Guardian climate pledge 2019: ‘With air travel, it’s best to take a flexitarian approach’ | Environment

We recently published a guide to Helsinki in which we gave details of how to get there and back without flying. In the comments below the article, a reader wrote: “I think you have to concede that it’s a little disingenuous to pretend that people will be going to Helsinki by train and boat … very few will be willing to allocate six days of the holiday just for the journey. It’s simply not a practical suggestion.”

The rise of low-cost flights over the past 20 or so years means we have become so accustomed to flying everywhere for our holidays and short breaks that the idea of taking so long over a journey has become unthinkable. We expect to maximise our time in a location and minimise our time in transit. But maybe that has to change.

Another reader put this into context: “In the 70s it was customary to travel around Europe by train (or bus, or hitchhiking). I’ve travelled between Finland and the UK many times by train, and it is quite a pleasant experience.”

Travel can have a magical transformation on individuals and communities. We hope through our pages to encourage people to explore the world, to discover, first-hand, locations they may only have read about in history books or novels; to open themselves up to new experiences and tastes; to meet people with different ideas and perspectives; to try out alternative lifestyles; to immerse themselves in beautiful landscapes; to have fun. Our writers tap into the joy of new experiences, whether it’s the exhilaration of swimming through a city, as our writer did in Basel, or the thrill of tackling Ireland’s Big Five adventures. And we know that our readers are adventurous and well-travelled because every week we feature their tips from around the world.

But we also recognise the need to help tackle the climate emergency by reducing the number of flights we all take. Environment journalist, John Vidal explored the dilemma that “people like me, cursed with loving travel” now face, when he reported on the Swedish concept of “flygskam”, or fly shame. And he referred to people applying the idea of the “flexitarian” diet – where they cut back on their meat consumption dramatically but not completely – to flying.

The majority of locations we feature in the Guardian’s weekly travel section do not rely on flying to get there, with most easily accessible by train and public transport. These range from Greek island-hopping odysseys to cycling holidays through Europe and city breaks served by train or ferries.

Our Local’s Guide series is one of the most popular and widely read features because each one is written by a local resident in the spirit of showing a visitor around their favourite affordable haunts, rather than the big-ticket attractions. Food and drink is probably the easiest way into another culture, and there can be no better recommendation for somewhere to eat and drink than from someone who lives there. We’ve been tapping in to local people’s tips since Twitter started more than 10 years ago, and have found bloggers all around Europe to compile lists of their favourite cheap places to eat and drink.

On our website, we have a long list of guides to alternative cities – Łódź, Genoa and Utrecht, Berne, Burgos and Bristol, for example – rather than perennial hotspots affected by overtourism, such as Barcelona, Amsterdam and Venice.

One of the benefits of flying less, of course, is the opportunity it affords to explore the rich and varied landscapes of our own islands. Over the summer, we ran a popular series of stories called car-free coast, in which the writer Phoebe Taplin explored the British seaside on foot and by bus. An avowed public transport enthusiast and non-flyer, Dixe Wills, shared 20 of his favourite campsites accessible by train and bus. And Kevin Rushby set out on a UK expedition to less-visited locations that would have been impossible or prohibitively expensive to get to by car.

We still occasionally run stories on long-haul destinations when there is an important initiative or project that benefits the environment or local community, such as the development of community-led tourism startups in Chilean Patagonia following the launch of new national parks in the world’s most ambitious rewilding project.

Tourism accounts for one in 10 of the world’s jobs and is vital to some destinations. Kevin Rushby, our principal travel writer, explains: “All around the world, people in disadvantaged communities have been working to set up projects that rely on tourism, and so flying. I’ve met hunters who’ve become wildlife guides, fishermen who are now diving instructors, farmers who get cash for showing visitors their land and life. In Kenya the great migration route has been saved by Maasai herders clubbing their land together as conservancies rather than selling to hoteliers and intensive farming interests. Those conservancies are reliant on overseas visitors who pay to see wildlife.”

The Travel website now also features a carbon calculator, and we have written about various carbon offsetting schemes – which allow people to balance out their carbon footprints by investing in clean energy projects such as solar or windfarms. Our travel section is printed and distributed in the UK but our articles online are read by a worldwide audience, so in some instances readers do not need to fly to the places we are writing about.

John Vidal’s article about reducing the number of flights we take quotes Kevin Anderson, professor of energy and climate change at the Tyndall centre in Manchester: “I don’t have a no-fly policy, but rather a fly-less one … If we are going to fly, it should be for truly extraordinary and important reasons. Otherwise we shouldn’t go, or we should take a slower form of travel and arrange for a longer visit.”

Returning to that article on Helsinki, there’s another Scandinavian lifestyle trend that has emerged as a positive counterbalance to “flygskam”, and that is “tagskryt” (train brag). Another reader of the article captured its spirit perfectly in the comment: “The journey is the holiday. Just think of all the places you see along the way.”

Because, of course, we’ve been doing long-distance slow travel since the 1970s, as was pointed out. That was the decade when the Interrail scheme was launched. And, as Wills said when he revisited the Interrail experience this summer after a 30-year gap: “How many of us have cherished memories of zipping inexpensively across Europe – delving into new and thrillingly esoteric cultures, befriending the locals, mangling their language beyond all comprehension, and enjoying all manner of mind-broadening episodes.”

That is the spirit of adventure we hope you take away with you after reading the travel section.

Brazil: Rio 4-Star Getaway with Flights- From $649

Rio de Janeiro

Travelzoo sent me what seems to be a good deal to Rio de Janeiro.

Here’s what they say:

Explore the lush jungle, long stretches of sand and vibrant culture of Rio de Janeiro — a trending destination that Conde Nast Traveler has nicknamed the “Marvelous City.” This deal includes a hotel stay and international flights for just $649 per person.

What you need to know about this deal:

  • We did the homework for you — roundtrip international flights and hotel are included; stay just a short five-minute walk from Copacabana beach
  • 4 nights is the ideal amount of time to check off all your sightseeing — visit the UNESCO World Heritage Christ the Redeemer statue, explore the Museo de Arte and take a stroll through the Jardim Botânico
  • Spring highs hover in the upper 70s, ideal weather for lounging on Rio’s famous beaches, strolling the city’s charming streets and avoiding the summer crowds
  • Try some local food — we love the pastel, pão de queijo (baked cheese balls) and feijoada dishes
  • You’ll probably have time for a day trip, too. Our favorites include taking a cable car to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, visiting the village of Petrópolis and sailing around the coastal areas of Angra dos Reis

Includes: Roundtrip flights; 4 nights at a 4-star hotel, daily breakfast.

Depart: April 23; May 7, 14, 28 from Miami. All March-July departures from any major U.S. gateway are discounted.

Upgrade your trip: Starting at $150 more per person, tack on 3 nights in Buenos Aires, including the flight from Buenos Aires to Rio.

Prices are per person, based on two travelers sharing a room. Solo traveler pricing available on request. Air and hotel taxes are included. Restrictions may apply

Book by Oct. 25. Discounted prices will appear at the end of booking. Enter promo code TZBRDJ100 when prompted. The $649 dates will initially appear as $749. If booking the upgraded 8 Day package, the $799 dates will initially appear as $899.

Booking Tip: Make sure you don’t miss out on the savings — this video will walk you through how to apply the promo code on Gate 1’s site.


Click HERE  for more info.

Ultimate guide to best UK holiday destinations

Going abroad can be a real treat but, if like us, you enjoy exploring the beautiful places we have right here at home, you’ll want to know the best UK holidays to experience at least once in your life.

Providing you with quaint villages, sublime countryside and dramatic mountains, not forgetting beautiful cities beyond London and Edinburgh, the best UK holiday destinations leave you with memories you won’t make anywhere else in the world.

If you’ve always dreamed of taking to the Scottish Highlands and riding the legendary Jacobite train, or going on a luxurious dog-friendly break in the Cotswolds, you’ll want to read on for inspiration to tick these getaways (and more) off your travel bucket list.

And because we don’t do things by halves at Good Housekeeping, we’ve brought you a selection of bespoke UK breaks and hotel offers in these wonderful locations, which you can book safe in the knowledge that you’ll travel with like-minded readers. Here are the best places to go on holiday in the UK, from Snowdonia to Norfolk.

1. Have a dog-friendly break in the Cotswolds

          Travellers from across the world make their way over to the UK just to see this picturesque corner of Britain and, lucky for us, we don’t need the long-haul flight to see the chocolate box villages and mesmerising hills of the Cotswolds. From the ‘prettiest village in England’ Castle Combe to scenic waling trail the Cotswolds Way, there’s plenty to see and do here.

          Best UK holidays - Cotswolds

          CarausiusGetty Images

          Make it a trip to remember by bringing your pooch along for one of the best dog-friendly holidays in the UK, with a stay at the luxurious Lucknam Park. You and your four-legged friend will have acres of grounds to stroll, while close to villages like Castle Combe. There’s also Michelin-starred dining that gourmands won’t want to miss. Grab a room with our dog-friendly hotel offer. FIND OUT MORE

          2. Explore the lush grounds of County Down and Country Antrim

          Possibly the UK’s most underrated country, Northern Ireland is home to vast estates, delightful gardens and cosy, period hotels. In County Down, 18th-century mansion Castle Ward is a must-see for its eccentric architecture (and not just for Game of Thrones fans, where it was filmed). A trip to County Antrim should also be on your list to see the gem that is Antrim Castle Gardens.

          Best UK holidays


          Next year, we’re taking a tour of the most beautiful rural spots with garden designer Diarmuid Gavin and we’re inviting you to join us. There’ll be a look inside County Down and Country Durham’s private gardens, the chance to browse the National Trust’s Mount Stewart and a stay at a former paper mill. FIND OUT MORE

          3. Head for the Scottish Highlands for a ride on the Hogwarts Express

          Harry Potter fan or not, you’ll be seriously impressed by the beauty of the Scottish Highlands and one of its most breathtaking attractions, the Jacobite steam train. Making its way across the 21-arch Glenfinnan Viaduct, which was a star in the Harry Potter movies, this magnificent railway journey takes you close to Ben Nevis, Loch Morar and Loch Nevis.

          Best UK holidays


          For the trip of a lifetime, combine the epic train journey with the lochs and castles of Scotland, where you’ll visit the majestic Inveraray Castle, sail Loch Katrine on a steam ship and marvel at the incredible Falkirk Wheel. Try our five-day Jacobite steam adventure next summer. FIND OUT MORE

          4. Get your craft on with a sewing break in Bath

          Creative types looking to pick up a new skill while discovering one of Britain’s most picturesque cities should head to Bath, where honey-coloured Georgian architecture and natural thermal hot springs (the only ones in the UK) provide all the relaxation and inspiration you need. From browsing the independent boutiques along the cobbled streets to immersing yourself in the world of Jane Austen, Bath is simply a delightful spot for a mini-break.

          Best UK holidays - Bath

          joe daniel priceGetty Images

          Next spring, you can make it a short break to remember by combining the sights with a sewing course, where you’ll be joined by Great British Sewing Bee judge Esme Young. Grab a spot on our exclusive trip with the BBC star and learn new techniques with textile designer Jo Hill. FIND OUT MORE

          5. Retreat to a blissful spa in Leicestershire

          Spa breaks are one of our favourite ways to spend a staycation and with an array of spas up and down the country, it can be hard deciding on the right place for that well-earned R&R – but there’s one place spa lovers should know about. Nestled in the glorious Leicestershire countryside, Ragdale Hall Spa makes for a heavenly rural escape, with facilities that go far beyond those found at your average spa.

          Best UK holidays - Ragdale Hall

          Ragdale Hall

          Housed in an attractive Victorian manor house, Ragdale Hall boasts a total of six pools (yes, really), including a rooftop infinity pool, treatments that range from massages to manicures, fitness classes and cosy rooms to make you feel right at home. Whether you’re looking for a treat to gift someone or fancy going away with your partner, you’ll want to check out our amazing deal for a two-night spa break. FIND OUT MORE

          6. See the beauty of Norfolk from its charming trains

          With its royal connections, wildlife spotting opportunities and lovely river scenes, Norfolk is an absolute must-see. Sandringham Estate, the Norfolk Broads and villages like Wroxham and Horning are some of the sites you won’t want to overlook.

          Best UK holidays - Norfolk

          Helen StorerGetty Images

          You can drink in the amazing landscapes – from unspoilt countryside dotted with windmills to pretty market towns – with relaxing train rides on the Bittern Line, Poppy Line, Bure Valley Railway and the Mid-Norfolk Railway. Experience them all during a five-day summer break. FIND OUT MORE

          7. Discover the prehistoric wonder of Wiltshire

          One of Britain’s most mysterious sites is found in Wiltshire, where 100 enormous upright stones sit in a circular layout. UNESCO-protected Stonehenge transports visitors back thousands of years and is a site like no other. While here, you’ll want to check out Wiltshire’s other attractions, such as the nearby village of Salisbury.

          Best UK holidays - Stonehenge

          Peter AdamsGetty Images

          Here, you can enjoy lazy afternoons at historic pubs, visit Salisbury Cathedral and enjoy walks along the River Avon. Spend a mini-break in Salisbury and visit Stonehenge with a great hotel offer. FIND OUT MORE

          8. Take in the beauty of England’s gardens in Kent and Sussex

          When the temperatures rise and Britain is in bloom, nothing says summer more than a visit to a quintessential English country garden and some of the loveliest ones are found in Southeast England, with the likes of Sissinghurst Castle Gardens, Great Dixter, Scotney Castle and Lullingstone Castle providing stunning displays of English roses and lavender.

          Best UK holidays

          White Garden. National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

          Much-loved garden designer Sarah Raven will host a special four days of exploring England’s gardens next summer, inviting you into her own garden, toasting the season with some sparkling English bubbly at an after-hours evening at Sissinghurst and joining you for afternoon tea. Be part of the once-in-a-lifetime summer experience by booking a spot on the trip. FIND OUT MORE

          9. Reset and recharge in Surrey on a wellness break

          Just an hour from London lies one of Britain’s top wellness retreats, Grayshott Spa, where you can bliss out in the Surrey countryside on a relaxing spa break. The spa sits among 47 acres of manicured gardens, with views from the bedrooms facing the lake, pool or garden – how’s that for serenity? A spa break here is about wellness with an indulgent twist – think healthy yet delicious meals created by a dietitian and a whole host of treatments, from reflexology to detoxifying body scrubs.

          Best UK holidays - Surrey

          Grayshott Spa

          On a short break to the retreat, you’ll stay in a comfy room, enjoy tasty meals, treatments, guided walks and access to the on-side professionals, such as nutritionists and holistic practitioners. Indulge in a two-night break at Grayshott Spa with our exclusive offer. FIND OUT MORE

          10. Reach new heights in Wales with a trip to Mount Snowdon

          Take in the awe-inspiring scenery of North Wales as you climb up mighty Mount Snowdon to witness one of Britain’s most magnificent views. A ride on the Snowdon Mountain Railway will lift you 1,085 metres above sea level for a journey up England and Wales’ highest peak.

          Best UK holidays

          witpixGetty Images

          The Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways stretch for 40 miles through the Snowdonia National Park and allows you to explore pretty villages, rolling countryside and natural attractions, such as waterfalls and lakes. Take a trip to Wales’ beauty spots with a five-day rail adventure. FIND OUT MORE

      BLOG: One man’s rankings — Week 7 | Football

      It’s past 1 a.m. here at The Post-Star, but I wanted to throw together my weekly look at the Section II football rankings. They could change on a whim, so I’d better do it now. Food commercials on the sports channels are making me hungry…

      Among the highlights: Queensbury moves up a spot to 14th in Class A, Glens Falls is still No. 1 in Class B, Cambridge-Salem is still seventh in Class C, while Stillwater is third, Fonda is 11th, and Greenwich is 14th. Warrensburg moved up to eighth in Class D, while Chatham slipped to 11th.

      1. Shaker (6-0); 2. Shenendehowa (5-1); 3. Guilderland (4-2); 4. Bethlehem (4-2); 5. CBA (4-2). Why: This class is looking pretty cut-and-dried. Each team has beaten the team below it. CBA still has to play Shaker and Guilderland, Friday night and next week, respectively.

      1. Queensbury (6-0); 2. Troy (5-1); 3. Averill Park (5-1); 4. Ballston Spa (4-2); 5. Burnt Hills (4-2). Why: No changes from last week. Averill Park took care of Amsterdam 33-20 last Friday. Queensbury gets the narrow edge over Troy, and Ballston Spa may end up nudging past Averill Park, though AP has the unenviable task of playing Shen this week in a non-leaguer. Honorable mention: Amsterdam (4-2), La Salle (4-2), Scotia (3-3).

      1. Glens Falls (6-0); 2. Holy Trinity (6-0); 3. Schuylerville (5-1); 4. Schalmont (4-2); 5. Cobleskill (3-3). Why: Only one minor change as Schalmont slips past Cobleskill after the Bulldogs dropped a 27-19 loss to Schuylerville last week. Honorable mention: Broadalbin-Perth (3-3), Hudson (3-3).

      1. Cambridge-Salem (5-1); 2. Stillwater (6-0); 3. Fonda (6-0); 4. Greenwich (5-1); 5. Granville (5-1). Why: We will (OK, well, you will, I’m going to be watching Greenwich at LG/H-L) see how Stillwater and Fonda stack up against each other on Friday night. I finally added in the forfeits that Section II Class C is awarding to all of the teams that were scheduled to play Rensselaer this season before the Rams dropped varsity football. I’m bumping Granville to fifth (ahead of Watervliet) in my rankings after they rolled over Hoosick Falls 52-28 last week. I also believe Class C North is the toughest of the three divisions, and there’s a chance for four North teams to make the eight-team Class C playoff field. Honorable mention: Watervliet (4-2), Lake George/Hadley-Luzerne (3-3), Voorheesville (4-2), Tamarac (4-2).

      The seedings for Class D were determined last week, when Warrensburg defeated Chatham 8-7.

      1. Warrensburg (5-1); 2. Chatham (4-2); 3. Whitehall (4-3 — receives a forfeit from Cohoes this week); 4. Helderberg Valley (1-5).

      Time to get something to eat… see you on the gridiron this weekend.

      Follow Pete Tobey on Twitter @PTobeyPSVarsity.

      Daywatch: CPS strike is officially on, investigation into Chicago cop’s death ignored evidence and marijuana zoning rules get OK’d by City Council

      People gather in Uptown Circle for an open house and hiring event, Oct. 13, 2019, hosted by electric truck startup company Rivian, who will begin producing their inaugural line late next year at the former Mitsubishi factory in Normal, Ill. (Camille Fine / Chicago Tribune)

      A40 blocked after crash – live updates on Gloucestershire traffic and travel

      Welcome to the traffic blog for Thursday, October 17, 2019

      We’ll bring you the latest information from Gloucester, Cheltenham, Stroud, Tewkesbury, the Forest of Dean and the Cotswolds areas.

      The A40 is currently reported as blocked after a two vehicle crash at Andoversford.  Gloucestershire police have been approached for further details.

      And we will keep a close eye on the M5, the M4 and M50 throughout our region.

      You can also see the latest travel and traffic stories as they are published by visiting our traffic and travel channel .

      Read More

      Top Gloucestershire news stories today

      Links to some of today’s top stories are in the grid above.

      If you want to stay on top of traffic and travel updates, upcoming roadworks, and bigger issues around transport in Gloucestershire, we have a Facebook group dedicated to the topic.

      To join, click here and we will shortly approve your membership.

      Traffic and travel updates in the blog below.

      How to visit the Spanish region of soaring mountains and beautiful villages – but no tourists

      If you’re looking for an enchanting corner of Europe that mass tourism hasn’t discovered, you could do far worse than Aragón. Tourists, from Britain or elsewhere, are few and far between in this huge inland region in the northeast of Spain. Indeed, you might well see no one at all – it has some of the least populated areas in the country. 

      Bigger than Switzerland, this is a region that rewards multiple trips – unless you have at least a month to spare – as there is an immense variety to see and do, from skiing in the Pyrenees to birdwatching and canyoning. History and architecture lovers come for the Romanesque churches and Mudéjar monuments, or just to mooch around some of the prettiest villages in Spain. With a distinctive cuisine and some excellent wines, Aragón has a lot to offer visitors who don’t mind making a bit more effort when organising their holidays. 

      LIVE: M5 latest, another A419 crash, and Gloucestershire traffic and travel

      M40 crash: Witness appeal

      The M40 is closed southbound after crash in which a lorry overturned
      The M40 is closed southbound after crash in which a lorry overturned (Image: TVP Roads Policing @tvprp)

      This from Thames Valley Police after yesterday’s serious M40 crash:

      Thames Valley Police is appealing for witnesses following a road traffic collision which resulted in three injuries.

      At 9.15am yesterday (15/10), there was a four-vehicle collision on the southbound carriageway between junctions 11 and 10 in Oxfordshire.

      The vehicles involved were a silver Vauxhall Astra, a white and green DAF tanker, a blue Volkswagen Passat and a green Mercedes Sprinter.

      Three men were taken to hospital, and one, the driver of the tanker, remains at the John Radcliffe with a head injury.

      He is currently in a stable condition.

      Investigating officer PC Dean O’Dell of the Joint Operations Unit for Roads Policing based at Bicester, said: “This was a serious collision which resulted in the carriageway being blocked for some time as the tanker overturned.

      “The driver of the tanker remains in a stable condition, while two others were treated in hospital but have now been discharged.

      “Two other people did not suffer any injuries.

      “I am appealing to anybody that was on the M40 and witnessed this collision to contact police on the 24-hour non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 43190320460 or make a report online.

      “I am particularly keen to hear from anybody who may have dash-cam footage of the incident to get in touch.”

      Infographic: Guide to Sustainable Travel

      Share this idea!

      Being more sustainable to ensure a better climate for future generations is at the forefront of socio-political debates. Activists such as Greta Thunberg are inspiring people — not only of her generation but of all ages — to be more considerate of the potential problems that our current way of living is causing. Whether that means to be more sustainable in your everyday life or when you’re travelling.

      Many of us travel regularly — and humans as a whole travel much more frequently today than ever in history. Unfortunately, there is a lot of pollution that occurs when people travel.

      Airplanes can emit up to several tons of carbon emissions into Earth’s atmosphere. And unfortunately, it doesn’t get better when travelers end up at their destination. Many tourist activities unintentionally endanger local cultures and communities. And these communities may already be threatened by big corporations that care more about profits than the state of local communities.

      Do you want to be more sustainable, but aren’t really sure where to begin? Check out this infographic from GreenMatch. It highlights what it means to be a sustainable traveler and the consequences of unsustainable traveling, and why some people might not yet be fully committed to sustainable travel.

      infographic: guide to sustainable travel

      Infographic courtesy of Adel-Alexander Aldilemi from Greenmatch

      Feature image by Lars_Nissen_Photoart from Pixabay

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      Five miles of M3 traffic and M25, M23 and A3 travel updates on Tuesday, October 15

      There are several issues affecting the M25 and M3 on Tuesday (October 15) including a crash and vehicle breakdowns.

      Traffic is queuing for five miles on the M3 near Bagshot due to a two-vehicle crash at around 6.45am.

      Travel news service Inrix says: “Queuing traffic for five miles due to earlier accident, two vehicles involved on M3 northbound after J3 A322 (Bagshot/Lightwater). All lanes have been reopened.”

      Traffic was later held for a brief period to assist with removing vehicles from the carriageway.

      All traffic was also held on the M25 due to a broken down vehicle. All lanes have now been reopened, but residual delays remain.

      SurreyLive will be providing updates of the incident and the latest traffic information in the blog below.

      For the latest news, views and features from around the county you can visit the SurreyLive homepage here.