If there’s one thing we as people love, it is travel. Wanderlust is written into our DNA; from weekend walks to annual vacations, summer field trips to gap year round-the-world backpacking adventures, we can’t get enough. Travel is an entire industry, with more than 40 million Americans travelling abroad yearly pre-pandemic – but one of the most common methods of travel is by plane, which not only contributes 4% of the US’ greenhouse gas emissions but can be a detached way to travel: A to B, and not much more. There are better ways to see the world, in a number of ways; what are they?
The original and best mode of transport for travelling, and for seeing the world, is on foot. It’s the only way to really get up close and personal with the places you visit – to make the shortcuts, to travel off the beaten path, and to find the hidden aspects of beautiful places. City tourist boards can offer walking tours of historical areas, and countryside treks can find you discovering areas of outstanding natural beauty in the middle of nowhere – whether the UK’s Trans-Pennine Trail or Australia’s Larapinta Trail.
As beautiful as seeing the world can be on foot, this mode of travel is only really suitable for day-trips and city exploration – and after a while, you’re likely to get a little tired. This is where cycling can open up new possibilities for seeing the world out in the open. Renting a city bike can present an excellent solution to taking in a whole city from the road, while cycling tours offer a streamlined way for you to experience the wonders of a region or route by yourself or with others.
Train travel gets a bad rap in the US, thanks to high prices and poor investment – but it can be one of the most inspiring ways to see the world. Europe has an Interrailing program, whereby one ticket can grant you travel on the interconnected rail networks of mainland Europe for any number of days within a month. This gives you the chance to hop from country to country, seeing as much as you would like for minimal cost, and indeed minimal carbon footprint. Further east, rail networks are the most efficient way to cross the continent – from the trans-Siberian railroad to the Eastern and Oriental Express.
For a more opulent way to cross the globe, cruising on the open water presents a unique opportunity to see the world from a different angle. Large-scale leisure cruises visit popular tourist attractions, stopping in famed port cities such as Amsterdam, Barcelona and Venice. Smaller river cruises can take you along the banks of world-renowned rivers, giving you the chance to experience countless places from the water – try a day-cruise on London’s River Thames, or a week travelling up the Nile.