How the pandemic has affected travel: staycationers now choosing trains over planes

Tuesday, 20th October 2020, 12:46 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th January 2021, 5:40 pm
LNER study urges us to take the train
LNER study urges us to take the train

By Nigel Booth

Brits are ready to swap their holidays abroad for staycations in places such as Edinburgh as the coronavirus pandemic has shifted the nation’s eco-conscience.

That is according to findings by train company LNER who say people in the UK are shunning overseas trips and air travel to become more sustainable.

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They found that now a quarter of Brits (24 per cent) are planning to swap Egypt for holidays in places such as Scotland in the future.

The Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh, an attraction for staycationioners (Photo: CAG Photography, Charlotte Graham)

And one in five (20 per cent) are reconsidering air travel while a third (33 per cent) are looking to increase their use of trains.

The research by LNER identified the ‘COVID Climate Effect’, highlighting the pandemic (27 per cent) is twice as motivating for Brits than climate activist Greta Thunberg (12 per cent) in terms of adopting eco-friendly behaviours.

Millennials have been swayed more towards staycations than any other age group, with nearly half (48 per cent) choosing to holiday at home rather than overseas.

Staycationers preferring holidays at such places as Longsands in Tynemouth rather than venturing abroad (Photo: CAG Photography Commissioned by LNER; Charlotte Graham)

Reducing carbon footprint

Noticing a reduction in air and noise pollution (48 per cent), spending more time in the garden or park (40 per cent) and an increased appreciation of nature (38 per cent) top the list of reasons inspiring the UK to make greener transport choices.

LNER is encouraging the use of more sustainable methods of travel including rail as the nation re-evaluates its impact on the planet – as 46 per cent of 18-24 year-olds now say it’s their preferred method of travel for holidays.

LNER managing director David Horne said: “Despite how hard the past few months have been, it is positive to see how as a nation we’re collectively striving towards a greener future.

“Lockdown made many people stop and think about the world we live in, and how we can protect our planet – it’s so encouraging to see younger generations leading the way here, swapping overseas jaunts for staycations in the wake of COVID.

”When it comes to reaching a UK holiday destination, it’s no secret that trains are one of the most sustainable ways to travel, producing less than a third of the carbon of other modes of transport and proving just as fast, door-to-door.”

Living sustainably

Six in ten UK adults (58 per cent) are now making an effort to live more sustainably generally, compared to just 20 per cent who didn’t stop and think about their lifestyle and the effect it had on the environment prior to lockdown.

When it comes to the reasons why people are making these changes, a quarter (28 per cent) say stockpiling made them more environmentally friendly, admitting it made them think about how much they consume generally.

Turning green with Sir David

Sir David Attenborough joining social media (12 per cent) and watching more sustainable lifestyles in documentaries like Zac Efron’s ‘Down To Earth’ (seven per cent) also had an impact.

Brits also pointed to noticing a reduction in air and noise pollution (40 per cent), spending more time outside, in their garden or local parks (40 per cent) and being able to hear birdsong and take more notice of nature (38 per cent) as the biggest reasons for becoming more environmentally conscious since lockdown.

UK adults are keen to keep these habits going too – over four in 10 (43 per cent) reveal they will or would consider recycling more in the future, with shopping at local stores (28 per cent), using less water (26 per cent) and growing their own veg (23 per cent) topping the nation’s eco-resolutions for the future.

With the nation turning green, LNER is encouraging the use of more sustainable methods of transport.