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5 Alternatives To Flying: Make the journey the adventure itself!

It is no secret that flying is the quickest & most cost-effective way to travel over seas. However, for shorter distances, we suggest opting for greener and sometimes more intrepid alternatives.

Vdora ambassador Beatriz suggests looking at the journey as the adventure itself. She describes why choosing greener, alternative travel arrangements make getting from point A to point B more interesting:

When planning the next trip, one of the major concerns is how we are going to get there, isn’t it? And usually the first choice that comes to mind is buying airline tickets. Milles from credit cards and loyalty programs make prices attractive, trips tend to be the shortest possible even when long distances are involved and arrangements can be easily done online or by phone.

But, of course, all the drawbacks of flying are also well known by everybody: Airports often have long lines for the check-in and security procedures, boarding gates can get cramped, seats on planes are not so spacious, during layovers in large airports travelers need to get from one gate to another in a very short amount of time and luggage can be lost or damaged.

What people normally have in mind when they travel is that the adventure begins only when we arrive at our destination. Why not consider the journey itself as the beginning of the adventure? Forget the "comforts" of flying.

Let’s check out our options:

 

1. Traveling by Train

 

  • Train Stations usually CONNECT MAJOR CITIES, and in some areas, you can CROSS COUNTRIES. Did you know that you can now travel from London to Paris in 2 hours with a high speed train?
  • You can TRULY RELAX when traveling by Train. You don't have to worry about finding a ride to the airport as train stations are usually in the city centre. Plus the views can be amazing.
  • You can freely GET UP and WALK AROUND. 
  •  It is also EASY TO BOOK your tickets. In most of the countries you can do it both online or at the station, and the FARES tend to be MUCH CHEAPER.

Green Trivia: Did you know that travelling by rail is on average 3-10 times less CO2 intensive compared with road or air transport?!
Source: (http://www.cer.be/publications/latest-publications/rail-transport-and-environment-facts-figures)

 

2. Traveling by Boat


Who said only cargoes should travel by sea? The oceans can be a good alternative to the sky as your means of travelling. For short distances, FERRIES may be a a good choice to cross waters.

  • The VIEW. Going through bays and rivers can take you to places you wouldn’t have thought of visiting - like the Star Ferry in Hong Kong, China, that delivers a spectacular view of the city skyline.
  • Trips are typically LAID BACK, away from the hustle and bustle on land.
  • Some routes include TOURIST ATTRACTIONS – like the Staten Island Ferry in New York City, that takes you to the Statue of Liberty and the Ellis Island, or the Bosphorus Ferry in Istanbul, Turkey, that carries you past the most splendid sights of the city.

Green Fact: Did you know that new technologies have been developed to make boats and ferries more eco-friendly vehicles?! Electric power boats that can be charged overnight are already available in the market, also new diesel-electric ferries with emission-reduced technology are already been used in some countries of Europe! Source: (http://www.maritimejournal.com/news101/vessel-build-and-maintenance/ship-and-boatbuilding/eco-friendly-ferry-ready-for-service)

 

Another good option for SEA Traveling are CRUISES. They are a pretty good example that the journey can mean more that the arrival. Usually they come and go the same departing point, and the EXPERIENCE during the journey is ALL THAT MATTERS.


3. Traveling by Car (carpool)


Since we are thinking about making the journey an adventure, what is better than a ROAD TIP?! Everybody should do it at least once in life.

Is it tiring? Yes, it is. But the memories you create on the road will be worthwhile. For many reasons, carpooling is our favourite:

 

  • FLEXIBILITY. You can decide where to go and when to go. You can stop as many times as you and reroute depending on how you feel.
  • You DON’T PAY FOR BAGGAGE
  • You can discover ATTRACTIONS along your drive: beautiful villages, hills, markets..
  • You can CARPOOL WITH FRIENDS and SHARE THE COSTS
  • It is very likely that you will FIND SPOTS and SEE THINGS you had NEVER EXPECTED or planned to. 

Green Tips:
GET YOUR CAR TUNED UP.
Problems such as a dirty air filter or tires that are not fully inflated can reduce your car’s fuel efficiency.
When you can, opt for a HYBRID ELECTRIC CAR, which will reduce your emissions by up to 51%
Source: (https://www.terrapass.com/road-trip)

 

4. Traveling by Bike


Bicycles can be a good option to EXPLORE A CITY. If you're feeling extra adventurous, you can even see the world! It surely will demand a lot from your body condition, but it also will be a memorable achievement. If you think this is a crazy idea, here are some POSITIVE ASPECTS of traveling by bike to help you get in the mood:

 

  • You can DETERMINE YOUR TIMETABLE. You don’t need to wait for anybody; you can STOP WHENEVER YOU WANT, and GO BACK ON THE ROAD ANY TIME YOU FEEL GOOD TO. 
  • Perfect for VISITING LOCALLY as you can make your way easily through small streets that may not be accessible by car.
  • You will be inspired to RETHINK YOUR TRAVEL NECESSITIES
    That 32kg luggage that you love to carry will have to stay at home, and maybe it will help you see WHAT IS REALLY ESSENTIAL FOR YOU. 
  • Cycling is an EXCELLENT EXERCISE. Regular cycling could lead to better health.

Green Fact: Riding bikes = emits ZERO GREENHOUSE POLLUTION

 

5. Traveling by Bus


If you are tired of planes, the good old bus is still there for you! Traveling by bus can be a unique experience as it is a different travel style and it can change completely your perception of the surroundings. Here is a list of reasons to consider a BUS TRIP:


  • There is a COUNTLESS VARIETY of bus routes both within cities, states and countries, and crossing boarders, since practically EVERY CITY HAS A BUS STATION. 
  • Generally, PRICES DON'T CHANGING ABRUPTLY. If you decide your destination on the last minute, it is still possible to find a seat for a good price. 
  • Just like TRAIN STATIONS, BUS STATIONS are usually located in the city centre and don't require checking in hours before your boarding time. 
  • LUGGAGE ALLOWANCE is more generous. 
Green Fact: Considering the number of people a single bus can carry compared to a car, it is already considered a cleaner way to travel. Manufactures and bus companies are now investing in technology to improve the vehicles environmental performance, focusing on electric / hybrid engines, as well as testing different kinds of fuels such as propane/ natural gas instead of diesel fuels!

 

BONUS ALTERNATIVE


In case you are looking for a completely unique experience, consider the most basic means of travel: WALKING! Of course, a journey like this requires specific planning and good body condition. You will be your own means of transportation and luggage carrier. If you decide on trying long distance walking, have in mind that:

 

  • It could be a SLOW-PACED ADVENTURE as you will be completely immersed in the journey, covering fewer miles a day;
  • You will see CULTURE & NATURE closely; 
  • It can feel like a PERSONAL ACCOMPLISHMENT when you get to the end of your journey; surely, it will be one of the MOST MEMORABLE TRIPS you ever took.

One of the most FAMOUS routes for walking trips is the CAMINO DE SANTIGO, or The Way of Saint James, which is a network of "pilgrims’ ways". The routes are spread along many countries, through many routes, for example Portuguese Way, Primitive Way, English Way and French Way, which is the most famous starting in Pyrenees - all of them leading to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Depending on the route you choose to take, the journey can span from one day to five weeks.

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For your next trip, plan something different! Give yourself the opportunity to not only cut your carbon footprint but also tackle on travel a different way. Be open to the adventure in front of you!

Have a nice trip! 

- Beatriz