Are American Travelers Addicted to Their Smartphones? View Study Findings

smartphones vacation_banner While smartphones are infinitely useful devices, they can also hijack your vacation and make it difficult to unwind. Passport Photo Online polled 1,000+ Americans on their smartphone use during travel to discover whether they used it for work, social media, and more. The findings are listed below, and they’re enlightening.

How comfortable are people with researching, booking, and planning a vacation using only a smartphone? It turns out 84% of Americans are comfortable or very comfortable with it—a 36% increase compared to 2018. Perhaps, it shows the travel industry has further embraced the mobile-first approach, making it easier for travelers to arrange the entire trip on the go.

Next, the study asked Americans if they used smartphones during their most recent vacation. A full 97% said “Yes.” Moreover, that percentage remains high across all the major demographics:

  • Gen Zers (25 or younger): 99%
  • Millennials (26–38): 97%
  • Gen Xers (39–54): 98%
  • Baby Boomers (55 or older): 93%

When the study asked how often American vacationers pull out cell phones, they found that most (71%) do it between 2–5 times per hour. And if we assume we’re awake an average of 16 hours, it’s safe to say most travelers check their smartphones ~32–80 times per day. It’s also noteworthy that 10% admitted they take a peek 10+ times per hour, which translates into over 160 times daily!

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Diving deeper into the survey results, we discovered what’s the longest Americans can go without checking mobile phones while on vacation:

  • 1–2 hours: 27%
  • 30–60 minutes: 21%
  • 2–3 hours: 19%
  • 3–4 hours: 11%
  • Less than 30 minutes: 9%
  • 6 hours or more: 9%
  • 4–5 hours: 5%

It’s no surprise that 58% of the respondents regret overusing mobile phones during their most recent holiday.

As a follow-up, the study asked how much respondents feel they averaged on social media sites per day when traveling. Below are the results:

  • 1–2 hours: 31%
  • 30–60 minutes: 24%
  • 2–3 hours: 20%
  • Less than 30 minutes: 14%
  • 3–4 hours: 6%
  • 4–5 hours: 3%
  • 6 hours or more: 2%

So, most American travelers (55%) spend between 30–120 minutes daily on social media. Here’s what prompts such frequent use.

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Interestingly, nearly half of vacationers (46%) admit they wanted to make followers jealous of their travel experience.

What about working on vacation? No one wants to work when they’re supposed to be relaxing, but people often feel pressured to do so. The study asked respondents if they used mobile devices for work-related purposes while on their most recent vacation. About seven out of 10 Americans (68%) answered positively. Here’s also a generational breakdown of the responses:

  • Gen Zers (25 or younger): 78%
  • Millennials (26–38): 71%
  • Gen Xers (39–54): 66%
  • Baby Boomers (55 or older): 48%

So even when employees are on vacation, it doesn’t mean they stop working—and that’s particularly true for Gen Zers and Millennials. Sadly, leading a hustle lifestyle often comes at a price. Namely, we found that:

  • Roughly 62% of US travelers agree or strongly agree that using a cell phone for work made them unable to relax and recharge their batteries.
  • Six out of 10 Americans say using a smartphone for work-related purposes caused them to change their vacation schedule.

Regular employees aren’t the only ones to blame for working on their downtime. When we asked the respondents if their bosses expect them to stay connected while away, a whopping 60% said “Yes.”

Furthermore, over half of American workers (55%) feel pressure to respond to work emails or messages on vacation, even if the employer doesn’t require it.

So, it wasn’t all that surprising that when we asked the survey takers if they wish they’d been unreachable from work during their most recent holiday, 66% answered positively.


In this context, we’d like to emphasize that it’s not okay to continually bother workers on vacation. Otherwise, you’ll be contributing to the always-on culture where people can’t take a full break from smartphones, which might ultimately lead to resentment or even burnout.

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