bonusing) and one additional point for virtually every equivalent £1 spent on your Card in a foreign currency (if your transaction is converted into your local currency before submitting to us, you will earn at your normal rate). Membership Rewards points are not earned on interest, fees (including default fees), balance transfers, cash advances (including transactions treated as cash), loading of pre-paid Cards, American Express Travellers Cheque purchases or foreign exchange transactions; and any amounts that are subsequently re-credited to your Card Account by way of refunds. For full Membership Rewards Terms and Conditions, please visit membershiprewards.co.uk/terms

[3] Air France KLM Flying Blue, Alitalia MilleMiglia program, Asia Miles, British Airways Executive Club, Delta SkyMiles®, Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest, Finnair Plus, Iberia Plus, SAS EuroBonus, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

[4] Club CarlsonSM, Hilton HHonorsTM and Starwood Preferred Guest®


Born in England, with a few family roots from Bavaria, and a heart in Scandinavia I’ve always been a bit of a restless soul. My first true adventure began as a six month voyage around South East Asia as a fresh faced backpacker and ever since I’ve lived a semi nomadic existence, clocking up over 40 countries on trips and living in Dublin, South East Asia and Australia. I’m a lover of US Road Trips, deserted beaches bathed in warm glow of a sunset, Cuban mojitos, easy-on-the-eye travel destinations far away from the tourist crowds and all things Scandinavian – from cloudberry liquors to Scandi Noirs. When not wandering the world, you’ll find me walking my rescue dog in leafy South West London, strolling around the Brighton Laines on random day trips, hunting for photogenic landscapes or daydreaming about returning to my all time favourite places in the world; Havana, Copenhagen, Italy, Thailand and the frozen landscapes of a wintry Iceland. Follow Becky on Twitter and Google+.


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