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Travel future

2020 travels: My flight-free year

Normally at the start of the year I set out my travel plans for the year, with a few flights booked and a big wishlist of places around the world I’m hoping to visit. But this year things are a bit different as I’m taking on a real travel challenge – going #FlightFree for 2020!

I’ve never been the biggest fan of flying but always saw it as a means to an end – and an occupational hazard of being a travel blogger – racking up a couple of long-haul trips and a few more short-haul budget airline flights around Europe most years. But after studying sustainable tourism over the last year, one thing that really hit me was the huge – and rising – impact that flying has on the environment and the contribution it’s making to climate change.

The carbon emissions from one Transatlantic return flight are more than a year’s worth of eating meat or driving. I’ve been trying to live more sustainably over the last couple of years, but it would take a lot of bamboo toothbrushes and secondhand clothes to make up for that. And although I’ve been carbon offsetting my flights for a while now, it’s not a perfect solution.

So I’m going all in and committing to not taking any flights this year as part of the Flight Free 2020 campaign. That doesn’t mean I won’t be travelling though, but instead I’ll be seeing how far I can get by train and boat, as well as exploring places closer to home. It’s going to mean some changes to my travel style, with longer trips and slower travel, but I’m hoping to show it can be done, and cutting down on flights doesn’t mean travel can’t still be adventurous.

Upcoming travel plans

Well that was the plan! Turns out 2020’s travels have turned out very differently than any of us planned. The coronavirus pandemic meant train trips to Sicily, Malta and Austria were all cancelled and instead I’ve been back at home in Cheltenham since March (so at least I’ve managed my Flight Free target even if not quite as a planned it). With all the uncertainty around travel at the moment I’m sticking to UK travel for now, exploring the Cotswolds over the summer then heading off to Scotland and Cornwall later in the year. Fingers crossed!