Skip to main content

The Isle of Man Encourages Visitors to Lock Away Their Smartphones

phone hand manicure
Jae Park

Most travelers would rather forget their passports, underwear, or car keys than leave their smartphones at home. The majority of us agree that we’re addicted to our phones, social media, and the internet in general. Yet, we just can’t seem to break free. Now, a clever initiative in Britain’s Isle of Man encourages visitors to temporarily swap their digital devices for a collection of old-school alternatives.

The Visit Isle of Man “Phonebox” initiative is simple. The local tourism board has placed lockboxes at various glamping and rural retreats around the island. Upon arrival, visitors can opt to lock their devices away in a dedicated phonebox. In return, they’ll receive a kit of analog replacements to chronicle their stay. The most practical are a map, an island guidebook, a travel journal, and an old-school film camera. Nature lovers can also pick up binoculars, a magnifying glass, and bird and plant identification books. There are even free postcards and stamps because nothing says you care like putting pen to paper and sending an actual physical note to your friends and loved ones.

Angela Byrne, Head of Visit Isle of Man, said the island wants “to encourage … visitors to disconnect, switch off and step away from digital distractions in order to disassociate from work and social media and concentrate better on surroundings. By installing phoneboxes in glamping locations around the Island, this will help people escape from everyday life and embrace the many activities that the Island has to offer as well as spending time connecting with each other, without relying on technology for entertainment or communication.”

The majority of Brits approve. A full 83% believe their fellow countrymen could use a digital detox. While on vacation, 73% report being annoyed by their travel companions spending too much time on their phones. But, it appears most don’t practice what they preach. Nearly three-quarters claim to spend too much time on social media. Some studies report that American adults spend about 3 hours and 30 minutes daily using mobile internet. That number is expected to balloon to more than four hours in 2021. Clearly, we need a break from all that screen time.

The Isle of Man is already the ideal destination for a digital detox. Nestled in the Irish Sea between England and Ireland, the island is rich in centuries of history, tradition, and legend that blend Viking and Celtic heritage. For outdoor-loving travelers, the landscape is a mix of rugged coastline, national glens, and rolling green hills that all encircle a mountainous center. It’s so unique, in fact, that it’s the only entire nation awarded UNESCO Biosphere status. The island’s long list of “offline” activities includes hiking, wildlife-watching, horseback riding, fishing, exploring castle ruins, climbing, and even scuba diving.

Mobile-free stays for Spring 2020 on the Isle of Man can be booked by emailing Because even tech-free vacations require online booking these days.

Editors' Recommendations

Here’s Your Camping and Outdoor Guide for the Pacific Northwest
Add These Spots to Your List of Must-See Areas in the PNW
An outdoor view of the Pacific Northwest

Few places on Earth offer an outdoor lover's paradise quite like the Pacific Northwest. From forests to deserts, mountains to islands, and beaches to alpine slopes, just about every type of landscape is represented. There's even a rainforest. And whatever outdoor activity you prefer, whether it is hiking, cycling, snowboarding or skiing, swimming, fishing, hunting, camping, or virtually anything else, you can enjoy it in the Washington-Oregon-British Columbia trifecta.

With this in mind, let's take a look at some of the best outdoor opportunities in the Pacific Northwest for camping, hiking, and more. Perhaps I should amend that. "Best" is hard to define. Instead, let's just say that these are some of the "greatest" and leave it at that. So without further ado, here are some of the Pacific Northwest's greatest outdoor destinations.

Read more
Here Are the Best All-American Destinations to Visit for Your Fourth of July Holiday
The U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

The weather is turning hot. The swimming pools are filling up. The barbecue grills are firing up. The U.S. flags are flying all over the place. This can only mean one thing: Happy Birthday to the United States of America. 

With the Fourth of July rapidly approaching, here are some great options to celebrate America's birthday. From the scenic streets of the East Coast's most historic cities to the sizzling sands of California's beaches, we're taking a tour of America's best spots to enjoy the nation's favorite summer holiday. 
Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Read more
Vrbo Releases Its First Top 10 Vacation Homes of the Year
Vrbo logo and example home images

Chalets, farmhouses, and ocean retreats. If these sound like music to your ears, listen to this song.

Vrbo reviewed hundreds of thousands of whole, private vacation homes, to uncover the outstanding properties included in its inaugural top 10 list of best-in-class vacation homes across the United States. The stunning private domiciles range from sunny, coastal beaches through deep, rolling forests, and into big sky mountains. Vrbo judged places based on high-performing criteria, like guest reviews, 5-star ratings, number of bookings, Premier Host status, and amenities. These prized spots comprise idyllic stays for families and friends with a healthy variety of price points, destinations, types of properties, and design.

Read more