Rail and sail: how to book the perfect holiday – without any flying

More than half of Britons plan to travel to mainland Europe this year. Here’s how to have a great time, while minimising your carbon footprint

January is always a struggle – cold, dark, full of broken resolutions and battered bank balances – but the beginning of 2020 has been particularly grim. From the crisis in Iran, bushfires in Australia, coronavirus and Brexit around the corner, the year could hardly have got off to a worse start. There is hope – of course – and there are holidays, too: this is peak booking time for the travel sector.

Despite uncertainties around the impact of Brexit, 54% of Britons plan to travel to Europe in 2020, according to a survey by the peer-to-peer currency platform WeSwap. And the good news for anyone who has resolved to give up flying is that we are entering a new golden age of rail travel, with expanding networks, a revival of sleeper trains and Interrailing, along with a growing number of travel companies replacing flights with train travel. Add in improved ferry services, a boom in remote hideaways, and alternatives to traditional destinations, and the outlook for anyone wanting to escape the headlines looks positively sunny. Here’s our guide to planning your own exit – albeit for just a week or two.

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