Can you make it to jet zero? The best no-fly vacation for 2022



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ow on row of sleek private jets line the runway. Influential passengers disembark, ready to chat and negotiate power deals. This is not a scene of Succession, or even annual billionaires from Davos. Rather, it is a snapshot of Glasgow Airport during the COP26 summit earlier this month. In total, 118 private jets burned more than 1,000 tonnes of CO2 transporting Bill Gates and Boris Johnson to the most urgent climate summit in history. The cries of hypocrisy were deafening and, just like that, flying was extremely overwhelmed.

It’s time. The travel industry is responsible for eight percent of global emissions. That last minute flight at the end of the summer to Mallorca? It will accumulate 255 kg of CO2, more than some people emit in a whole year. Your annual long weekend in New York? Sorry, but you’re looking at 986 kg of dirty air.

There are signs that our habits are changing, however. Booking.com says more than 70% of UK travelers are now looking for sustainable travel options, while some countries are leading the way towards Jet Zero, such as France which has banned domestic flights under two hours and half. According to Responsible Travel, requests for non-flying travel have doubled over the past five years, as has demand for rail vacations. Here’s how to get to jet zero …

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express from Belmond

/ Belmond

London to Venice in style

Non-flying travel is much more luxurious, if you do it right. Skip those teary-eyed morning security lines at Stansted and hop aboard the Eurostar at St Pancras International (eurostar.com). From there, settle into the Hôtel Madame Rêve (mrandmrssmith.com) – an incredibly chic new hotel located in the former Louvre post office – for a few intoxicating Parisian nights. Then it’s on the Thello train (thello.com) bound for Venice for three nights at the trendy Il Palazzo Experimental (palazzoexperimental.com) before the piece de resistance: a slumber party on Belmond’s Venice Simplon-Orient-Express ( belmond.com) back to London.

Hoxton Paris

/ Hoxton

Interrailing with The Hoxton

The Hoxton’s new Travel Pledge offering will add a touch of luxury to your summer 2022 interrail plans (a global pass starts at £ 139; interrail.eu/en). Book 10 nights to use at all Hoxton hotels around the world. Our tip: Prepare your overnight stay and set off on a 10-day European adventure from the Southwark outpost in the capital before taking the Eurostar to Paris, Brussels or Amsterdam. From there, take your pick of stays in Berlin, Barcelona or the new Rome hotel.

Self-guided kayaking in Sweden

/ Sweden

Self-guided kayaking in Sweden

There are over 6,000 islands dotted around the Swedish archipelago of St. Anne. Show up by train (travel to Dunkirk or Amsterdam for train and bus connections to Valdemarsvik) to collect your tip kit and set off on the adventure of a lifetime. For five days, you’ll camp on uninhabited islands, drink in secluded pubs, walk through ancient pine forests, and kick off the ocean chill in a wood-fired sauna by the water. This is low on environmental impact, high on memories.

You want an unforgettable vacation, but your bank balance is less favorable. Interrail has created a rail route serving only the cheapest cities in Europe. Give yourself two to three weeks and practice surfing from Warsaw in Poland to Bucharest in Romania via Krakow, ÄŒeský Krumlov in the Czech Republic, Bratislava in Slovakia, Budapest in Hungary, Zagreb in Croatia, Belgrade in Serbia, Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Sofia, Bulgaria. The plane emits six times more greenhouse gases than a high-speed train – a guilt-free summer vacation, here you come.

Il Palazzo Experimental

/ he experimental palace

Croatian coastline by train

Head to Turin via the Eurostar and high-speed TGV train – arrive in time for the aperitif and spend a night in one of Italy’s best food towns before catching the train to pretty Ljubljana in Slovenia with a stop in Venice for lunch. Continue to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, by train, then to Split for three nights to eat, drink, and get your fix of Game of Thrones (much of the show was filmed in Diocletian’s Palace). Take the ferry to the beautiful island of Hvar to discover boujis beach bars and beautiful people-watching. To mix things up, head back to London via the Alps and Munich.

It’s all aboard the Eurostar (eurostar.com) to Paris for one night followed by the TGV to Milan. Stay overnight and eat as much pasta as you can – or head to the port of Bari in Puglia to catch the overnight ferry to Corfu (directferries.co.uk). You arrived! Reward yourself with a four-night stay at seaside The Olivar Suites, a serene new hotspot on the site of an ancient olive grove and mill overlooking the Ionian Sea.

Standard Eurostar return, train to Italy, hotels and ferry, £ 1,267; mrandmrssmith.com

Olivar Suites Corfu

Let Michelin-starred chef Simon Rogan be your culinary guide on this week-long tasting tour of England. It all starts at one of the UK’s best country hotels, Heckfield Place, which is eco-friendly (currently working towards full biodynamic certification). From there, sip but don’t spit on a private wine tasting in Exton Park, Hampshire, before heading to London for a three-night stay at the Brown Hotel and an intimate dinner in the kitchen Rogan Development Center, Aulis. End the trip in the Lake District and have a seasonal experience at Rogan’s signature restaurant, L’Enclume, by the river in the pretty village of Cartmel.

Simon Rogan’s anvil

/ Black Tomato

Yoga and walking retreat in Spain

Start your day with morning chants and end it with detoxifying yin yoga on this six-day retreat in the mountains outside of Valencia. In between, choose from meditation sessions, mindful hikes, time in the pool, hatha or vinyasa yoga. Three locally sourced vegetarian meals per day are included. Travel from London to Valencia by train, then hop on a bus or book a rental car.

Beautiful Scotland

/ Black Tomato

Isle of Skye & Cairngorms Hike

Travel slowly to Inverness by train to start this luxurious hike in Scotland. You tick off Skye, Morar’s pristine coastline, blow the cobwebs with a tour of the Hebridean Islands, private whiskey tasting, and mountain biking. The magnificent five star Glencoe House in the Highlands will be your base. Stay an extra day to enjoy an Instagram moment on the “Harry Potter” train through Glenfinnan.

Around the world in 80 days (without flying)

Are all of that unused pandemic annual leave piling up? If your boss allows it, take an 80-day round-the-world trip aboard a working freighter. Travel through Europe to Central Asia, then to the United States and back to the United Kingdom (ending in Liverpool).


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