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Planning a Holiday with No Planes Involved

When I was younger, I wasn’t exactly scared of flying; it just used to make me feel a little anxious. However, after a long-haul flight to and from Thailand, and travelling to and from uni for several years via the sky, I soon got over the nerves. However, my other half does not do well with flying, and last year said that he never wanted to fly again, which was a teeny tiny bit heartbreaking for the inner adventurer in me. This means that the destinations we can visit have been dramatically limited, and cue me spending hours and hours and hours researching the places that we will be able to visit…

Some of the options are a little more obvious, for example, the south of France is our favourite holiday destination, and getting there without flying is easy-peasy! However, there are many other places that I’d LOVE to visit but need to work out if it’s even possible to get there without flying. Not that it’s on the cards anytime soon, but I have always dreamed of visiting the Maldives (spoiler: I’ve not yet found a way to get there in a flightless manner).

Having spent hours researching, I thought I would put together a little guide of my findings for anyone who is looking to holiday without heading into the air due to a fear of flying. If you know of any other destinations and routes, I’d love to hear from you!

A sunset in Barnstaple, Devon over the bridge

Staycations

One of the most obvious holiday options without flying is naturally to take a staycation. This means you can opt for a road trip in the car, a train journey or bus ride; whatever takes your fancy and can often be cheaper than heading abroad. Staycations have massively risen in popularity in the UK over the last few years due to the recession, and now there are so many fantastic options. I think that glamping looks wonderful and has so many fun options for you to pick from.

Alternatively, hotels and Air B’n’B’s are available nearly everywhere these days and you can get some fantastic deals if you know where and when to look. The places I’d most like to visit (or re-visit in some cases) include: Cambridge, Bath, the Cotswolds and the Peak District, although, being Devon born and bred, I would certainly recommend taking a trip to this wonderful area. There’s SO many different places that are simply stunning that I sometimes struggle to believe are in the UK, let alone right on my doorstep! The UK actually offers a fab selection of holiday destinations (you just can’t rely on the weather staying warm and sunny for a full week or two…)

Booking a Eurostar holiday to Paris

Eurostar Destinations

The Eurostar makes travelling without a flight so much easier, and with just a two-hour and 15-minute journey from London you can be in sweet Paris! When we holiday to the south of France this year, we’re planning to spend a night in Paris before taking the train down to Marseille to break the trip up a little, and then onto our final destination of Theoulé sur Mer. You can take the Eurostar from London to Marseille direct too. Although this is far longer than flying, the route is quite picturesque, so you can sit back and relax and get into full holiday mode.

Other routes include the recently launched route to Amsterdam, Belgium, Brussels and a few other exciting destinations! I’ve not tested any of these out myself just yet, but I imagine that will change over the next few years!

I’d definitely recommend booking a few months in advance, as the prices can be super cheap a few months before but very pricy a few weeks before. Plus, they put on special discounts throughout the year (the last one finished around a week ago) where you can get a single trip to Paris for just £29! BARGAIN.

A woman waiting for a ferry

Other Routes

Morocco

This is another route that begins with the Eurostar, travelling to Paris, before transferring onto a TGV to Barcelona. Next, you can take a high-speed train to Algerciras to transfer to Tarifa and get the ferry to Tangier. From there you can take a train to some of the most popular destinations in Morocco including Casablanca, Fez and of course, Marrakech!

Although it may take a while – 12-hours minimum – there are plenty of incredible places to stop off at in between and lengthen your trip and make it a little easier going! Barcelona is B E A U T I F U L, so I would definitely recommend spending a day or two exploring there before continuing your adventure. I discovered that there are even companies that can book the entire trip, often called ‘The Marrakech Express’! This is definitely a holiday that you’d need 10-14 days to enjoy, but I have always wanted to visit Morocco and from everything I’ve read, the trip sounds like a truly remarkable experience.

Spain

With ferries available from Portsmouth and Plymouth to Santander and Bilbao, you can take your pick of Spanish locations to enjoy by simply hopping on a train or driving to your desired destination once you arrive. Plus, this means you can bring your own car instead of renting one when you arrive, making it easier to travel around. Some of the most popular places to visit include Costa del Sol and Marbella, but even staying in the city will offer a fantastic experience.

New York

Who knew that you could travel to New York without flying?! I certainly didn’t! Although, it does come at quite a hefty cost, and again, adds quite a lot of extra travel time to your trip. From what I’ve read, the quickest route takes three days, and you’ll be about a luxury cruise ship, typically from Cunard (hence the luxury price tag, a minimum of £600pp each way). However, this is another trip that a lot of people have said that the experience is simply incredible and is so worthwhile, if you have the time and the money!

The Caribbean (and everywhere else)

Now, the further I got into this research, and the more my brain hurt, the more I discovered that there’s actually few places that you can’t reach without flying – great news, right?

Well, the downside is that for a large portion of the other trips you’ll again be paying a hefty price for a luxury cruise, where you’ll most likely have to stop off in other destinations too. I have to admit, I’m not the biggest fan of travelling on water and do get a little seasick, (although apparently this isn’t a problem on cruise ships due to their stability), but it seems like a long time to be stuck on a boat. I’m going to continue my research and add a follow-up post to this one when I find out more – so keep your eyes peeled.

In the meantime, if anyone has any tips on no-flight holidays from the UK, or any blogs, please, please, please pop them in the comments so I can have a read! I would also love to hear about your own no-fly travel experiences, so don’t forget to holla!

 

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9 Comments

  1. I think seeing your own area is a great idea. I am jealous of your options to see Europe from the UK. We just don’t have the high-speed trains you have – plus expensive. Great post.

  2. I’m from Canada, so driving across the country (and continent) is definitely an option! Europe is so well connected by train that if you’ve got the time, You can get pretty much anywhere ☺ (My friend actually connected with her doctor on coping mechanisms and finding out why her flying anxiety was so paralysing, as she had to fly from Winnipeg to Auckland for a wedding, and didn’t have extra vacation time/money to drive and cruise. Doctors can be surprisingly helpful!) I think that with all of these options, you’ve got holidays set for a while!

  3. I have to agree that there is so much to travel than journies that involve plane travel. Staycations have really come up in the recent years and I think Day Trips also make for fun excursions. Europe has the benefit of great connections between countries, but then again India is so huge that even though within the same country we can be in a totally different part that has separate dialects and traditions and make for a great way to explore more of my own country.

  4. I have such anxiety flying too! I’m always looking for destinations that I can go to without flying! Last December I took am 8-hour bus ride from Seville to Lisbon and loved it! No unnecessary panicking about check-in luggage and turbulence.

  5. I had no idea you could get from the U.K. to New York without flying! Although in hindsight I probably should have known (isn’t that how Newt Scamander did it on Fantastic Beasts?!). I think a lot of people don’t even consider plane-free travel for their holidays as they don’t think they’ll be able to get far away enough (especially from the U.K., because of the whole being an island thing!) but you totally can!

  6. Thanks for the great number of destinations that can be reached without planes. For me, this would be terrible as I am an absolute flying enthusiast – I’d choose a plane over a train at any time and I fly much more than 100 legs each year – and I love each one of them.

  7. While flying is an essential component when travelling over long distances, I end up travelling to nearby places, in a bus or a train, to make the best out of the weekends.

  8. Love this post, I am now busy thinking of so many places I can go to that are easy to get to without flying, something I will now research more. Airports exhaust me lol although I do love flights. But its nice to also try out different ways of travel too.

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