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!
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…)
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.
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.
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.
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!