You book your days off, promise yourself a relaxing vacation, and within hours of arriving find yourself lying on the beach…browsing through your work emails and your arch-enemy’s Instagram feed.
We’ve all been there. So what does it take to disconnect completely? Where do you have to go to leave the hustle and bustle of daily life behind? Is there a place that would make you (gasp) forget about your phone? Read on for 5 beautifully remote — yet accessible — places that are ready-made for a digital detox.
1. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Bolivia is to South America what Tanzania is to Africa: a country of superlatives filled with jaw-dropping natural wonders. One such place is Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat. Not only is it extremely remote (a bumpy, overnight bus ride away from La Paz) and very high (perched at 11,811 feet), it’s also as bare as a landscape can get.
The gorgeous landscape is only interrupted by the occasional baby llama or giant cacti colony. Remote, right? It’s also hands-down one of the most unforgettable and overpowering landscapes you’ll ever visit. Our tip? Put your phone away and get your shades out as you experience a sea of bright white or, if you visit during the rainy season, a huge reflective canvas where the sky melts into the ground.
2. Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
You’ll struggle to find a better place to unplug than Kilimanjaro National Park. We’re talking no phone network, roads, stores, and little to no electricity or running water in the higher camps. Oh, and when was the last time you didn’t handle money for an entire week? We thought so. Before you head out, stock up on supplies and snacks — you’ll need them.
Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro, whether you make it to the Uhuru Peak or not, is a truly elevating, mind-clearing experience. After your second day trekking, you’ll be completely cut from any noise or light pollution, meaning you can practically touch the stars at night. You’ll adopt a true pole pole (slowly, slowly) lifestyle as you melt into the environment with all your electronic devices safely tucked away in your backpack.
3. Lençóis Maranhenses, Brazil
Picture pristine sand dunes, turquoise water, and clear-blue skies as far as the eye can see. Now open your eyes. Are you in Brazil? If not, it’s time to add the country to your bucket list. One of the most well-preserved and easily accessible natural wonders, Lençóis Maranhenses National Park is a site you can’t miss. Head here to scale sand dunes and dive into freshwater pools. The even better news? You can expect cell reception to be patchy (at best).
4. Erg Chebbi, Morocco
Some landscapes seem to be the stuff of fairy tales or film. Erg Chebbi is both. If you’ve seen “Aladdin” or “Lawrence of Arabia,” you’ll feel as though you’ve walked through the screen and into a whole new world (see what we did there?). Head to Erg Chebbi for hikes, desert safaris, and evenings beneath the stars. A magical visit to this desert gem will leave you with nothing more to wish for.
5. Grand Canyon, USA
Who doesn’t have the Grand Canyon on their bucket list? It’s one of those natural wonders that we’re familiar with from Westerns, postcards, and National Geographic covers. While it may attract 5 million visitors per year, the sheer size of the Grand Canyon ensures you can let go of all your city troubles away from the crowds, no matter if you’re hiking, rappelling, rafting, or even taking a helicopter tour.