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Alternatives to air travel

 
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In order to reduce my footprint I've been trying to find alternatives to flying. I've been doing more rail travel this year but would like to go to Europe and Asia.

I know it's a long shot, but what are people's ideas, if any, for alternatives?

In addition to footprint reduction I would in general just like to support other modes of transportation, for the sake of diversification.

My travel would be based out of Seattle and Portland.
 
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It would be interesting to work out what the true cost of each form of transport actually is?
Air is fastest
Rail probably 2nd fastest
Followed by car and then ship.
While planes may have a lot of energy used in 2 hrs, what energy would be used in the other forms to cover the same distance?
 
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If you don't fly, the only way I know of to get to Europe or Asia from your location is to swim or go by boat.  I think the swim is out due to distance.

Do you go there for pleasure or business?

I read that it takes 7 days by boat to get to Europe from the US.

It might be fun to take a cruise or hop a freighter to get there.

Which would you find most appealing?
 
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The footprint issue can be defined in various ways.  I know of a retired lady who traveled the world on cargo ship’s rather inexpensively.  She didn’t care about the fluff of passenger ships.  Her logic was she was hitching a ride on a ship that was making the voyage with or without her.   I kept my mouth shut and didn’t mention to her the same could be said about a passenger ship.
 
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John C Daley wrote:It would be interesting to work out what the true cost of each form of transport actually is?
Air is fastest
Rail probably 2nd fastest
Followed by car and then ship.
While planes may have a lot of energy used in 2 hrs, what energy would be used in the other forms to cover the same distance?



Obviously this is for freight, but it looks like planes are about 5x trucks, and trucks are 10x boats.

https://news.mit.edu/2010/corporate-greenhouse-gas-1108
 
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Yeah I looked into this a while back.

Cargo ships do book passengers. Apparently it can be a reasonably comfortable ride too, you tend to get to know the crew and as you can imagine, people being people some of them are pretty interesting.

The major downside is they travel shipping lanes and it takes a LONG time. So don't be in a hurry.

If I had a 100% agile job and no family obligations I would probably do it that way. As it is I just fly very very rarely.

In my ideal world I book a sailing ship ride that way... Maybe one day.

 
John F Dean
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I stopped flying in the mid 90s.   I got sick of airports and airlines.  Too many times I had flights cancelled and was left stranded.  
 
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John F Dean wrote:The footprint issue can be defined in various ways.  I know of a retired lady who traveled the world on cargo ship’s rather inexpensively.  She didn’t care about the fluff of passenger ships.  Her logic was she was hitching a ride on a ship that was making the voyage with or without her.   I kept my mouth shut and didn’t mention to her the same could be said about a passenger ship.


I'm not sure. A cargo ship is in the cargo hauling business. Passengers are incidental. The ship will make its cargo run regardless of passengers. I wonder if a passenger ship at 15% capacity would develop sudden, mysterious mechanical problems just like commercial airline flights.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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Like cargo ships, long distance trucks are going anyway. Unfortunately, in North America, there are pretty strict no-passenger rules. I guess it's to avoid distraction. Even a relief driver needs to be in the sleeper part of the cab. I wonder how to get around that. Hmmm...
 
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One option for overseas - aka, across the sea - travel is to rent a cabin on a freighter.  They usually have 6 for rent and it's a bit like a slow cruise ship but without all the socializing and entertainment.  But the food is supposed to be much better and if you love being alone for a couple of weeks, this is the way to go!  You have to get a travel agent who is in the know as these are limited and highly coveted cabins and the traveller needs to be flexible with their timing in case of delays.  But you basically eat what the Captain eats and since they spend a lot of time travelling, they tend to hire really good cooks.  

For faster travel across the ocean, repositioning cruises are the way to go.  When a cruise ship is done the season they don't just sit around waiting for next year, they send the ship to start the season somewhere else and these are usually stripped-down versions of a cruise (with less entertainment) and massively more affordable.  
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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Regarding passengers in commercial transport trucks:

For the US, I came across this link which suggests it can be done if you jump through the right hoops.
https://truckersinsider.com/can-truck-drivers-have-a-passenger/

I'm looking for the Canadian equivalent.
 
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James Landreth wrote:In order to reduce my footprint I've been trying to find alternatives to flying. I've been doing more rail travel this year but would like to go to Europe and Asia.

I know it's a long shot, but what are people's ideas, if any, for alternatives?

In addition to footprint reduction I would in general just like to support other modes of transportation, for the sake of diversification.

My travel would be based out of Seattle and Portland.



Which part of Asia are you planning to travel?

If you are traveling to Asia, it is best to make connections with locals in your destinations. It would be much safer, comfortable, and hassle-free for you.

I found this site that might be helpful for you, considering the alternatives to flying https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2022/11/business-travel-energy-work-sustainable-pandemic/. Also, if you're interested connecting with a locals in Asian countries, here's another reference https://gowithguide.com/thailand/chiang-mai that might help.
 
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