As the pandemic hit and travel as we knew it went into freefall, Byway was founded to bring slow, sustainable holidays to the mainstream. It offers flight-free holidays in the UK and Europe, taking people on joyful journeys away from the beaten path by train, bus, boat and bike. Here, Lizzie from Byway shares their slow travel ethos, and their vision for the future of holidays.
For much of the past year the brakes have been on travel and we’ve had to stay at home. A common discussion topic over Zoom has become, ‘if you could go anywhere right now, where would you go?’. Holidays in 2020 were crammed into brief periods in which travel was permitted, and for those not lucky enough to get away, the joys of a relaxing break in a new place remained a dream for the future.
While flights were grounded on a global scale for the first time and cars left unused, wildlife reappeared and flourished as CO2e emissions dropped. Meanwhile, we’ve all been forced to slow down and connect more deeply with our local areas. While the delight in discovering a previously unknown local park or footpath is of course countered with days when the four walls of home just couldn’t feel any smaller, the pandemic has taught us to slow down and appreciate what’s around us. We’re all eager to travel again and to start exploring again, and the most delightful and sustainable way to do that is to travel through the world, rather than fly over it.
Switching planes for trains not only makes for a more relaxed and fun way to travel, it also significantly reduces the carbon impact of a holiday.
Taking the train between European cities costs the planet six times less CO2e than flying (EcoPassenger) and taking the train from London to Paris instead of flying cuts CO2e emissions by 90% (Eurostar).
Slow travel is about taking time over journeys that allow you to connect with the people, culture, history and food of a region in a meaningful way. It’s a movement with, at its core, the belief that mindful travel is a wonderful way to experience our world. Instead of flying, with slow travel you use trains, buses, bikes, ferries and even your own two feet to explore delightful hidden gems away from the crowds. You experience and appreciate the natural shifts and changes in landscape and culture that you miss when flying over them. Byway is part of the slow travel movement. Our slow travel ethos is at the heart of all the holidays we create, whether they are UK staycations or adventures through continental Europe.
2021 will be the year slow travel comes into its own, with more people than ever experiencing grounded trips by train, boat, bus and bike that are as delightful as they are sustainable.