August update

At the July drop-in coffee morning a small group swapped information on how to travel around Europe (and beyond) without flying. Some great travellers’ tales came from this and we thought the following links would be of interest. Klaus recommended a couple of combined rail and ferry offers:

  • Irish Ferries Rail/Sail – Britain to (Republic of) Ireland
  • Stena line Rail and Sail – Britain to Netherlands
  • Everyone recommended the wonderful Man in Seat 61 website

This tells you how to travel by train all over the world with information on ferries, hotels and lots of other things thrown in. Even if you never, ever intend to travel on a train it is worth hours of browsing time and at the end you will surely be tempted.

For freighter travel Rowena recommended The Cruise People (http://www.cruisepeople.co.uk). In spite of the name they also specialise in booking passengers onto freighters – a great way to travel if you are prepared to be flexible and self sufficient.

Rachel also has some great recommendations for how to book train travel. She writes: “The website to look at if you are planning a multi country European trip is www.interrail.eu  and www.eurail.com. To decide if it’s cheaper to get a pass or  separate tickets, you have to say how many, and which countries, you are visiting and how many days you will be doing rail travel. There is a journey planning app for your phone, which enables you to book many trains and reserve seats on those high speed services which require it. A pass will allow one free journey within your own country, one on your outward journey, one on the onward journey, and will cover one Eurostar train in each direction.

For simple trips where a pass probably won’t save money, I’ve found the app Loco2, which is a pun (low CO2), to be brilliant, enabling me to book and pay for all five trains involved between London and Prague in a few minutes.

The number of sleeper trains in Europe is reducing. You can still go overnight from France to Italy and across France, though day time TGV is quicker and generally cheaper.

The benefits of train travel I find are many: much less stressful than all the checking in etc involved with flying; a real sense of journeying from home country through changes of landscape, culture, architecture and food, and a greater chance of interesting conversations with fellow passengers than is usual in planes.”

And in case you are concerned about the time train travel takes compared to flying, have a look at the Opinion piece ib 2 September 2019, from the Guardian:

Flying – An Issue of Environmental and Social Justice

The climate emergency calls us to challenge the way we travel so why not sign up to a flight free 2020. “70% of flights are taken by just 15% of the UK population, while the average UK resident flies only once every two years. Meanwhile the poorest in the world will never board a plane. So rich people are taking the most flights and trashing the planet, but we will all pay the price. Choosing not to fly is an important commitment to social justice as well as to the climate.”  See https://www.flightfree.co.uk/pledge for more details and to sign the flight free pledge.