minimising flying

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean minimising flying

1. Posted by iww (Budding Member 2 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Hi, my wife and I are thinking about a trip to South America early next year. For part of it, we'd be looking to travel from Buenos Aires to - hopefully - the Galapagos, presumably via somewhere in Equador.

Would really appreciate any info/ideas about how possible it would be to travel overland Buenos Aires to Equador?...

Also, we'd be travelling from the UK - any thoughts on minimising the flying from here would be very welcome too. One idea could be train to Lisbon, flight from there, perhaps to somewhere closer than Buenos Aires eg in Brazil (Belem?, Brasilia?) and then a train/bus down from there - is that feasible? Would love to use freighter travel but that looks uncertain to resume for some time (?).

Many thanks

[ Edit: Edited on 1 May 2023, 12:31 GMT by iww ]

2. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 2959 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

As I understand it, the biggest part of the carbon intensity of flights is take-off. So multiple short hops is worse than one direct flight, and one longer flight is not much different to reducing your air mileage a little like going overland to Lisbon.

I've vastly reduced choosing short hops like European city breaks, whilst for long-haul I just accept that there's little practical alternative yet.

3. Posted by iww (Budding Member 2 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Thanks, that's a good point and one I'd read about before but not looked into properly... so I've just done some calculations based on a reputable carbon offset site ( and I came up with these approximate figures:

carbon cost of take-off is the same as about 150 miles of 'ordinary' flight
carbon cost of 'ordinary' flight is about 30 times that of international rail, 6 times that of a coach, 7 times that of a passenger ferry

so if I can knock off even a few hundred miles of flying, that seems worthwhile?
It's just under 7000 miles to Buenos Aires from London so I was hoping I'd have some scope to do that - eg train to Lisbon saves 1000 miles of flying each way = 2000 miles return.

Happy to share my sums for anyone to check! and if others have better info, that'd be great.

Thanks for prompting me to look into it more, really helpful :)