Alternatives to Travelling Abroad Without Flying
Scared of flying? Don’t want to fly? Don’t like planes? Wanting to travel on a tighter budget? Or just want to travel in a different way for a change? Well, there are plenty of different options out there, that don’t just involve flying. Of course, to do a long-haul flight, there are very little alternatives that don’t involve weeks of travelling, but if you’re just looking to explore a few different countries in a different way, then that’s completely possible.
Nowadays flying seriously stresses me out. The waiting around, the stress of almost missing the flight, the airport commute, the luggage restrictions. Over the past few years, I’ve explored different avenues of travel, in hope that I can see things in a different way. So here are 5 alternatives to travelling abroad without actually flying.
1. Don’t Want to Fly? Go by Coach
I used to absolutely detest coach trips and if someone told me that I’d be on them reasonably often, then I wouldn’t have believed them for a second. One thing I’ve learnt from coach trips is that it gets better with practice. I’m so used to it now, that long journeys no longer phase me and in fact, the journey goes really quickly. Taking a pillow, a selection of downloaded films and a book makes the time pass.
Coach trips are by far one of the cheapest ways to travel, it’s actually mad how far you can go for only the price of a takeaway. I once went from South Holland to Copenhagen for €18 euros for a return trip. When I first came to Holland, I travelled from London and it only cost me £1.50 one way! Admittedly going by coach takes a lot of time, but you can travel overnight and with prices like that, how could you say no!?
2. Don’t Want to Fly? Go by Car
I’ve already tried to convince people why travelling by car is completely underrated in my previous article. Travelling by car actually gives you a ton of freedom over many other forms of transport. You can go exactly where you want, exactly when you want and for as long as you want. I live in South Holland and have gone as far as Budapest, Croatia and Sicily by car, stopping everywhere on the way. Next time we are planning on going much further than that even.
Travelling by car gives you the opportunity to stop literally everywhere. You can also go out in the middle of nowhere and explore hidden beauty spots. One of my favourite things to do is take a beautiful route in somewhere like Switzerland. Last time we took the Gotthard Pass route and it was absolutely breathtaking.
3. Don’t Want to Fly? Go by Train
It’s no secret that travelling by train is an epic way of travelling from country to country. Interrailing is a popular way for (especially) youngsters to travel abroad without setting foot on a plane. The truth is though, that interrailing is an expensive way to travel by train. If you look at how much day tickets cost from country to country, you’ll be able to see that buying those tickets individually will likely work out much cheaper. (I’ll compile a guide to this after I try it out for myself in January).
Trains are by one of the most comfortable ways to travel. You can get up, walk around, you aren’t strapped in, you can (usually) get access to charging ports (depending on where you are in the world), you have access to food and toilet facilities and it’s generally not unpleasant.
4. Don’t Want to Fly? Go by Boat
I pretty regularly go by boat when I’m travelling. Again, it’s a comfortable way to travel. You aren’t strapped in, you can walk around (and walk quite far depending on the boat), you have good access to food and toilet facilities. Sometimes you have your own room and can just sleep the journey away (I’ve done this so many times – best sleep ever). If you’re on a cruise, you’ll usually have actual restaurants, bars, spa, gym and pool facilities. In some cases, it can be a luxury way to travel.
Sometimes you have the option of getting on a boat as a passenger, or with a bike or a car, so you can explore further afield. Travelling by boat can give you the most incredible views that you wouldn’t have ever had any other way.
5. Don’t Want to Fly? Go by Bike
There are two ways of looking at this: motorbikes and bicycles.
In terms of motorbikes, I’ve known many different people to travel from country to country on their motorbikes… and they loved it! Especially if you get great sea views or mountain routes. If you love to be on your motorbike, then this really can be one way to travel. There’s actually a British documentary series called Long Way Round, all about a couple of guys who travelled literally all the way around the world on their motorbikes.
In terms of bicycles, this is still completely possible, yet very restrictive of course. I’ve known many people who have travelled from country to country this way. It’s popular in the UK to take the London – Paris or London – Brussels route. Sometimes it’s for charity, sometimes it’s for fun and sometimes it’s for both. I personally have only biked within the same country, but I did travel 350km in only a few short days stopping along the way and riding along both the German and Belgian border. It definitely was an experience and I loved it.
Of course, this is only an alternative form of transport if you like bikes and don’t mind the sore bum. 😉
So there you have it, 5 alternatives to flying. If you’re looking for a new way to adventure, then this is it! Drop a comment below about your experiences travelling without setting foot on a plane.
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