Have you noticed that most travel articles nowadays refer almost exclusively to air travel — at least it feels that way sometimes? This is understandable given the revolution that has taken place in aviation over the course of the past 20 years due to the emergence of low cost carriers such as Ryanair and Easyjet. Prices have tumbled and air travel has most certainly been democratized in the process with more people now enjoying international travel than at any time in our history. But let’s get a bit of balance here. Air travel is not the only mode of travel available to the intending tourist nor is it, in certain instances, the most practical one. Take ferries for instance: the veritable Cinderella of the travel industry. There has been a bit of a revolution taking place here as well but it has gone largely unnoticed. Prices have tumbled in real terms whilst the hardware has been greatly improved, thus ensuring that the latter-day ferry customer experience is far removed from that of his/her counterpart of even 10 years ago.
OK, utilising ferry services isn’t suitable for everyone so for the sake of practicality, let’s just confine ourselves to destinations in Britain and the near continent. There are many benefits and advantages to taking the ferry over taking a flight:
- No two or three hour –hour check in procedure. Just turn up at the port an hour before departure
- No frustrating queue at security to contend with.
- No limitations on baggage allowances or hand luggage
- No cramped seating or feeling like a human sardine!
- No dragging of luggage through terminals that sometimes seem like miles long.
In short, ferry travel is a very civilized way to get from A to B and whilst it may not represent the shortest route it almost assuredly represents the most hassle-free. The best part is the coming back, particularly if you’re travelling with a car because your overseas or duty free purchases are not limited by weight. The personal duty free allowance for wine is 90 litres — that’s 120 75ml bottles of wine, per person. Happy Days!