We’re all so busy these days. Everyone’s in such a rush to get places. It’s never been easier or cheaper to hop on a plane and max our precious holiday time. But at what cost to the planet?
This year, the number of scheduled airline passengers taking to the skies is predicted to hit almost 4.6 billion, a new record. Fast isn’t always best and there are an increasing number of travellers keen to find more sustainable ways of exploring. Slow travel provides the means not only to do so, but a way to connect with local people and different cultures too.
The tourism industry is rising to meet this demand for a more responsible approach. In April the Faroe Islands closed for a weekend to all but “voluntourists”, visitors tasked with a range of maintenance jobs to help preserve the islands for future guests. The project had the added benefit of providing a meaningful cultural exchange between visitors and residents. In the US, Boston Airport recently announced an initiative whereby anyone travelling from the city by public transport – in this case, bus – is offered fast-track security clearance.
Monisha Rajesh, the author of Around the World in 80 Trains, claims that slow travel is the antidote to our modern flying addiction. Letting the train take the strain is one obvious alternative for responsible travellers. Here are four great ways to make the journey part of the adventure:
Great rail journeys
A staggering ninety per cent less CO2 per passenger is emitted with rail travel than during the equivalent journey by air. Why not turn the travel into the trip? From the Orient Express to Rovos Rail and Trans Siberian, great rail journeys embody a romance that much of today’s travel appears to have lost. What better way to really see a continent’s scenery, towns and people than by train? Rail travel offers a conviviality as well as a glamour unlikely to be found in a crowded airport terminal. As well as plenty of time to enjoy the ride.
There’s a world of difference between small vessels and colossal cruise lines, with many small cruise holidays run by companies championing responsible tourism. Offering on board lectures with conservation experts, paying park fees directly towards the protection of wildlife reserves and supporting local charities and communities are just some of the ways that small ships are working to make a difference while transporting guests to the planet’s most remote places.
Choose to get from A to B by bike. Putting the brakes on speedy travel needn’t mean small scale aspirations when getting around on two wheels. Exploring a region by pedal power, visiting vineyards and even city sightseeing can be a very pleasurable way of covering lots of ground with minimal carbon impact.
The health benefits of walking are well known. But globetrotting by foot can be great for the environment too, especially when choosing a tour operator that supports local communities. Hiking holiday options can include beating a path to remote spots such as the Albanian Alps, discovering the sun-soaked Spanish coast on foot or racking up zero airmiles with a walking tour in the UK.
Wherever your travels are set to take you, make sure you’re covered. Contact us for more details and a no-obligation quote.