Switch off for a better break these school holidays

Wednesday , 20 September 2017 by Janine Kendall

These days we rely on our smart phones to keep us connected to the world, but research from Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI) suggests the devices may be doing just the opposite.

According to the survey findings, 54 per cent of people regularly check their emails while travelling on holiday and only 17 per cent leave their phone switched off, unless there’s an emergency.

SCTI chief executive Chris White says while there are clearly benefits to taking your phone, checking and responding to emails means you never completely switch off and enjoy the holiday experience you’ve worked hard for – especially if it’s a chance for quality time with the kids.

“Our research found that more than 90 per cent of Kiwis travelling overseas take a phone with them. And fair enough – you can keep in touch with friends and family via social media, use online tourist guides, take photos and call us if you need help.”

White says a smart phone can also act as a safety net — it’s a flashlight in case of a blackout, a radio for emergency broadcasts, a GPS tracker and more.

But he says there can be a downside to staying so connected, particularly if your interactions are work-related.

“You’re more likely to have a restful break, better appreciate your surroundings and return to your job refreshed if you disengage from work for a while,” White says. “And if you’re away with the kids, it’s valuable time to spend together and participate in activities without the usual day-to-day distractions.”

He says there is a case both for and against taking smartphones on holiday and it’s up to the individual.

“If you want to get the most out of technology, then definitely use your device to its full capacity. But for those unforgettable moments, it might be worth turning the phone off and soaking in the world around you,” he says.

For more information about Southern Cross Travel insurance, visit


Additional information

  • Lost, stolen or damaged smartphones are one of the most common property claims for Southern Cross Travel Insurance.


Phone usage while on holiday

  • I take my phone but only check it periodically – 45%
  • I take my phone and leave it on – 28%
  • I take my phone in case of an emergency but leave it switched off – 17%
  • I don’t take my phone – 8%
  • None of the above – 2%

Internet usage while on holiday

  • I regularly check my emails – 54%
  • I regularly post on social media – 25%
  • I chat online to people at home – 21%
  • I shun the outside world – 16%
  • None of the above – 16%

Key differences

  • New Zealanders aged under 30 are more likely to leave their phone on (41%)
  • Those aged 50 plus are more likely either not to take their phone (14%) or only use it for emergencies (22%)
  • Those with a household income of $70,000 plus are more likely to leave their phone on (34%)
  • Asians are more likely to leave their phone on while on holiday (42%)
  • Females (28%) are more likely to post on social media while on holiday than males (22%)
  • Under 40s are more likely to post on social media (39%) or chat online to people at home (33%) while those aged 50-plus are more likely to regularly check their emails (58%).

Note: The Southern Cross survey was conducted by TNS online amongst 1,850 randomly selected New Zealanders who have travelled overseas.