Green Travel: The Benefits of Avoiding Planes

Green Travel: The Unexpected Benefits of Avoiding Planes

Enjoy the journey as much as the destination – Marshall Sylver

Contributed by
Guest Blogger | Just Heading Out

We all love to travel. Whether the destination is a far away, exotic place or somewhere a little closer to home, the demand for plane travel has grown. With increased disposable income, people are travelling more and more. On the one hand, this is great. Everyone should get to experience the joys and benefits of travel. However, the downside is increased plane travel. Any way you slice it, flying is bad news for the environment. For those of us who can’t imagine travelling less, and would love to invest more in green travel, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn the unexpected benefits of avoiding planes.

Whether you currently take one flight a year or one flight a week, let’s do what we can to help this beautiful planet so that we can keep enjoying it. Avoiding planes is not only better for the environment; it is also better for you. Did you know that not flying comes with a lot of added benefits? From better health to unlimited luggage, read on to discover the unexpected benefits of avoiding planes on your next trip.

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Bring All The Luggage You Want

O, the dreaded luggage restrictions. Packing for a trip is hard enough without having to adhere to strict airline baggage limits on size and weight. Unless you are an experienced minimalist packer, you’ve probably had trouble fitting everything in a tiny suitcase. Every airline seems to have different carry-on luggage rules, making packing a more stressful process than need be.

Not only that but when you do go over the airline’s size and weight limits for luggage, it becomes very costly very quickly. You will also find baggage restrictions on food and liquids inconvenient and if you’re not prepared, wasteful. You’ll have to pour all your cosmetics into tiny travel containers that can’t be more than 100ml for all airlines. Bringing different sized objects, such as instruments, bikes or skis on a plane is always hassle too.

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The Luggage Alternatives To Flying

The bus, train, car and other alternatives to flying make packing way less restrictive and far more fun! Don’t worry about taking tiny liquids or throwing away drinking water in order to board a plane. Plus, you can more easily enjoy taking other items without hassle, like your pet for example. Whilst it is possible to fly with an animal, your pet will be much more comfortable travelling by car or train. Air travel is very stressful for animals and airlines have strict rules to transport them. Buses generally do not allow pets on board but trains tend to be more lacks. And in your own car, you can, of course, take whatever you want.

If you avoid taking planes and take a car, bus or train instead, you won’t have to worry about any of it. You can bring back all the souvenirs and food you want. No one is going to check your liquids or the size of your suitcase. Buses and cars are especially accommodating to large objects or oversized luggage. There is no fumbling around with clear plastic liquid bags, electronics or x-ray scans of your luggage either.

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Avoiding The Plane Is Healthier

Air travel might be fast and convenient but it is also pretty unhealthy. Leg swelling is a very common and well-known flight problem but your legs aren’t the only part of the body that swell up when you fly. Most people experience bloating and sinus issues on flights due to the changes in air pressure, as well as blocked ears. You may also experience headaches caused by dehydration. Circulating air in plane cabins can have as low as 10% humidity. This sucks moisture out of your skin, leaving it dry and fragile, as well as giving you a dry mouth and leaving you dehydrated.

Combine the dry air in the plane with the lack of personal space, then add in all the germs from tv screens, bathrooms and reused items to the mix. These constant attacks on your immune system whilst you fly mean that your chances of catching a cold on a plane increase significantly. If you are seated within 3 feet of a sick person, your chances of infection go up to 80%. So avoiding planes means avoiding a lot of germs and health problems, from minor colds to more serious swelling.

What else happens to your body when you fly? Jet lag. Roughly speaking, it takes you a day to adjust to every hour you travel by plane. So, a time difference of seven hours would take a full week to really catch up on fully. The severity of your jet lag differs based on several factors, such as the flight direction, flight time and your sensitivity to it. The symptoms of jet lag range from mild fatigue to exhaustion, insomnia and even nausea.

Reduce Air Travel For Better Health

Reduce air travel time and you’ll see the immediate health benefits. Travelling by bus, train or car means that you’re moving through time zones at a much slower pace. This allows your body to more easily adjust and you won’t experience as much, if any, time lag. Plus, the added space you have in trains, cars and buses makes sleeping far more comfortable, especially when you take a sleeper train or bus. If you’re driving, you can actually plan in stops to get a proper night’s sleep in between your travel days.

Start planning your road trip adventure using our collection of Road Trip Travel Blogs for Couples.

See & Do More Over Land

Anyone who’s ever flown knows that 90% of flying is waiting around. Standing in line for check-in, customs and security, before waiting some more at the boarding gate. You might then also wait on the plane before take-off … and then wait pretty much the whole flight to land and arrive at your final destination. Add in some waiting to deboard, o and perhaps a wait for your luggage too. Of course, this is a description of the waiting experience when everything goes well! We all know how much more waiting is involved when you experience flight delays on top.

Not only does flying involve a lot of waiting but after a while, it just gets boring. There are only so many times you can walk the small cabin or find new movies to watch before you want to get off. Most people try to sleep on planes simply to pass the time.

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Flying Less Is More Adventurous

The very best thing about flying less and travelling overland instead is that you can see the world roll by alongside you. The view from a plane window can be breathtaking but unless you have a window seat and a very clear day, you won’t be able to enjoy it anyway. Bus and train travel allows you to sit back and watch the scenery, seeing much more of the world than you would from above the clouds. Endless farmland, mountains, coasts and little towns that you would have missed if you were flying can all be enjoyed when you travel overland.

Another added bonus to travelling overland is being surrounded by locals living their daily lives, enriching your travel experience further and making the journey so much more than getting from A to B. After all, isn’t the whole point of travel to see the world and step outside of your comfort zone? Taking public transport in a foreign country is an adventure in itself. You’ll find locals eager to help you locate the right bus and happy to share stories with you whilst you travel. Surrender to the unknown and see where the open road takes you.

Be inspired to get out there with our Ubud Eco Trek in Bali.

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Not Flying Is Better For The Planet

Air travel accounts for 2% of all yearly global greenhouse gas emissions and that number keeps growing. It is estimated that by 2020, aviation greenhouse gas emissions will have gone up 70% compared to 2005. All that CO2 contributes to global warming and harms the environment. Not to mention the required use of fossil fuel and resulting air pollution. At the moment, travelling by plane is about the most harmful thing you can do for the planet.

Scientists are working on developing ‘green’ planes but that is not a travel reality yet. Wherever possible you should set off your CO2 emissions, offered now by some airlines, but even with CO2 compensation, there really isn’t a very green way to fly yet.

Choose Green Travel

If you love the planet and want to do more to help, you can travel in more environmentally friendly ways. By using other forms of transportation like the bus, the train or even the car, you can reduce your carbon footprint. Driving short distances by car saves a lot of CO2 and fossil fuel compared to flying, especially if you are also sharing that ride with others. For longer distances, or if you travel solo, it is kindest to the environment to take a bus or train. Non-plane transportation is the easiest road to green travel (excuse the pun).

Search, compare and save on car hire with Rental Cars.

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It might not be impossible to completely cut out planes but we can certainly try to reduce the number of flights we take. Green travel is a hot topic and a super important one that all us regular travellers should consider every time we start planning a new trip. Can you reduce the number of flights you take? What are the alternatives to flying? And more importantly, what can you gain by not choosing the plane?

The Unexpected Benefits of Avoiding Planes

Experience every kilometre, every country, every minute in a new and exciting way with non-air travel. Yes, it takes longer. But is that such a bad thing? Slow down and enjoy the rewards, as well as helping the green travel movement. The flexibility and freedom of not taking the plane far outweigh the time element. So, is there an alternative method of transport available for your next adventure? You never know what huge travel bonuses you will gain outside the aeroplane.

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Get Up, Get Out There & Get Lost

If you enjoyed reading The Unexpected Benefits of Avoiding Planes, please like and share it with others so they can enjoy reading it too.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Check out our other Responsible Travel blogs now.

Just Heading Out Guest Blogger for Transform Me Travel

About our Guest Blogger:

After getting a taste of solo travel in 2017, Sophie van der Meulen decided to leave normal life behind and pursue her dreams. Now, she travels the world as a digital nomad and writes about it for a living.

Find tips, recommendations and stories on her travel blog Just Heading Out. Follow her on Facebook and check out her awesome pics on Instagram.


2 thoughts on “Green Travel: The Unexpected Benefits of Avoiding Planes

  1. I like flying to get across the world, but I LOVE a good road trip. Train travel isn’t as great in the US, but we use it when we are in Europe or other places with good train service. I do love that I don’t have to worry about liquids or how much I bring on road trips. Thanks for writing this up – it’s good to think about as we plan future trips to try to minimize our flights.


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