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The best flight-free holidays to avoid air traffic control chaos

The best flight-free holidays to avoid air traffic control chaos

The airport experience is rarely a pleasant one at the best of times, but as the summer holidays draw to a close this year, it has become even more fraught with stress and frustration.

Air traffic control (ATC) issues led to the cancellation of more than 2,000 flights across 28, 29 and 30 August, with hundreds of thousands of travellers’ plans impacted.

There is a simple way to sidestep the chaos, though: avoid the airport entirely. An increasing number of travel companies are offering flight-free trips, whether by rail or ferry, removing the possibility that ATC failures can play havoc with your highly anticipated holiday itinerary.

This type of trip also has the added benefit of being much more sustainable, with far fewer carbon emissions produced, while also providing the myriad benefits of slow travel: the chance to relax and gaze out of a train window at the stirring scenery flashing past; be rocked to sleep by the waves in your very own travelling hotel room on an overnight ferry; or enjoying a multi-stop holiday that allows you to explore several destinations along the way.

Here’s our pick of the coolest no-fly packages worth clipping your wings for.

Valencia and Barcelona city break

Valencia is Spain’s laid-back third city

(Getty Images)

Travel company Byway is great if you’re looking to nix the flights on your next adventure: it only offers flight-free breaks. The eight-day “Valencia and Barcelona by rail” itinerary kicks off with a Eurostar from London to Paris and takes in the French city of Nimes for one night, before continuing on to the east coast of Spain. As well as the beautiful rail journeys themselves, you’ll get to spend time in the famed Catalonian capital and Spain’s delectable third city by the sea. From £1,105pp, including all train travel, accommodation, recommendations and dedicated Whatsapp support.

Cycling in Champagne

Sustainable and ethical brand Responsible Travel has launched a suite of no-fly trips to exciting locations. The three- or five-night Champagne Cycling Holiday packages in France takes you past rolling vineyards, ancient cities and charming towns beside canals, starting in Epernay and moving on to Reims and several pretty villages. From £1,415pp, including five-star B&B accommodation; three evening meals; fully serviced bikes with panniers, water bottle and repair kit; detailed…

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