Influencers on digital detox

We invited trending influencers from all over the world to Vienna and exchanged their smartphones for analog Lomo cameras.

Take fewer photos and experience more – this was the motto adopted by British social media influencers Claire and Laura from Twins That Travel, during their trip to Vienna. The pair took up the Vienna Tourist Board’s invitation to spend three days in Vienna and refrain from doing what they normally do best: documenting every aspect of their journey and sharing it with a hashtag.

Twins that Travel

On their Instagram profile, they stated about their experience after the journey:

“When picking our final, favorite image from Vienna we decided to go with the photo that was most special to us – not the photo we thought would do best on Instagram. So here it is! Not a very exciting scene but this memory of us enjoying a creamy hot chocolate and piece of cake in the coziest coffee house, Café Sperl, is a travel memory I’ll squirrel away forever more. With no mobile phones to distract us, we spent a lazy hour here simply catching up. It sounds strange but despite traveling together, the pressure to be continually documenting our experiences online means that we rarely take the time to really enjoy each other’s company. To get you really thinking, try to remember your favorite three travel memories of the last year. I bet none of them were memories that were captured or shared on social media.”


“Of course, sharing travel experiences with others is a satisfying experience – we’re sociable beings after all – but nothing will replace those private memories you create with your travel companion.”
Twins That Travel

Dan Rubin

Being disconnected in Vienna was dreamy — the city is already one of my favorites: the architecture and winding streets making you feel like you've stepped back in time. So getting to spend a long weekend without using my smartphone to document my experiences — or even navigate — gave me the opportunity to do the thing our devices seem to prevent more than anything else: Interact with other people.

To get around, I used a physical map as well as asking strangers and friends in the city for directions and recommendations. This also allowed me to focus more on the people of Vienna — I documented the trip using film cameras, and captured portraits of the friends and strangers I met along the way.

The trip was full of good food, architecture, sunshine, and so many conversations with strangers, old and new friends. Even the time spent exploring on my own was far more relaxing without checking my phone for directions — it's amazing how even virtual maps can be a distraction!

I will forever remember this visit to Vienna, for the near-complete absence of technology over those few days, and the deeper connections formed with people and places as a result.

"Connecting by Disconnecting: as the most livable city in the world, Vienna is an ideal place to disconnect from the always-on computer in our pockets, and reconnect with the sights, sounds, flavours, and people around us."
Dan Rubin

Umami Girl

Even though I’m normally as tied to my smartphone as anyone, I was more excited than terrified by the idea of spending nearly a week exploring Vienna with nothing but a Lomo’ Instant camera as my primary mode of documentation.

It’s no secret that in the modern world, many of us spend almost as much time and energy snapping and sharing our travel experiences as we do truly experiencing them. It’s a little scary to think about stripping that layer of social proof from our hard-earned vacations, never mind spending time alone with ourselves. (“Pics or it didn’t happen” may be a joke, but Vienna’s own Sigmund Freud believed all jokes come from a kernel of truth.) Here’s what I found: that little instant camera, with its limited number of film sheets, its propensity for doing whatever it wanted, its slow burn as my photos came to life —it gave me space to think, and to feel. That sounds silly, maybe, but it was kind of a big deal.

On the one hand, it forced me to really think through which experiences I wanted to have, and how I wanted to navigate them. On the other hand, it forced me to let go of most of the fine control I’d normally have over exactly how to share those experiences. I hope you’ll give yourself the chance to experience this, too, or to discover your own favorite unhashtagged Vienna moments.

"Stepping away from hyper connectivity and the selfie culture, so you can be fully present. There is no better place to do that than in Vienna"
Umami Girl

The Jetsetter Diaries

Here’s what it’s like to experience a digital detox in Vienna:

1. Enjoying the moment: It was so refreshing to visit places and actually get to enjoy them before reaching out for my phone or camera and taking hundreds of photos. Usually, I would arrive to a beautiful spot and the first thing I would think of is where to get that perfect Instagram shot.

2. Living the moment: I spent hours in some of the amazing museums in Vienna walking around by myself. Instead of reaching out for my phone and documenting everything, I was completely immersed in whatever I was doing in that moment.

3. Disconnecting from the world: Let’s face it, spending long hours on social media can be unhealthy. I felt disconnected from the world, because I wasn’t constantly scrolling through Instagram. It gave me more time to focus on myself and it felt very peaceful to be far away from the online world.

"Ever since I started blogging over 4 years ago, I’ve been constantly connected to the online world. In fact, as you can imagine, I spend several hours every day on my phone. I was long overdue for a proper digital detox. "
The Jetsetter Diaries


Vienna’s Unhashtag Challenge was the perfect opportunity for an all-out digital detox. Equipped with an instant camera and committed to blocking out all things social media, I was able to experience the peaceful magic that is Vienna. The pace of the streets are very “metro meets natural” without the typical sense of urgency other cities exude. You’ll find yourself strolling through the cobblestone walkways with no final destination in mind…walking for the pure purpose of taking in everything around you and enjoying your time in that moment. Once you make the decision to put your phone away and live in real-time, you transform from an outsider looking in into a genuine part of the experience. Vienna speaks to the innate wanderlust in all of us, and reminds us what it is to truly live in a world immersed with culture and natural beauty.

Thank you, Vienna, for reminding me what is important in this socially dependent world."

Passport Voyager

No obligation to post during the trip? Great! Seeing a city through my own eyes instead of a phone screen? Sounds cool! Not being able to share every moment of my experience instantaneously like I’ve been trained to do? Weird.

My time in Vienna forced me to reexamine why I share. I started asking myself why I do this work. Sharing on social media once felt like a joy, but I’ll admit, it starts to feel more like a chore when you’re obligated to do it every day. I’ve been searching for ways to change the way I share and communicate these travel experiences, and visiting Vienna gave me a completely fresh perspective.

Is it always comfortable to sit alone in a Viennese coffee shop without the security of your phone in front of your face? Nope. Definitely not. But is it worthwhile to try and be more present instead of worrying about how you’ll present the experience to your followers, friends, and family? I’d say 100% yes.

"The rich history, vibrant culture, and relaxed atmosphere of Austria’s capital beg visitors toslow downand truly enjoy their time – not simply snap an Instagram photo and hustle on to the next destination."
Passport Voyager