As we say goodbye to January, surely the distant promise of better weather is reason enough to plan a trip. Bicycles that are hibernating for winter may yet to be brushed off for a summer of riding, but there’s nothing to stop two-wheeled adventures being planned. If you’re tempted by the sunnier climes of continental Europe, Bike Express offers a coach-and-trailer service to whisks you and your bike to a variety of departure points.
Omio packs Europe’s diverse and complex transport system into a simple app that compares European flights with coach and rail prices for the same journey. Results can be filtered to show the cheapest and fastest options, while a third filter takes into account price, duration and departure time.
The app draws on data from more than 150 companies to allow you to plan a trip search from anywhere to anywhere in Britain, Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Switzerland. It will be of particular interest to those wishing to reduce the environmental impact of their travel. The average person in Britain already travels 10,400 km each year, a figure that does not include flights abroad. Rail and coach travel produces less damaging emissions than flying, but it can be complicated to compare different modes of transport alongside one another. Omio.co.uk
Loco2 is a recently launched web tool which allows you to plan and book rail travel from any British station to anywhere in Europe. Taking the train may be slower, but you’ll travel guilt-free and have a rich travel experience before you even arrive at your destination (not to mention getting an early start on that holiday reading).
The much loved InterRail scheme takes the concept of train travel itself as an adventure to the next level, allowing near-unlimited rail travel across 30 European countries across a set number of days; 251 euros buys 7 days’ travel within one month with under 25s travelling at a reduced rate.
For those of us who prefer a more rewarding, low-stress alternative to flying, which brings us closer to the world we live in and reduces our contribution to climate change, there is The Man in Seat Sixty-One, a site explaining how to travel comfortably & affordably by train or ferry. http://www.seat61.com/
Don’t miss the wealth of opportunities on our own doorstep. If you like the idea of skiing, surfing, trekking, farm stay, city break, or wildlife holidays without the need to fly, websites like VisitBritain highlight much that is possible without leaving the country.
Once you’ve decided where to go, another consideration for anyone wanting to make their break as ethical as possible is spending. Tourist pounds spent on independent businesses, markets and operators brings greater benefits to people at your destination. Use a guide like the Ethical Travel Guide published by Tourism Concern to find out how to benefit your host community through your stay.
ETA: The ethical choice
Not only are we ethical according to The Good Shopping Guide, but we campaign for sustainable transport. Sometimes that means protesting until a school gets the zebra crossing they’ve been refused or running 60 roadshows this year to encourage people out of their cars, or fixing bicycles for free. We also launched Green Transport Week and helped establish Car Free Day and Twenty’s Plenty to name just a few. We’ve been campaigning for sustainable transport in this way for 29 years with the help of people like you. Supporting this work is easy – you simply have to take out insurance with the ETA. Buy home insurance, cycle insurance, travel insurance or breakdown cover and we take care of the rest. We provide an excellent level of cover while putting concern for the environment at the heart of all we do.