Flying travel tips

Active Away Tennis Holidays Blog: Top 10 Flying Travel Tips

Active Away Blog March – Flying Travel Tips!

I’m currently onboard an Easyjet flight to Sofia – heading out to Bansko for our Skiing weeks. After many years of flying, both long and short haul, I’ve found there’s certain things I do to help make my journey a little easier, and wanted to share those with you.

Flying has definitely become far less glamorous than in say the 70’s or 80’s with the general consensus of Airlines being ‘low cost, ontime, no frills.’ This allows much more of the population to venture abroad than before, something that I believe is fantastic!

I’ve outlined 10 of my ‘top flying travel tips’  below…

1) Purchase a ‘1 Size Fits All’ carry on bag!

Many airlines (including BA) offer ‘hand baggage only fares.’ This means that when booking, the price excludes a check in bag/suitcase (normally around 20kg) and you will be charged extra for this. Fortunately when travelling with Active Away, this is included in the price of your holiday! However if you are flying short haul quite a lot, you can take advantages of some cheap fares by packing everything you need in your carry on bag and saves you paying for a bag which is normally around £50.

N.B. Buy a carry on that can be accepted in by all Airlines – sizes do differ from Airline to Airline, I would personally recommend the: Stratic Suitcase Agravic, which is currently able to fit in every hand baggage allowence.

2) Check in Online

An obvious one that will save you time at the airport is to check in online. All you require is your ‘booking reference number’ and surname, enter these on the airlines website and simply follow the steps. Some airlines, for example Easyjet require you to check in online before you travel.

3) Mobile Boarding Passes

I love my iPhone, and am a big Apple geek, and keep discovering it’s capabilities! With the latest iPhone software, inbuilt is an app called ‘Passbook’ which allows you to save your boarding pass to your phone. I hate being unorganized and having loads of paper in my pockets. Most airlines now offer a service whereby you can download your boarding pass to your phone, and simply use that at the airport to scan and board with. I find it really handy, as I have actually ended up loaing my boarding card before, and you can also keep a record of your trips!

4) Give yourself time!

I find airports intriguing and also strangely productive. I don’t like to be rushed, so tend to give myself time to grab a coffee and do some work on the laptop. You may find there are long queues at security or at the check in desk, so allow for this!

5) Use public transport to get to the airport!

Most airports in Britain now have a pretty good transport link to the nearest city. With parking prices consistently increasing, I find travelling to the airport on the train a very relaxing and cheap experience. I ‘persuade’ a family member/friend to provide a 10 minute drive to Sheffield train station, where I can catch my train directly to Manchester Airport, all for £17.50 return, with a reserved seat and no stress of driving!

6) Join the Rewards Club/Airmiles

I tend to travel on British Airways and Emirates fairly regularly and am a member of both of their rewards schemes (free to join). Everytime you travel just remember to claim your miles, and before you know it you’ll have a free upgrade! British Airways is known as one of the most generous rewards schemes with their ‘Avios’ system.

7) Ask the question + Be polite!

Being 6 foot 2, sometimes it’s nice to have a little extra legroom on the flight! I always speak to the person at the check in counter and see if they have extra legroom available (for free). I would guesstimate the success rate to be around 50% and has provided me with a little more comfort! Ask the cabin crew again when you are on the plane, as if the extra leg room seats aren’t sold they will often tell you that you are able to take the seat after takeoff.

The amount of times I’ve seen customers be rude to try and get around a situation (delays/cancellation/seat change etc) astonishes me. The chances are you aren’t going to change things anyway, so being rude is going to get you nowhere!

8) Bring Entertainment!

Yes, if you are travelling on your own, flights can be monotonous and boring, so do bring some kind of multimedia device. Ipads/Mp3 players/Laptops can save you from boredom! Alternatively if you are travelling with friends discuss your upcoming trip!

9) Food/Drink

Accept that you will pay more! I like to eat well before I get to the Airport, as I know that the chances are if I find I require a snack I end up out of pocket!

My personal highlights were paying £3.50 for a bottle of water in Amsterdam Airport, and a slice of Pizza at Dalaman Airport for £8.00!

10) Airport Security

This is a point of frustration for me – I’m the person that always gets their bag searched and gets frisked!

Be prepared – you know you have to take your laptop out of your bag, your belt off, and your coat/jacket off  – so do it before you get to the desk! If everyone was to do this, Airport security would move a lot faster (even if they do frisk me!)


I hope you enjoyed my tips!

If you have any questions please feel free to email me:


Look forward to seeing you on a flight soon!

Josh Thompson

Tennis Elbow Header

Tennis Elbow – Do You Suffer From Tennis Elbow

Having been involved in competitive tennis now for just over 20 years, its fair to say I have had my fair share of injuries. The worst by far though was tennis elbow. It was incredibly painful and the hardest one to shake.

Have you ever suffered from tennis elbow?

Its one of the most infuriating, frustrating and painful problems you will have from playing tennis. Rather surprisingly I managed to cure my tennis elbow by doing loads of bicep curls. This was however born out of frustration and isn’t the way I would suggest managing the problem.

In this blog post I am going to cover:

  1. What the symptoms are of tennis elbow

  2. What Causes Tennis Elbow

  3. Suggestions on how to manage tennis elbow

[divider scroll_text=””]

What are the symptoms of tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow causes pain and tenderness on the outside of your elbow. You may also have pain in your forearm and in the back of your hand.

The pain of tennis elbow can range from mild discomfort while using your elbow, to severe pain that can be felt when your elbow is still. The pain is often worse when you use your arm, particularly for twisting movements (i.e hitting your forehand). Repetitive wrist movements, such as extending your wrist and gripping (serving), can also make the pain worse.

What causes tennis elbow?

The elbow joint is surrounded by muscles that move your elbow, wrist and fingers. The tendons in your elbow join the bones and muscles together, and control the muscles of your forearm.

Tennis elbow is usually caused by overusing the muscles attached to your elbow and used to straighten your wrist. If the muscles and tendons are strained, tiny tears and inflammation can develop near the bony lump (the lateral epicondyle) on the outside of your elbow.

As the name suggests, tennis elbow is sometimes caused by playing tennis. However, tennis is not the main cause, it is often caused by other activities that place repeated stress on the elbow joint, such as decorating or playing the violin. Pain that occurs on the inner side of the elbow is often known as golfer’s elbow.

How to treat tennis elbow

Tennis elbow is a self-limiting condition, which means it will eventually get better without treatment. However, there are treatments that can be used to improve your symptoms and speed up your recovery.

  1. STRAPPING: We have had a number of guests who have highly recommended various strapping for tennis elbow.
  2. REST: It’s important that you rest your injured arm and stop doing the activity that’s causing the problem.
  3. ICE: Holding a cold compress, such as a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel, against your elbow for a few minutes several times a day can help ease the pain.
  4. PAINKILLERS: Taking painkillers, such as Paracetamol, may help reduce mild pain caused by tennis elbow. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, can also be used to help reduce inflammation.
  5. PHYSIO: If the pain continues and is not going despite rest, ice and anti inflammatories then I would suggest a visit to see a physiotherapist. In my experience massaging and manipulating the affected area can help relieve the pain and stiffness, and improve the range of movement in your arm.
  6. CORTISONE: Cortisone injections can offer fast-acting relief there are rarely complications but could involve infection and bleeding.
  7. LAST RESORT: Surgery may be used as a last resort to remove the damaged part of the tendon.

Research shows that most cases of tennis elbow last between six months and two years. However, in about nine out of 10 cases, a full recovery is made within a year.

I hope you have found this useful and look forward to seeing you soon.

If you are injury free and love your tennis,  then come and join us on one of our tennis holidays. We organise group tennis holidays to exclusive 4 & 5 star resorts, where you can meet new people, make new friends, share your great experiences whilst having lots of fun. Active away tennis holidays are suitable for everyone.

Click here to view all the dates for our tennis holidays.


How to Find the Right Tennis Racket for You

How to choose the right tennis racket?

How do you choose the right tennis racket? For many tennis players, including myself choosing a tennis racket can be a difficult and daunting task.

There are many things to consider, brands, head sizes, weight, string pattern, balance, and many more! One of the most common questions I get when I’m on court coaching is ‘What do you think of this racket?’

Racket manufacturers such as; Babolat, Wilson, Head, Prince and Dunlop offer power-oriented rackets.

Option 1: Short Length Swing/Beginner/Power

These rackets usually have a larger than average head size (the average being around 100in²), these rackets being 110in² or larger, and are described as ‘oversize’.

  • Length – The length of the racket is normally 27 inches, with some being slightly longer (28 inches max).
  • Balance – They are balanced head heavy or evenly balanced, to allow enough weight to travel through the contact zone.
  • Weight – Weight wise they are normally less than 280 grams, meaning that they do not put too much stress on the joints.

These rackets are perfect for players who have shorter, slower swings and want a racket that is going to generate power easily for them.

A great example of a power-oriented racket is the ‘Head Graphene PWR Prestige’ which can be viewed here

Option 2: Medium Length Swing/Intermediate/Blend of Power + Control

There are many options for rackets that offer a mixture of features from a Power focused tennis rackets and a Control focused tennis rackets. This type of racket will normally have an average sized head size – around 95 to 102in², and are described as ‘midplus’.

  • Length – The length of the racket is 27 inches.
  • Balance – These rackets are balanced anywhere from slightly head-light to slightly head-heavy.
  • Weight – For the weight they are somewhere between 285 – 310 grams, with the average weight for a tennis racket being around 295 grams.

This type of tennis racket is ideal for players who have a medium length/speed swing, and are looking to choose a tennis racket that is versatile in all areas. They appeal most to intermediate/advanced tennis players.

A great example of a Intermediate/Advanced tennis players racket is the ‘Head Youtek Extreme Midplus’ which can be viewed here

Option 3: Longer Length Swing/Advanced/Control

This brings us too the rackets that are designed for the advanced players. These ‘weapons’ will have a smaller head size – around 90 to 98in² and sometimes have ‘tour’ after the name of the racket.

  • Length – The length of the racket is normally 27 inches, with some being slightly longer (28 inches max).
  • Balance – The frames of the racket are usually thinner, and are balanced head light, which means the racket will not be particularly powerful for someone with a slow swing.
  • Weight – These tennis rackets are usually 300-330 grams

This racket is perfect for someone who has a fast swing and generates power very easily.

A great example of a Advanced players racket is the ‘Head Graphene Speed Pro’ which can be viewed here

Grip sizes: This is a really difficult subject to get right as it does come down a little to personal preference.

Here is my guide for you below with a list of grip sizes:

L0 | L1 | L2 | L3 | L4 | L5

In general ladies should choose grip sizes L1 + L2. Men should pick, grip sizes L2 or L3 with a maximum of L4 for those of you with extra large hands! My personal preference is L2 with an overgrip. It’s always best to go for a smaller grip size, and then use an overgrip, as these are easy to replace. The grip size is the most important part of the racket, mainly because if your grip is too big you are unable to get your hand round the racket and feel the ball properly.

I hope you enjoyed this blog, and when you are purchasing your next racket, if you require any more advice, please email: and I would be happy to help.

Why not try a few of our demo rackets on one of our tennis holidays!

Active Away are specialised tour operator, we organise group tennis holidays to exclusive 4 & 5 star resorts, where you can meet new people, make new friends, share your great experiences whilst having lots of fun. Active away tennis holidays are suitable for everyone.

How To Keep Fit1

Introduction on How to keep fit for Tennis


First let me start this blog by saying there is no better way to get fit for tennis than actually playing the game, this is assuming you are fit enough to play. No matter what exercise you do, jogging, gym work etc you will always find playing tennis uses muscles that you didn’t even know existed. So how do you get fit for tennis?

Tennis is such a complex sport it requires so many different physical attributes. You require a good Cardiovascular fitness as well as, strength, power, stamina and flexibility. I am going to look at this not from a Pro players perspective but from a typical tennis holiday client of ours who generally plays doubles from improver to advanced club levels.

Firstly fitness for a doubles player does not have to be anywhere near as high as for a singles player. In doubles you will do lots less running and will get loads more rest than in singles. You will play over half the amount of shots and will only serve 1/4 of the times.

Ways to improve your general tennis fitness. All of the below points will help and I’ve put them in my preferred order of importance.

  • Funnily enough I would say try and play some singles! You will be made to move more and you will hit double the amount of balls. Don’t just play points though, try and arranged 1hr practice sessions where you are just trying to stay as consistent as possible. Yes this should be physically hard work and you should be able to get a very good work out if you are not getting out of breath during this session then you are not working hard enough, chase the ball more no double bounces. Do some simple drills like you hit down the line whilst your partner hits cross court.
  • Warm up and cool down every time you play. This is the most missed opportunity not only will it help to prevent injury but it will also improve your fitness if you add it to your tennis sessions. Turn up 15mins early forget the preplay chitchat and complete a thorough 15min warm up before hitting a ball (include some jogging, skipping, crossovers during which make sure you are loosening up your upper body. Try and understand your body and loosen off the areas you feel need it the most). At the end of the session spend 10mins stretching all areas of your body.
  • Yoga – look no further Yoga will help you improve you flexibility and strength it might also help with you focus on court. If you can’t make any classes then buy a learn yoga dvd and get started at home.
  • Jogging – start off with a couple of steady 20-30min jogs per week. Measure your distance and try and improve your time / distance each time. Best to buy running trainers for this not tennis trainers
  • Learning to weight train. You are never to old to lift weights, I train with a my good friend Pat who is 75 and holds the world record for combined squat deadlift and bench press he’s a true inspiration. Now I’m not asking you to go crazy but if your were to manage to train with weights 2 times for 45mins per week you will increase your strength dramatically not only this, it will help keep your bones strong, help reduce body fat and help prevent injuries. Done correctly weight training will also improve your core strength. The upside is you will feel stronger when playing shots and will find certain shots will improve due to the extra strength. I would advise you book the services of a good personal trainer who will show you the basic movements and can give you a simple to follow program.
We now offer a ‘tennis fit’ package add on to a number of our hosted tennis holidays. The package includes the following:
  • 3 x 30min Morning jogs and stretch with an instructor.
  • 2 x 1hr Yoga sessions (All levels)
  • 2 x 1hr group personal training learning to weight train
  • 2 x 55min Cardio Tennis sessions
  • 1 x Personalised fitness program

The object of ‘tennis fit’ package is to give you the knowledge and understanding of how to improve your basic fitness. The sessions will be fun and informative. At the end of your tennis holiday you will leave with a personalised fitness program which can be easily followed upon your return home following your tennis holiday.

Cost of the above program is £149. There will need to be a minimum of 5 participants for tennis fit to commence on the tennis holiday.

Many Thanks


Health Benefits

Tennis Holidays: The Health Benefits of Tennis Holiday

People often utilise their holidays by engaging in fun activities, entertainment and exploring new places but some people prefer to have healthy holidays, which are not just fun but can offer numerous health benefits, relax your mind and provide a way to enjoy fun activities.

Tennis holidays for instance, are considered best when you are thinking of going for a healthy holiday! You cannot only sharpen your tennis skills but also meet new friends, share great experiences and have lots of fun. These tennis breaks are perfect even if you are not a great player. Tennis breaks also offer a number of tennis lessons – which can provide you the perfect opportunity to not only learn the sport but also sharpen your existing skills. You can even enjoy planning tennis with your kids or friends and enjoy relaxing after an exhausting and fun day playing. There is nothing better than giving out that extra time and relax your mind on your holiday whilst taking a great tennis break!

Either way, tennis helps to maintain your health, fitness, strength and agility. Research suggests that a good one hour tennis session can help you burn around 600 calories for men and 420 calories for women. Overall, playing tennis keeps you fit as it requires continuous movement which is not only good for your body but also the mind.  You may not be able to take out as much time to play tennis with your busy work routine but a tennis holidays can provide the perfect opportunity to you to play the sport as much as you like. The good thing about tennis is that it is a very flexible sport that can be played at any age and at any skill level.

Health Benefits of Tennis Holidays

There are a lot of health benefits of playing tennis that can make your tennis holidays the healthiest one.

For instance, playing tennis regularly increases the aerobic as well as anaerobic fitness. One may gain more power and speed plus it also strengthens the body, making it balanced and enhances the coordination as well. People who play tennis regularly are usually very flexible and stay fit. Playing tennis also makes your bones strong and makes you fit throughout. Tennis is the best sport for cardiovascular fitness as well.

However, you do not just get the fitness benefits by playing tennis but it also has a huge positive impact on your personality, social life and mental health as well.

It is interesting to note that tennis players often score high in optimism and self-esteem while scoring low in depression, anger, confusion, anxiety and tension than other athletes and non-athletes. The reason to it is that playing tennis may generate new connections between nerves in the brain, developing positive personality characteristics.

In addition to the physical, mental and social fitness benefits of playing tennis, there are a lot of psychological benefits as well. For instance, it develops a work ethic in one’s life and makes them relatively disciplined. Also it enables you to accept responsibilities, manage stress effectively, learn how to recover, plan and implement strategies and learn sportsmanship. Most importantly it creates a great ability in one’s life to manage team work and develop social skills. The blend of all these health benefits makes tennis a great way to stay fit and have great fun on your holiday.

All in all, tennis is the healthiest activity to choose as your holiday plan. Although, there are other sports that are also excellent in providing health benefits but no other sport than tennis has been so widely acclaimed from all disciplines to offer a range of physical, mental, emotional and socially benefits.

So, you can make the most of your holiday and not only have fun and relax but play your favourite sport. Active Away are specialised tour operators to organise group tennis holidays to exclusive 4 & 5 star resorts, where you can meet new people, make new friends, share your great experiences whilst having lots of fun. Whether you are a couple looking for the fun tennis break or single who would like to meet new people with similar interest or would like some tennis coaching and would like to share your experience with like-minded people, then you can contact Active Away to book for you your perfect tennis break.  Active away tennis holiday is best suited for everyone. With them you may enjoy numerous UK tennis breaks.