Nicola, Pete, Lola and Nell want to travel the world with a difference. We hope to get a taste of loads of countries without adding to climate change (with needless emissions from aeroplanes) or having to waste hours of holiday time in airport terminals. We hope our adventures inspire you to take a Grand Tour of your neighbourhood. This post is from Nicola.
If you're a fan of holidaying in the UK then it's hard not to feel smug when friends say they flew off to Majorca for a week of the Easter holidays and it rained non stop. "People knew the weather was warm and gorgeous in England and they were trying to get planes back,' admitted one Dad. "It was too cold and horrible to even go to the beach. And then when we got back home to Cambridge everyone looked a lot more tanned and healthier than us." As you can see there are some spring benefits to this year of the climate changing - and definitely worth enjoying while we all can.
It's not just the weather that can surprise travellers. Did you know it's quicker to take the train from London to Paris than it is to fly, http://www.eurostar.com/ ? And it's also good for your conscience because the train notches up your annual carbon dioxide emissions by a far smaller amount:
BY PLANE: journey is 3.5 hours. There and back uses up 244kg CO2.
BY TRAIN: journey is 2.75 hours. There and back uses up 22kg CO2.
We know that train hopping is going to cost us a lot this summer - an amount I hope to ease by buying tickets in advance (walk ups can be disastrously expensive) and using our family railcard. We could save by avoiding the sleeper to Scotland, but I think that's one journey everyone in my family will enjoy too much to drop. Pete will like the glamour of getting into Scottish mood with a whisky in the dining car and the kids will adore the bunk berths. I'm usually happiest doing at least two things at once - and sleeping flat as the miles spin by on a train is at least meant to be possible for normal salaried folk in the way that flying first class is absolutely not!
What's your favourite journey? We'd especially like to hear about trips that don't take too long from your doorstep.