If you were anything like us during lockdown, you spent a lot of time flicking through holiday photos, reminiscing about the sunshine, adventure and fun. Once most Covid restrictions lifted for international travel, many of us were quick to jump on a plane and get far far away from the place we’d been cooped up in for all those months.
Although we love the idea of being able to fly to anywhere in the world as and when we wish, the reality of travelling by plane comes with its own problems. First, there’s the cost. Many flights aren’t cheap and with the cost of living at a troubling high, this may rule out a holiday abroad for you.
Then, there’s the climate crisis. Aeroplane flights are the largest producer of carbon emissions when it comes to travel. Stats from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) show that UK domestic flights emit, on average, five times more CO2 than if the same journey was taken by train.
Whether you’d like try a flight-free holiday to reduce carbon emissions or perhaps you just don’t like flying, the good news is there are ways to travel to different countries (and you’ll probably get to see more of them)…
Flight-free travel ideas and destinations
In April 2022, Eurostar announced UK travellers would be able to visit more destinations in continental Europe via train, like Germany. Currently, people can travel from London to Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Lille, and Lyon. These travel destinations are well worth thinking about, considering research from Eurostar shows that taking the train from London to Paris instead of flying cuts CO2 emissions by a whopping 90 per cent.
But just because the Eurostar doesn’t go to certain places yet, it doesn’t mean you can’t still travel on other trains from the Eurostar terminal. For example, you can catch the Eurostar from London to Paris, then jump on France’s high speed train service to Barcelona. From there, you can travel to the Strait of Gibraltar and cross over to Morocco by ferry. Granted, it will take a lot of planning, but that’s four countries in one trip!
Byway is the world’s first platform for flight-free holidays. It offers travel and accommodation packages that use trains, bikes, buses and ferries – 100 per cent flight-free. The website lists many destinations, such as Alsace, Rome, Sicily, Côte d’Azur and Switzerland. But you can also get in touch with them here, to create a bespoke flight-free journey.
If travelling by car, the Eurotunnel will take you from Folkestone in Kent to Calais in France. Once you’re there, you’ll be able to drive across Europe, hitting up as many destinations as you wish. Find a guide to Europe’s best road trips here.
Interrailing isn’t just for backpackers, we promise. Travelling by train across Europe is usually easy, reliable and comfortable. You can jump off where you want and check out the sights, too. Popular short routes go to Prague, Budapest and Munich, with some more long-distance journeys ending in Bulgaria and Latvia.
An Interrail Global Pass means you can choose how many travel days you’ll need within a set time-frame, in advance. Or the Unlimited Global Pass offers unrestricted train travel over a month.
Travelling by ferry doesn’t mean your only options are the likes of Ireland, the Scottish Highlands and the Channel Islands. P&O Cruises offers ferries and cruises to the Mediterranean, Norwegian Fjords, Canary Islands and the Caribbean, to name a few.