Catherine Livesley is a sustainable travel skilled who has traversed nearly each and every state in Europe overland. She has created desire trips at some of the world’s main rail and sustainable journey businesses and labored as a specialist for independent travel companies. She is the founder of flight-absolutely free tour operator and vacation club, No Fly Travel Club.
Whilst functioning as a tailor-made journey professional, recurrent flights were being as much a element of my daily life as a beer soon after perform. But when the pandemic strike, I was compelled to continue to be grounded a great deal longer than predicted. This led to a gradual revelation. More and more worried about the weather disaster, it grew to become distinct that my flight practices had to change. Not only that – I wanted to support other folks make the swap also.
In November 2020 I quit my task to begin No Fly Vacation Club, making use of my abilities in overland travel to support other individuals swap their wings for rails.
We specialise in overland journeys starting up and ending in the Uk – as effectively as featuring a membership club for all those on the lookout for flight-cost-free vacation assistance and inspiration.
If you are searching to slash your carbon footprint with no reigning in your adventures, here’s all the insider facts on how to vacation Europe flight-absolutely free.
Practice travel is good worth for all people – but specially 1 kind of traveller
When preparing an overland excursion, question your self these two inquiries: how significantly time do I have and what sort of holiday break do I want?
Are you wanting to metropolis hop? Hike in gorgeous environment? Or just relax on the beach front?
The even more in advance you plan, the much less expensive your journey will be. Ideally you must book trains 2-3 months in progress. This will give you the most decision for the least expensive price tag.
A different way to help save cash is to be flexible with your dates. For the most effective deals intention to travel exterior of school holidays and weekends. For journeys with several legs, you ought to also appear into whether or not an Interrail go would be more cost-effective in the stop.
With a little bit of insider awareness, travelling by coach can be especially inexpensive for people, given that quite a few educate operators provide no cost and discounted seats for young children.
Taking the train with small children could be much less costly than flights
Most European train companies give totally free tickets to kids (specific age limits vary but it can be up to 6). There’s no want to buy a ticket – simply buy a ticket for any other passengers and convey your kids along for the journey.
If you want to reserve your little ones their personal seat, you can do so with a ‘child seat supplement’ from just €9 for every person.
Some trains in France, Italy and Switzerland even have carriages especially made as engage in parts, so youngsters can operate about freely.
For kids less than 12 discounts usually amount to about 50 per cent off. Simply just include the ages of every passenger when booking and you are going to quickly see the price ranges. This is especially practical if you are travelling on an overnight practice as you can protected all the beds in a cabin for your family members at a discounted price. It’s a good way to advantage from more privacy offered by rail travel.
How to journey to leading locations
France – the land of cheese, wine and photograph-best villages
France has spent many years investing in its large speed rail network, earning it ideal for checking out by practice.
Regarded as TGVs, France’s highspeed trains connect important towns at an spectacular 320km/hour. When you component in time travelling to the airport, examining in and accumulating baggage, travelling to France by higher pace teach becomes additional or less comparable to flying. The most acquainted route for United kingdom travellers is, of training course, the Eurostar, connecting London to Lille in 1 hour 15, and Paris in just 2 and a 50 percent hrs.
Both equally these Eurostar hubs present a great deal of selection for onward journey. Connecting in Lille is great if you want to prevent owning to cross busy Paris. Massive metropolitan areas in locations this kind of as Brittany and the Loire Valley Alsace can be very easily achieved in 4-5 hrs from London, and you could be sipping Pastis in the Mediterranean region of Provence in as tiny as 7 several hours.
Regional trains, regarded as TER services, link scaled-down locations as perfectly as offering a less expensive, slower choice for intercity journey. There are also a smaller range of overnight trains connecting Paris with the south of France (places involve Great, Toulouse, Marseille and Perpginan). Reclining seats are the most affordable selection – starting at all-around 19 euros for each person. Alternatively opt for a ‘couchette’ for spending plan (and family members) lodging, or improve to a sleeper cabin for the ultimate in overnight comfort and ease.
Italy – shorelines, vineyards and pizza are all within effortless get to
As soon as in France, Italy is uncomplicated to attain. High speed connections operate immediate from Paris to Milan and are available by both of those SNCF and TrenItalia. With routes priced to rival funds airlines, there are a good deal of bargains to be identified. Fares start out at €39 per man or woman and the journey normally takes close to 7 hrs.
If you stay in London, it is feasible to go all the way to Turin or Milan in a working day – or for people coming from more afield, I suggest breaking up the journey with a pitstop in Paris or Lyon.
From Milan, onward journey to most sections of northern and central Italy is quick and easy many thanks to the superb higher velocity rail network. Right away providers also operate to the south, allowing for you to drift down to Rome, Naples or Sicily in style. Tickets can be acquired from TrenItalia, as very well as personal large pace educate operator Italo.
Greece – hop from practice to boat to take a look at hundreds of Grecian isles
Built it to Italy? Then you’re just a boat journey absent from Greece. Ferries cross the Aegean from lots of locations together Italy’s east coastline.
Significant speed rail connects major Italian ports like Ancona, Bari and Brindisi. These supply everyday sailings to Igoumenitsa (on Greece’s west coastline) and Patras (the place you can decide up a bus to Athens). There are also recurrent sailings to Corfu and other Ionian Islands – but check out your dates as these don’t run every working day. Most present right away journey, getting between 8 and 24 hrs based on the desired destination. As with overnight trains, you have different choices for unique prices. You can slumber ‘on deck’ for the most inexpensive price tag, or e book a cabin for an added price if you want to assurance a relaxed night’s slumber.
Turkey – continue to be grounded right up until you get to the very hot air balloons of Cappadocia
Though it may be ideal reserved for the additional adventurous traveller, it is attainable to get to Turkey overland from the British isles. The least complicated option (out there late April – early Oct) consists of travelling from London to Munich through Brussels. From listed here you can acquire overnight trains to Budapest and then on to Bucharest, with a last overnight hop taking you from the Romanian funds to Istanbul – and the quite edge of the continent – on day 4.
Whilst it may possibly not defeat the 4 hour flight in a race, you’ll get to soak up the surroundings in three of Europe’s most thrilling towns on the way – and which is a thing no airline can supply.