Holiday Alternatives and Facts about flying

by Sharon Duggan

As we celebrate the arrival of Spring many people will start thinking about their holidays and possibly going abroad. As for me, when I plan a breakaway I avoid flying as I haven’t flown since 1990. 

This was a conscious decision because of my concern for the environment. Though my partner’s obsession with the TV series “Air Crash Investigation” over the past years hasn’t helped either!

In actual fact, only a small percentage of the world flies frequently and in the UK only about half of our population flies each year. 

Of those who do fly, it’s only about 12-15% who are frequent fliers and if you’re one of that small percentage, it’s worth noting that flying is the most damaging way to travel for the climate. To put it simply.

A return flight from London to New York (per person) will use up the equivalent of more than twice the emissions you produce as a family driving your car ALL YEAR! Added to this, aircraft emissions are rising. This is because even though fuel efficiency is reducing, the emissions per passenger are increasing and are expected to double in the next twenty years because the number of flights are increasing all the time.

If you do fly, the latest advice is that none of us should be taking more than one short haul flight per year and we shouldn’t be taking a long haul flight more than once every three years.

Personally, I think that we need to get into a different mind-set, seeing the journey itself as part of the holiday. Indeed, I remember vividly to this day the wonderful school trip I took to Venice when I was thirteen years old. We took the train to Paddington (from Cardiff), then the ferry across to France and then a wonderful sleeper train which crossed France and Switzerland before eventually taking us to Italy (I’ve wanted to go on a sleeper train again ever since); it was magical.

The journey should be part of the holiday. Take an overnight train to experience the brilliant views of different parts of a country

In the same vein, a friend of mine and her partner recently went to Belgium by car and train.  Here’s her account of their journey:

“It was very easy to make an online booking for the Eurotunnel. Firstly, you enter your car registration, then the dates you want to travel as well as answering a few questions about your vehicle. You then choose from the slots listed.  Prices will vary depending on the time and day of travel. Peak time bookings are inevitably more expensive, as are busy days like weekends. However, we chose an early boarding time going out and a late boarding time coming back. This saved us a little money, but also meant that we could make the most of our trip. Another good thing was that you only had to make the booking per vehicle, not per person (you can even take your pet!). As our stay was under five days, we qualified for the “short stay saver” price.

Just sit inside your car and you’ll be in France in no time at all

Once you’ve checked in and have been checked through passport control, you simply remain in the queue and drive up to the train carriage, drive onto the train and either stay in your car during the journey, or you can get out and stand beside your car if you prefer. Before you know it, you’re in France!

It sounds so simple and enjoyable as you see all the lovely countryside going by, which is what I remember from the sleeper train when I was thirteen.

I’ll provide some more experiences of holidays that don’t involve flying as and when.

Happy Holidays!

P.S. I’ve always loved taking a packed lunch whenever we go away, so don’t forget to pack your lunch box and a flask/Chilly’s bottle! It’s much cheaper, you know what’s in it and it tends to taste better.

Sharon Duggan 

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