Here is the second in a three-part series exploring alternatives to traveling on planes.
What Go Girl doesn’t love traveling overland, getting up close and personal with the local people and culture? It is what traveling is all about, really getting under the skin to understand the place that you are traveling through. For me, there is nothing better than slowly making my way through a place and taking it all in.
Yet, I know that this is not always possible. Many people have a time limit on their travels or visas and this is where air travel often comes in handy. Although I have to admit that I do love flying, I know how bad it is for the environment.
In part one of this three part series, we investigated how to travel sans flying by using the human body as a transport method. But a walking or cycling holiday is not for everyone. The good news is there are other great ways of traveling without raising too many carbon dioxide emissions.
Next time you are planning a trip, consider spending all of your travel time with your feet (kind of) planted on the ground. It maybe a slower way to travel but it also opens up to seeing a place in a whole new way.
Below are the top 6 ways of traveling by land:
Even though an 18 hour bus journey may not sound too attractive, there are benefits to bus travel. In South America, for example, it is the cheapest way of getting around the large continent but the journeys are often long and the buses can range in road worthiness. Traveling by bus can range from 5 star luxury (with reclining seats and meals) to being crammed onto a bus (with chickens, bags of rice and too many people) for extended periods of time.
In some regions of the world, it may be your only travel option. And I guarantee that you will be able to catch glimpses of the landscape that you would have missed if you had flown!
There is still something glamorous and old world about traveling through the countryside by train. Although, depending on which part of the world you are traveling through, the experience may be one to remember or one you’d rather forget. The Trans-Mongolian and Trans-Siberian railway is still one of the most famous train journeys in the world. Train travel allows you to sit back, relax and watch the countryside go by.
Like bus travel, train journeys can range in comfort and style but can be a really great and affordable way of getting around. In Europe, a EuRail pass can offer discounted rail travel through many countries on the continent. Not only could you witness stunning mountain scenery but you could also be catch up on some much needed sleep!
HIRE A VAN
Have you ever thought of hiring a hippie van and driving your way around a country or continent? This is a great way of seeing a new place and it also doubles up as your accommodation! So you save money on a hostel bed!
Hiring a van is a very popular travel mode in Australia and New Zealand. It gives you the flexibility to go where you want, when you want. If you are looking for other travelers to join your journey, have a look at hostel noticeboards where there are usually others advertising free seats in their cars. Post a note up yourself!
CAR SHARING/CAR POOLING
The idea of car sharing is starting to gain popularity in many parts of the world and in Europe it is already a well-established mode. This is the ultimate in green travel as you are lowering your carbon dioxide emissions by pooling together with other people who want to travel in the same direction but are only using one car.
Car Pooling is a website where you can sign up and ask people for shared travel in Europe. They claim to have saved 1,400,000 tons of carbon emissions since the websites inception. Pretty cool, huh?
This final tip is one for the adventurous and those that want to save, not only carbon dioxide emissions, but money. Not only is this a low cost/free travel option but you meet some really interesting people along the way. If you don’t feel comfortable hitchhiking alone, then see if you can buddy up with someone. Ask around at the hostel to find out if other travelers have hitchhiked and if they have found it easy and safe.
It is also another form of car sharing and a way of being adventurous while also being environmentally friendly.
In this age of low-cost airlines, it seems all too easy to book a flight to get to your next destination. Yet, with a little more time and flexibility you can see more of a country and have some memorable experiences by traveling by land.
*This post originally appeared on the Travel Go Girl Magazine website as part of the Eco Backpacker column I write for them. You can read the original here*