While trains are widely recognised as the most environmentally sound method of mass transport, when it comes to holiday travel, coaches come a close second, so it is small wonder that a number of operators have started promoting the eco-credentials of this type of break. One of their principal advantages lies in the unrivalled access a coach trip can offer to areas which railway lines and airports simply do not serve and in a way that enables the individual needs of a group of holiday makers to be met more precisely. From the “Whisky Trail” of Scotland to timber wolves in Alaska, the range of “green” coach trips available is extraordinary – and expanding by the year.
Home-Grown AttractionsDespite the in-built energy efficiencies of moving many people around in a single vehicle and the attendant benefits this brings in terms of lower emissions per passenger and reduced fossil fuel usage, the eco-tourist’s mantra still applies – the shorter the distance, the lower the impact. The nearer to home you holiday, the smaller your carbon footprint will be – so coach trips to venues in Britain are obviously more eco-friendly in this sense than the foreign alternatives which involve more lengthy travel in the first place. However, this need not be seen as such a major disadvantage, since within this little island of ours, lies an enormous variety of places of historical, cultural and natural interest – certainly enough to keep most of us happily engaged for a fair few years to come. Whether it’s storm watching on the Moray coast, walking in Snowdonia or beach combing in Cornwall that appeals, there is sure to be no shortage of opportunities to indulge your passion.
Foreign ForaysCoach travel is obviously never going to rival aviation for long-haul destinations, but for short to mid-range journeys abroad, it does have something to offer – especially for smaller groups with particular interests. Even within the confines of a traditional package holiday, the coach trip has much to recommend it, especially when you take into account the potential impact of the same number of people each hiring their own car or taxi to visit the same local attraction.
The eco appeal of coach travel is something which the travel industry world-wide has begun to wake up to – and promote. While the coach has always been a firm favourite with many holiday companies and is long-established as the best way to get a whistle-stop tour of many of the globe’s main cities, increasing numbers of operators are grasping the potential in the new green tourist boom. In practical terms, from Tasmania to Costa Rica, the image of coach trips is gradually shifting away from its rather sedate and almost self-depreciatory past, towards something which is much more relevant and up-to-the-minute.
One of the key advantages of coach travel has always been its relative economy, enabling a wide range of countries to be visited for fairly modest cost – and especially for places rich in major sights, the appeal of coach trips is clear. Over recent years coach design has made great strides in terms of comfort, convenience and safety, which enables travellers to enjoy the experience and the company of their fellow passengers far more. As a result, modern coach trips appeal to a wide range of ages and interest groups, almost coming to rival cruise holidays for forging long term friendships amid like-minded enthusiasts.
In many ways, history is repeating itself; the coach trip was a popular choice long before the advent of cheap flights and package holidays and it seems to be in resurgence once again. From the Highlands of Scotland to the Sahara, there is a coach trip to suit most tastes and almost every eco-conscience; the hardest part is likely to be choosing which one.