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Fly less


Flying is a major source of carbon pollution. Not everyone has the privilege of flying, but if you do, taking a few less flights is one of the best ways to dramatically reduce your carbon pollution.

Avoiding one flight per year will save tonnes of CO2;

  • one return economy flight from London to Sydney is 13 tonnes of CO2e (equal to the whole annual carbon footprint of a UK citizen, at 10-13 tonnes),
  • one return economy flight from London to New York is 3 tonnes CO2e (increasing the average carbon footprint by a third),
  • one return flight from Luton to Paris is 200 kg CO2e flying (vs around 10kg on the Eurostar).

There are a range of travel calculator available online, including from Atmosfair and Climate Stewards . Try calculating your whole carbon footprint online with the WWF; do it once with and once without flights, to see the difference.

We know people are desperate to travel again, and to see far-flung family; few people will commit to never flying. However, flying less is a key action you can take, especially those short haul journeys which can reasonably be replaced by train or coach.

READ: our inspiring blog “Fly Less and Explore More with YHA” and consider a different holiday this year.

LISTEN:  to James Black of YHA in this special #CountdownToCOP Radio Verulam podcast talking about Flying Less


Try the Seat 61 website, for routes and information about European and worldwide train travel.

Use the Rail Europe website to buy end-to-end tickets for European routes.

The Eurail pass allows unlimited travel across Europe for a fixed period of time.

Discover all of Eurostar’s destinations – with trains direct to Paris, Brussels, Lille, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, as well as connecting destinations in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, with an easy change in either Paris, Lille or Brussels.

The Caledonian Express takes you overnight to locations in Scotland including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness.

Photo by Juan Encalada on Unsplash


Coaches have a lower carbon footprint than flying, and are generally cheaper than trains.

There are lots of different operators, but for example:

Photo by Adam Marikar on Unsplash


Many locations are reachable by ferry; France and Ireland, of course, but also Spain, Holland, Belgium, the Scilly Isles, the Scottish islands, and the Channel Islands.

There are lots of different operators, but for example:


If you are going further afield, can you reduce the impact? For example:

  • The Atmosfair calculator lets you compare different airlines for the same route; some airlines are – comparatively – better than others.
  • With Skyscanner, your can filter results to show ‘greener flights’; look for this option on the right hand side, towards the bottom of the filter menu.
  • Could you travel by train one way, making the journey part of the holiday, and then fly back? This halves the number of flights being taken.
  • Can you choose a more responsible tour operator?
  • Travelling for work? Can you combine meetings, to reduce the number of trips you make each year?
  • Can you continue to replace some conferences and meetings with Zoom / video calls?
  • Could you fly economy rather than business, to cut your carbon footprint?
  • Get tips from Which? magazine on reducing the impact of your travel