How to travel overland

Making the switch to flight-free travel

The evidence is clear – we know that we need to fly less. But how can we make this work for us in a practical way? You might be struggling with the idea of changing your habits – especially if travel has been a big part of your life! Fortunately, adjusting to the change needn’t cost you lots more, or mean giving up on holidays abroad. With a bit of knowledge and a few changes in your perspective, making the switch seems much more manageable. We put together some tips on where to start!

A Change in Perspective

In the past 50 years we’ve all got used to certain conveniences. From takeaway coffee cups and plastic bags to buying a new outfit every week. But, increasingly we know that these innovations come with trade-offs. It’s not so long ago that we didn’t have access to these things – and once again we’re re-adjusting away from them as our awareness grows. In the process, we’re discovering different, more sustainable ways of existing on and experiencing our planet.

Our travel habits are no different. Where travel abroad used to be a luxury reserved for an elite few, it has become accessible to many more people. The potential for cultural understanding and widening perspectives is unarguably positive, but the resulting level of C02 we emit when jetting about on holiday is less ideal…

Just as we have adapted to the idea of taking our own tote bag to the shops, or buying fewer, higher quality items of clothing, so we believe we can adapt to a different normal when travelling. But to make lifestyle changes realistic we have to update our expectations too – simply taking our regular holidays and swapping plane for train doesn’t really work, and we might need extra support.

Plan to go slow from the start

We frequently chat to customers who are really keen to change their holidays and swap their wings for rails. Often, we’re inclined to choose the destination and then look at how to reach it overland – as we would do when buying flights.

We love the intention behind this – but sometimes the practicalities don’t stack up as planned. The world is bigger than our 2-hour flights lead us to believe – the availability of a cheap flight doesn’t always correlate with how easy or affordable it might be to get there overland.

To avoid disappointment, make a commitment to travel by train from the start and arm yourself with the knowledge you need to make it happen. This helps avoid the chance of reneging on your good intentions because the route just won’t work out. Once you’ve adjusted your way of thinking about travel plans and built up some knowledge of overland travel, planning more trips becomes so much easier.

4 steps for planning a practical rail adventure:

  1. First, work out how much time you have to spend
  2. Look at the type of holiday you’d like to take and at what pace (relaxing beach holiday, hiking in the mountains, city hopping etc).
  3. Research destinations which fit your brief and are quickest/cheapest/easiest to reach by train – depending on your priorities.
  4. Make the journey part of the fun – plan exciting stop offs on way, scenic routes or overnight trains to maximise your enjoyment of days spent travelling.

In all cases, it’s worth leaving extra time to plan your trip, since rail tickets almost always get more expensive as you get nearer the time. We recommend planning at least 3 months ahead of your planned departure date.

Don’t be afraid to get help from an expert

Rail travel is not always as straightforward as purchasing flights. We’d love to see that change, but in the meantime getting some expert advice is a great option if you’re not sure where to start. We help travellers in two ways:

1. Curated, Financially Protected Rail Trips

Our selection of flight-free adventures is designed to make travelling overland easy and inspiring, allowing you to travel independently with all the planning taken care of.

2. No Fly Travel Club Membership

Alternatively, if you’d like more freedom to plan your own trips, why not become a member of No Fly Travel Club today? Membership entitles you to 2 hours of trip-planning time with one of our experts, plus exclusive offers on our set trips and access to our community of overland enthusiasts.

The future of holidays

We firmly believe that empowering travellers to make informed choices is key to reducing our dependence on flights. The more information we can spread about low-carbon travel options, the better!

Like the idea of reducing your flights and want to find out more about what we do? Take a look at our story and our mission here, or sign up to the newsletter to stay up to date.

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