We recently published a guide to Helsinki in which we provided information on how to get there and back without flying. In the comments underneath the article, a reader wrote: “I think you have to admit that it’s a bit unfair to pretend that people go to Helsinki by train and boat … only a few are willing to allocate six days of vacation for the journey. It is simply not a practical suggestion. “
The rise of cheap flights in the last 20 years means that we have become so used to flying everywhere for our vacations and short breaks that the idea of taking so long a trip has become unthinkable. We expect to maximize our time at a location and minimize our travel time. But maybe that should change.
Another reader placed this: “In the 70s it was common to travel through Europe by train (or bus or elevator). I have often traveled by train between Finland and the UK, and it is a very pleasant experience. ”
Traveling can have a magical transformation for individuals and communities. Through our pages we hope to encourage people to explore the world, to discover first-hand locations that they may have only read about in history books or novels; to be open to new experiences and tastes; to meet people with different ideas and perspectives; try out alternative lifestyles; immerse yourself in beautiful landscapes; having fun. Our writers benefit from the joy of new experiences, whether it’s the excitement to swim through a city like our writer did in Basel, or the thrill of engaging in the Big Five adventures of Ireland. And we know that our readers are adventurous and well-attended, because we offer their tips from all over the world every week.
But we also recognize the need to tackle the climate situation by reducing the number of flights that we all take. Environmental journalist John Vidal explored the dilemma with which people like me are cursed with loving journeys. now face when he reported on the Swedish concept , # 39; flygskam , # 39 ;, or flight shame. And he referred to people who had the idea of the , # 39; flexitarian , # 39; diet – whereby they reduce their meat consumption drastically but not completely – on flies.
Most locations in the Guardian’s weekly travel section are not dependent on flying to get there, and are most easily accessible by train and public transportation. These range from Greek island-hopping odysseys to cycling holidays through Europe and city breaks served by train or ferries.
The range of our local guide is one of the most popular and most read features, because each feature is written by a local resident in the spirit of showing a visitor around their favorite affordable venues, rather than the attractions with a large ticket . Eating and drinking is probably the easiest way to get into a different culture, and there can be no better recommendation to eat and drink somewhere than from someone who lives there. Since the launch of Twitter more than 10 years ago, we have used tips from local people and have found bloggers across Europe to compile lists of their favorite inexpensive places to eat and drink.
On our website we have a long list of guides for alternative cities – Łódź, Genoa and Utrecht, Bern, Burgos and Bristol, for example – instead of fixed hotspots that are affected by over-tourism, such as Barcelona, Amsterdam and Venice.
One of the advantages of less flying is of course the possibility that it offers to explore the rich and varied landscapes of our own islands. In the summer we had a popular series of stories called car-free coast, in which the writer Phoebe Taplin explored the British coast on foot and by bus. Dixe Wills, a well-known public transport and non-flyer enthusiast, shared 20 of his favorite campsites that can be reached by train and bus. And Kevin Rushby set out on a UK expedition to less-visited locations that were impossible or prohibitively expensive to reach by car.
We still have occasional stories about distant destinations when there is an important initiative or project that benefits the environment or the local community, such as the development of community-led tourism startups in Chilean Patagonia after the launch of new national parks in , # 39; the world’s most ambitious rewilding project.
Tourism accounts for one in ten jobs in the world and is vital for some destinations. Kevin Rushby, our main travel writer, explains: “All over the world, people in disadvantaged communities have been working on setting up projects that depend on tourism and therefore fly. I have met hunters who have become nature guides, fishermen who are now diving instructors, farmers who receive money to show visitors their country and life. In Kenya, the large migration route has been saved by Maasai herders who club their land together as conservatives instead of selling it to hoteliers and intensive agricultural interests. Those conservancies depend on foreign visitors who pay to see animals in the wild. “
The Travel website now also has a carbon calculator and we have written about various CO2 compensation schemes – with which people can offset their carbon footprint by investing in clean energy projects such as solar energy or wind farms. Our travel section is printed and distributed in the UK, but our articles are read online by a global audience, so that in some cases readers don’t have to fly to the places we write about.
John Vidal’s article on reducing the number of flights we make quotes Kevin Anderson, professor of energy and climate change at Tyndall Center in Manchester: “I don’t have a flight ban, but a flight ban … If we fly, it should be for really extraordinary and important reasons. Otherwise we should not go, or we should take a slower form of travel and arrange a longer visit. “
Returning to that article about Helsinki, there is another Scandinavian lifestyle trend that has emerged as a positive counterbalance to “flygskam”, and that is “tagskryt” (bragging the train). Another reader of the article grasped his mind completely in the remark: “The journey is the holiday. Just think of all the places you encounter along the way. , # 39;
Because, of course, we have been traveling slowly over long distances since the 1970s, as noted. That was the decade when the Interrail scheme was launched. And, as Wills said when he visited the Interrail experience again this summer after a 30-year period: “How many of us have cherished memories of cheap zipping across Europe – immerse themselves in new and exciting esoteric cultures, befriend the local population, their language beyond mangling all understanding and enjoying all kinds of mind-expanding episodes. , # 39;
That is the spirit of adventure, we hope you will take them with you after reading the travel section.
. (tagsToTranslate) Travel (t) Membership (t) Environment (t) Climate change (t) Air transport (t) Flights (t) Ethical holidays (t) Ethical and green living (t) Greenhouse gas emissions (t) Carbon footprints