How To Embrace Slow Travel in the UK and Europe

For many of us, living more sustainably is at the forefront of our minds whether that is by reducing waste, choosing reusables, taking part in conservation work or reducing our carbon footprint we all know that these small actions will lead to positive change. One effective way of significantly reducing your carbon emissions is to ditch the plane for your travel plans and opt for something greener such as a train, campervan or coach. With great connections and wonderful scenery to take in, this is both achievable and rewarding when travelling around the UK and Europe. Let’s look at how to embrace slow travel this year…

The Benefits and Joys of Sustainable Travel

Travelling sustainably can bring so many advantages, from reducing the environmental impact that is so often associated with travel to connecting you with local cultures and communities, and slowing right down before your holiday has actually begun. Just sit back, take your time, admire the views and fully unwind from your busy life.

Exploring the UK and Europe by Train

Trains are one of the most eco-friendly ways to travel as well as being comfortable, relaxing and convenient. They emit significantly less CO2 per passenger mile compared to planes and cars, meaning you can travel long distances without having that eco-guilt looming over you. Spacious seating, the ability to walk around and scenic views make train journeys not just a means of getting from A to B, but an enjoyable part of the travel experience. The UK boasts an extensive rail network, including iconic routes like the Caledonian Sleeper from London to Scotland, the scenic Settle-Carlisle line and the Great Western Railway to the West Country. Europe’s rail network is renowned for its efficiency, with the Eurostar connecting London to Paris and Brussels, and high-speed trains like the TGV and ICE linking major cities across France, Germany, Spain and beyond. If you are looking to explore multiple countries, the Interrail Pass offers flexible and economical travel across Europe.

Hiring a Campervan

Campervans provide an excellent way to travel sustainably whilst offering freedom and flexibility. Modern campervans are designed to be fuel-efficient, with many electric and hybrid options available and, with multiple seats onboard, you can travel with the whole family. A huge benefit of travelling in a campervan is that you have your accommodation right there with you, reducing the need for hotel stays and their associated environmental impacts. Additionally, campervans allow you to explore remote areas and enjoy nature without the constraints of fixed itineraries. To make your campervan travel as sustainable as possible, ensure that you choose eco-friendly vehicles, minimise your waste as much as possible by using reusable products and dispose of all of your waste responsibly. Remember to follow the Leave No Trace principles, park in designated areas and avoid disturbing wildlife. For a wide selection of campervans to hire, visit GoBoony, a platform that connects you with campervan owners across the UK and Europe.

a campervan at sunset in Scotland

Coach Travel

Coach travel is another great sustainable option that will help to significantly reduce your carbon footprint compared to flying or driving alone. Coaches are energy-efficient and can accommodate many passengers, making them one of the greenest modes of long-distance travel. Travelling by coach is also very cost-effective and often provides routes to destinations that might be less accessible by train. Companies like National Express and Megabus in the UK, FlixBus and Eurolines in Europe, offer extensive networks that connect major cities and towns, allowing you to travel both comfortably and sustainably.

Getting Around Sustainably

In addition to trains, campervans and coaches you could also consider using other sustainable travel options such as biking, which is facilitated by many European cities’ bike-friendly infrastructure that comes complete with dedicated lanes and bike-sharing programs. Utilising public transport systems like buses, trams and subways can significantly reduce your carbon footprint while allowing you to move efficiently around urban areas. And lastly, exploring cities on foot is another great way to reduce your environmental impact, and discover hidden gems whilst being able to immerse yourself in the local atmosphere.

bikes at a canal in Europe

Embracing Slow Travel in the UK and Europe

Instead of hopping from city to city, consider spending several days or weeks in one place to truly absorb the local atmosphere. Participate in local activities, visit markets and dine at family-run restaurants to experience the culture from a local perspective whilst putting your money back into local businesses rather than huge corporations. Try your best to plan your travels to include off-peak times and lesser-known destinations to avoid crowds and over-tourism, allowing for a more tranquil and rewarding journey.

Travelling slowly and sustainably in the UK and Europe is not only better for the planet but also offers a more enriching and enjoyable experience. By choosing some of the transportation discussed here you can make a positive impact on the environment whilst creating lasting memories.

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