You may not be able to stay on vacation forever, but with the right amount of smartphone use, you may be able to feel like you’re on vacation for a bit longer. That’s according to new research from a team at the University of Texas, who worked with vacation rentals company HomeAway to determine how to create longer-lasting vacation memories. Because even if you don’t have a mojito in hand, the taste of one is almost as good … right?
While vacationing is certainly a time to unplug and unwind, the University of Texas at Austin researchers determined that you may want to keep your phone around — if only for the purpose of using its camera. The team surveyed more than 700 summer vacationers, and determined that those who took photographs and selfies while on the beach remembered the details of their trip up to 40 percent better than those who didn’t document their vacations at all.
There was a caveat, however. Not all the world looks better through an Instagram filter, and spending too much time on your phone can also detract from your vacation experience. As per the study results, those who spent over two hours using their connected devices were 26 percent less likely to remember vacation details than those who exercised some restraint. And please, whatever you do, don’t bring work along. Vacation takers who admitted to working more than an hour a day were 43 percent more likely to have trouble recalling their trips than those who just occasionally checked their email.
“The Science of Memories study is the first extensive examination of what makes vacations memorable,” said Art Markman, professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin and lead researcher on the study. “Before this study, most of the psychological research on vacations focused on the mood and health benefits of going on a trip. The opportunity to investigate the science of vacation memories with HomeAway has yielded valuable insights about how such memories are created, from the scientific impact of selfies to surprising news about which destinations are the most memorable.”
Curiously enough, the amount of money spent on a vacation didn’t seem to have a meaningful effect on its memorability (save, for except, your bank account). And while spontaneous trips are all good and well, Markman’s team determined that those who traveled for a celebration or a specific purpose displayed 69 percent better emotional recall of their vacations.
So take that vacation, and yes, take your phone with you. Just be aware of when to put it down.