Cutting down on carbon: British travel company launches 'responsible' flight-free trip about the world

The 11-week adventure ferries travellers by cargo ship and train, but comes with a hefty $25,000 price tag

A new 80-day itinerary by the UK's Responsible Travel company is swapping air travel for journeys by train and cargo ship. William William / Unsplash
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Despite all its wonder and promise, there's no denying that travel has its downsides.

While seeing the world may broaden the mind, planes gobble up a tremendous amount of fuel and emit carbon dioxide, contributing to climate change.

Air travel accounted for 2.5 per cent of the world's CO2 emissions in 2019, according to the Air Transport Action Group. While that might seem like a small percentage, for those keen to cut back on their carbon footprint, finding new ways to explore our world is of growing importance.

One travel company is aiming to address those concerns with a new around-the-world itinerary, which transports guests across several continents, without a single plane in sight.

The Around the World Holiday Without Flying package by Britain's Responsible Travel company instead ferries customers on an 11-week adventure via train and cargo ship.

The 80-day tour traverses parts of Europe, North America and Asia, travelling from the UK to Switzerland, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan and China.

After a 16-day Pacific Ocean crossing, travellers will see Canada and the US before returning to the UK, with option to trade in a cargo ship for the Queen Mary 2.

However, the jam-packed schedule comes at a cost. Trips start from £17,950 ($25,250), which includes all train and boat journeys, accommodation, transfers and sightseeing options listed on the itinerary. Some meals are also included.

For a single traveller, the tour starts from £26,500.

"Times have changed since Jules Verne sent Phileas Fogg away on his fictional journey around the world in 80 days. But the desire to discover new places and to experience new cultures is stronger now than ever," states Responsible Travel's website.

"On this special tribute to the legendary Phileas we take you on a remarkable journey to explore amazing cities, travel through stunning landscapes and meet lots of friendly people along the way. We’ve replaced steam ships and hot air balloons with comfortable long-distance trains.

"And, with a nod to Phileas we’ve decided to cross the oceans not by plane, but by modern day cargo ships."

Given current global travel restrictions imposed due to the pandemic, the tour isn't scheduled to begin until 2023, according to UK paper The Independent.

Responsible Travel, which was founded in 2001, offers a number of sustainably focused holiday options, such as kayaking through Sweden, South African safaris using local companies only, and volunteering trips to preserve turtles in Costa Rica.

The company also pledges to not create packages using large cruise ships, elephant rides, dolphin and orca shows, and zoos.