Encouraging more people to reconsider flying as the only way to holiday and instead consider ‘slow travel’ is the new mission for Byway, a company that aims to connect the dots on previously complex rail, boat and bike trip planning.
As more people reconsider their travel options as a result of the pandemic and awareness around sustainability and climate change continues to grow, it’s predicted that concepts like slow travel and flight-free holidays could become more appealing.
Well placed to move the trend forward, Byway was founded by Cat Jones, who left her job last year to fulfil a dream of launching a travel business that could fill a gap when it came to seamless trip planning for interesting and off-the-beaten-path itineraries.
Byway aims to accelerate the transition to sustainable leisure travel and draw tourists away from hubs suffering over-tourism to other places in between, while also boosting local economies.
With rail travel accounting for just 14g of CO2 per passenger mile, compared to 285g for air, Byway highlights how you could get the train from London to Edinburgh and back five times and the carbon footprint would still be lower than if you flew there once.
Jones, who has personally never owned a car, said she believed there were plenty of other people who felt like her out there, and even more who would travel this way if it were made easier to research and book it.
“I always enjoyed travelling by train and cycling around places, so that’s always been a default of mine, and now my family’s, travel,” she said.
“The standard holiday paradigm has tended to be flights, and parachuting in and out of a place, but it doesn’t have to be like that,” she explained.
“Slow travel allows you to stop off when you want, and literally take it slow. It’s not a mainstream way to act, and that’s bothered me for a while. If more people knew about the joy of this way of travelling, they would love it too, but I could see how hard it was to organise, with so much co-ordination and various unlinked booking sites required. Few people would have the time needed to organise these kinds of trips.”
Her goal is to build a booking platform that can take the pain out of organising train travel across Europe, connecting lots of different providers, previously a difficult task, involving multiple sites and providers.