Catherine Livesley is a sustainable journey skilled who has traversed pretty much every single country in Europe overland. She has designed aspiration journeys at some of the world’s foremost rail and sustainable journey organizations and labored as a marketing consultant for unbiased travel providers. She is the founder of flight-free tour operator and travel club, No Fly Vacation Club.
When doing the job as a tailor-produced travel professional, recurrent flights were being as much a element of my existence as a beer soon after get the job done. But when the pandemic strike, I was pressured to stay grounded considerably extended than expected. This led to a gradual revelation. Ever more involved about the weather disaster, it became obvious that my flight habits had to alter. Not only that – I wanted to assistance other individuals make the switch also.
In November 2020 I stop my work to begin No Fly Vacation Club, making use of my knowledge in overland vacation to assist other folks swap their wings for rails.
We specialise in overland journeys beginning and ending in the British isles – as effectively as offering a membership club for those people seeking for flight-cost-free journey advice and inspiration.
If you are looking to minimize your carbon footprint with out reigning in your adventures, here’s all the insider details on how to journey Europe flight-cost-free.
Educate journey is great worth for absolutely everyone – but in particular just one sort of traveller
When preparing an overland vacation, ask your self these two issues: how a great deal time do I have and what type of holiday getaway do I want?
Are you wanting to town hop? Hike in stunning environment? Or just chill out on the seashore?
The even more forward you program, the less costly your journey will be. Ideally you need to ebook trains 2-3 months in progress. This will give you the most alternative for the least expensive value.
A different way to conserve dollars is to be adaptable with your dates. For the greatest discounts purpose to journey outdoors of faculty holiday seasons and weekends. For journeys with lots of legs, you ought to also search into irrespective of whether an Interrail move would be more affordable in the close.
With a bit of insider understanding, travelling by prepare can be specifically economical for families, considering the fact that numerous practice operators provide cost-free and discounted seats for kids.
Taking the prepare with kids could be far more affordable than flights
Most European educate organizations offer free tickets to little ones (correct age restrictions range but it can be up to 6). There’s no require to get a ticket – simply invest in a ticket for any other passengers and deliver your young ones along for the experience.
If you want to reserve your small ones their own seat, you can do so with a ‘child seat supplement’ from just €9 for each individual.
Some trains in France, Italy and Switzerland even have carriages specifically intended as participate in parts, so young children can run around freely.
For kids underneath 12 reductions normally amount of money to about 50 for every cent off. Basically include the ages of each passenger when booking and you will automatically see the prices. This is notably useful if you are travelling on an overnight coach as you can secure all the beds in a cabin for your relatives at a discounted cost. It is a terrific way to profit from further privacy available by rail journey.
How to travel to major locations
France – the land of cheese, wine and photograph-fantastic villages
France has used many years investing in its superior speed rail community, generating it ideal for exploring by prepare.
Acknowledged as TGVs, France’s highspeed trains link main cities at an extraordinary 320km/hour. When you component in time travelling to the airport, checking in and collecting baggage, travelling to France by large speed train gets to be extra or fewer similar to flying. The most common route for British isles travellers is, of class, the Eurostar, connecting London to Lille in 1 hour 15, and Paris in just 2 and a half hours.
Both equally these Eurostar hubs present a lot of decision for onward vacation. Connecting in Lille is excellent if you want to stay clear of owning to cross active Paris. Huge towns in areas this sort of as Brittany and the Loire Valley Alsace can be simply arrived at in 4-5 hours from London, and you could be sipping Pastis in the Mediterranean region of Provence in as little as 7 hours.
Regional trains, acknowledged as TER providers, connect more compact places as properly as giving a cheaper, slower selection for intercity travel. There are also a smaller variety of overnight trains connecting Paris with the south of France (destinations consist of Pleasant, Toulouse, Marseille and Perpginan). Reclining seats are the least expensive alternative – commencing at all-around 19 euros for each particular person. Alternatively decide for a ‘couchette’ for finances (and family members) accommodation, or improve to a sleeper cabin for the best in overnight consolation.
Italy – seashores, vineyards and pizza are all within just straightforward access
Once in France, Italy is uncomplicated to reach. High speed connections operate immediate from Paris to Milan and are offered by both of those SNCF and TrenItalia. With routes priced to rival spending budget airways, there are a lot of bargains to be uncovered. Fares commence at €39 per human being and the journey usually takes close to 7 several hours.
If you reside in London, it is possible to go all the way to Turin or Milan in a working day – or for individuals coming from further afield, I endorse breaking up the journey with a pitstop in Paris or Lyon.
From Milan, onward travel to most areas of northern and central Italy is quick and effortless many thanks to the outstanding significant pace rail community. Overnight providers also run to the south, permitting you to drift down to Rome, Naples or Sicily in fashion. Tickets can be obtained from TrenItalia, as properly as non-public substantial speed coach operator Italo.
Greece – hop from coach to boat to check out hundreds of Grecian isles
Made it to Italy? Then you are just a boat journey away from Greece. Ferries cross the Aegean from quite a few destinations together Italy’s east coast.
Higher pace rail connects significant Italian ports like Ancona, Bari and Brindisi. These offer you each day sailings to Igoumenitsa (on Greece’s west coast) and Patras (in which you can decide up a bus to Athens). There are also frequent sailings to Corfu and other Ionian Islands – but look at your dates as these really do not run every working day. Most offer you right away vacation, having among 8 and 24 hours depending on the destination. As with overnight trains, you have many choices for different prices. You can slumber ‘on deck’ for the most economical value, or ebook a cabin for an further charge if you want to assurance a snug night’s slumber.
Turkey – continue to be grounded until you reach the warm air balloons of Cappadocia
While it may well be very best reserved for the extra adventurous traveller, it is feasible to arrive at Turkey overland from the British isles. The least complicated selection (readily available late April – early October) will involve travelling from London to Munich by using Brussels. From in this article you can get overnight trains to Budapest and then on to Bucharest, with a last overnight hop getting you from the Romanian money to Istanbul – and the extremely edge of the continent – on working day 4.
Even though it might not beat the 4 hour flight in a race, you will get to soak up the surroundings in 3 of Europe’s most enjoyable metropolitan areas on the way – and that’s a thing no airline can provide.