This British Island Wants to Take Your iPhone for the Day

And lend you some tools for getting around instead

Isle of Man landscape
Put down your iPhone. Isle of Man will give you a film camera to take photos of its landscape instead.
James Qualtrough/Unsplash

The Isle of Man is an island about the size of Guam in between Great Britain and Ireland. It’s self-governing (though citizens have British passports), has one of the coolest flags in the world, and hosts the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy every year, a motorcycle race around the island during which bikes hit 140 mph.

For much of the year though, it’s a quiet, secluded place, where travelers can go to explore fishing towns and medieval castles, or hike any of its 18 national glens, many of which have seascape views. For those looking to absorb what the island has to offer free of screen-stress, Visit Isle of Man announced an initiative called “Phoneboxes.”

Visitors will now be able to lock their mobile phones away for the duration of their trips, and in return receive a Moonrise Kingdom-esque starter pack to wilderness exploration: a travel guide, a film camera, stamps, a map, bird and plant identification books, binoculars, playing cards, a travel journal and itinerary inspiration.

In planning the project, Visit Isle of Man conducted a poll of British workers, and discovered that a whopping 83% believe the country could benefit from a digital detox. In addition, 66% said they would reach a better work-life balance if they did not have their mobile phone on them at all times, and 73% reported their mood is negatively affected when traveling companions spend too much time on their phones.

We love this idea. The initiative addresses our exhaustion with phone addiction, while offering the tools to replace their undeniable function. Outposts with phoneboxes include “glamping sites” like Knockaloe Beg Farmstay and Glen Helen Glamping. Make sure to email before planning your trip, though. They’re friendly and will help you plan your stay. If you can swing it, try going this spring. Isle of Man is the only UNSECO Biosphere Reserve that comprises an entire nation, and you’ll want to be here when the wildlife wakes up in the coming months.

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