Flight free holidays travel guide

Fallen out of love with flying? You’re not the only one. From the moment you enter the airport it’s a painful experience. Slow-moving check-in queues, liquid bans, irritating weight limits, security checks, delays, the joy of trying to find space in the overhead lockers. And that’s before we get on to the carbon footprint of air travel. So why bother?
Going flight free isn’t just more eco-friendly and less of a hassle. It restores a sense of romance and adventure to travel.
When you treat the journey to your destination as part of the holiday, getting there becomes far more relaxed and pleasant. In this guide we’ll show you how easy it can be to travel around Europe – and beyond – from the UK, with expert advice from our responsible tourism partners and inspiring itinerary ideas. The sky’s the limit when you stay on the ground.
Read our flight free holidays travel guide for more details.

Flight free holidays are…

eco-friendly, fun and easier to organise than you might think.

Flight free holidays aren’t…

about ‘shaming’, but fast and cheap aren’t always best.

What do flight free holidays entail?

Aha, you cry, the clue is in the name! And you’d be right. But it’s not quite as simple as cutting out the flights; it’s also about thinking how you can still get to where you want to go without flying. These are holidays where you reach your destination by road, rail or boat rather than going by air.

Now, we’re not expecting this travel guide to convince you never to fly again. But if you’re reading this, then the chances are that you’re already thinking about at least reducing the amount you fly, quite possibly for environmental reasons. While this might seem a bit odd and counterproductive for a travel company – we actually think it would be great if everyone flew less.

So we hope this guide will do three things: 1) assure you that flying less is a great thing to accomplish; 2) show you that going flight free doesn’t mean limiting your travel ambitions; 3) give you some practical advice on where and how to get started.

Getting ahead of yourself

Our flight free holidays are for the most part to destinations across Europe that can be reached within 72 hours at a leisurely pace. After all, if you’re committing to going flight free, why rush it? But as you’ll see when reading about long-haul rail journeys, there’s nothing to stop the more ambitious among you from setting your sights a little higher. If you’re confident with getting around Spain by rail, who’s to say you can’t add on a boat transfer to the Balearics or Morocco? Or if you’re comfortable with taking the iconic Trans Mongolian Railway then why not continue on past Beijing?

How our responsible tour operators can help

Many of the holidays on our website offer discounts to travellers who can prove that they’ve arrived by train, as part of their own commitments to sustainability. We also have travel partners, several of whom you’ll hear from in this guide, that go one step further. They can help you get to your holiday by rail, road or boat with expert advice you can rely on, and in some cases they’ll make all the booking arrangements for you. You can opt for Grand Tour-like train odysseys around the great European capitals with an Interrailing holiday, or a well off-the-beaten-track adventure to Georgia, Iran, or even the Arctic that will have you regaling dinner parties for years to come.

Our top Flight free Holiday

Amalfi coast family holiday in Italy

Amalfi coast family holiday in Italy

Pompeii, Mt Vesuvius and the dramatic Amalfi Coast

From £1949 to £2249 8 days inc UK flights
Small group travel:
2023: 21 Oct
2024: 23 Mar, 30 Mar, 6 Apr, 25 May, 13 Jul, 20 Jul, 3 Aug, 17 Aug, 19 Oct
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Flight free or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.

Flight free family holidays

The more kids you have, the less economical flying starts to look. Flight free holidays can be fab for families: you can easily get younger kids deep into France and beyond, breaking up the journey with a hotel stay here and there. They can wander (adult in tow) safely up and down the train corridors to their hearts’ content. Kids aged nine and upwards should be fine travelling longer distances, and watching scenery drift by over a few games of cards is a much preferable way to spend time together as a family instead of sitting bored in the departures lounge at the airport.

Very moreish

Yes, it’s almost always cheaper and faster to fly. But this guide aims to show you that it’s rarely the best way to travel. Going flight free is more comfortable, more relaxing, more adventurous, more scenic, more fun and more romantic. It is for those who want to savour the journey just as much as the holiday itself.
Written by Rob Perkins
Photo credits: [Page banner: Kevin Schmid] [Topbox: Patrick Schneider] [Train station: KNeB YKPaNHa] [Getting ahead of yourself: Kyle Taylor]