Connected Vacations: Top Takeaways from Our Unplugging Survey

It’s June, which means the sun is shining, schools out, and it’s time for a family summer vacation! Whether you’re jet-setting to Hawaii or backpacking through the mountains, vacations are a great excuse to take a break from your connected devices, and enjoy face-to-face quality time with loved ones. Not to mention, unplugging from your devices while on vacation can also help with personal security. However, even though most people want to unplug, how often do they actually remain disconnected? We decided to take a look and surveyed more than 2,000 people, aged 18-55 years old, to examine their behavior and attitudes towards their connected devices while traveling.

People Want to Unplug, but Don’t Feel Like They Can

Out of those surveyed, 43% of people went on vacation with the intent to unplug, and out of that 43%, 81% reported having a more enjoyable vacation because of the lack of connectivity. For those that didn’t, they most likely wished they could’ve. In fact, if work obligations were not a factor, 57% of individuals would prefer to completely unplug on vacation. This is most true for younger workers in their 20s and 30s, with 69% claiming they would want to completely unplug vs. less than half (49%) of individuals in their 40s.

Beyond work obligations, vacationers want to stay in contact with loved ones, with 62% claiming they stayed connected to be reachable by friends and family.

So, for those that simply had to stay connected, what were they glued to the most?

More than half of people (52%) indicated that they spend at least an hour a day on vacation using their connected devices, with 38% saying they couldn’t last more than a day without checking email (work or personal), 37% not lasting more than a day without checking social media, and more than half (54%) not lasting more than a day without texting.

Incentives for Unplugging

So out of those who did in fact unplug, why exactly did they do it? The main reasons survey respondents reported for unplugging varied, but the top ones include: being in the moment (69%), the need for stress relief (65%), taking a break from work (44%), and being respectful of others (36%). In fact, according to another recent McAfee survey, 40% of individuals felt their significant other paid more attention to their own devices when they were together one-on-one and 45% reported getting into an argument with a friend, significant other, or family member over being on a device while together.

Staying Secure While Staying Relaxed

So now, the next question is, if travelers do choose to stay connected while on vacation – are they doing so securely?

Whether they’re using Wi-Fi in the airport, or emailing in their hotel room, vacationers tend to have personal security lower on their list of priorities while they’re out of town. When it comes to Wi-Fi security specifically, 58% of respondents know how to check if a Wi-Fi network is secured and safe to use, but less than half (49%) take the time to ensure their connection is secured. Twenty percent don’t think about the security of their Wi-Fi network at all, and for 32% it depends on how badly they need to connect to Wi-Fi if they check the security of the network. We also found that parents tend to be more security-minded than their non-parental counterparts, and are more likely to know if their Wi-Fi connection is secured and safe to use (63% of parents vs. 54% of non-parents).

So, if you do chose to remain plugged in while on vacation, makes sure to keep these security tips in mind:

-Browse securely when away from home. It can be tempting to use your connected device while on vacation. If you can’t resist be sure that you are connecting securely. Avoid public or unsecured Wi-Fi networks which can expose your personal data and information to a cybercriminal. If you absolutely must connect to a public Wi-Fi network, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) like McAfee Safe Connect. A VPN will keep your information encrypted and ensure that data goes straight from your device to where you are connecting.

-Update your devices. The first line of defense for your devices is you, so it’s important to take a few precautions to stay safe. Make sure your devices’ operating system and applications are up-to-date. Using old versions of software could leave you open to potential security vulnerabilities.

-Install comprehensive security. After you’ve updated your devices with the latest software install comprehensive security. A solution like McAfee LiveSafe can ensure your devices stay clear of viruses and other unwanted malware.

And, of course, stay on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats by following me and @McAfee_Home on Twitter, and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

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