Worried that your cheap summer flights are choking the environment? Ed Parker on getting around the green way.The prospect of over three months without lectures, tutorials, or any other commitments to speak of is certainly an enticing one. Whilst the eager anticipation of reading all seven Harry Potter books back to back may be enough of a thrill for some, the first thing that springs to mind for most of us is that glamorous vision of setting off on a plane to some far off corner of the world with nothing but a backpack and a small pot of marmite. It is an idea, no doubt, which many students will be considering and who would blame them? But in a world in which the welfare of the environment is coming to weigh ever more heavily on our consciences, perhaps there is an alternative approach: one which doesn’t involve flying from place to place without thought for the consequences.Flying seems so cheap and convenient nowadays that it would be easy to ignore the wealth of rewarding travel opportunities right on our doorstep. Perhaps “travelling green” has just as much to offer as jet-setting off to lands afar, not to mention giving you a clean conscience in the process. And even if the idea of “eco-tourism” makes you turn green in an all too literal sense, there is still something to be said for the old-fashioned romance of the Journey. I am not about to suggest that you spend your summer on a rocky beach in Wales. Quite the opposite in fact. Given a moment’s consideration, the range of possible travel experiences that don’t require getting on a plane is simply staggering. From Brighton Pier to the Egyptian Pyramids, there really are no limits to the adventures which you could end up on given half the chance. So why not try something different this summer? Why not replace the artificial gloss of the plane cabin with the charm of a dusty old train carriage? Why not put a green stamp in your passport for a change?So, what to do next. You are ready to take a righteous step towards global welfare, but without the help of budget flights at the click of a button, you find yourself at a loose end. The opportunities are simply endless, but for those who still refuse to take some initiative, here are a few bundles of summer fun that might be worthy of consideration… The Grand Tour  When it comes to traversing the diverse and quirky landscape of Europe, there are plenty of ways you can get around. You could windsurf to Calais, then hitchhike to the Southern coast of Spain and back again. You could regurgitate an old bop costume and pretend to be an attendant on a passenger ferry to Iceland or, like the rest of the world, you could catch the train. The initial cost of getting across the channel isn’t an appealing one however. Even booking well in advance, a return ticket to Paris on the Eurostar will set you back £49 (www.raileurope.co.uk). As a consolation, the carbon dioxide emissions of flying the same distance would be more than ten times as great and, as of 2007, Eurostar have even committed to offsetting the emissions for passengers free of charge, effectively making the journey entirely carbon neutral.Once you arrive on the continent though, things get a whole lot easier. Global Inter-Rail passes start at £115 (www.railpassshop.com) for 5 days of travelling in 10, while £288 will give you a month-long pass. Meanwhile, single country passes start as low as £24, so that with just a minimal planning effort, you could sort out an affordable tour of some of Europe’s finest destinations. Within Italy alone, a single pass could take you through the likes of Venice, Florence, Rome, and Verona without even stopping for breath, and the broad montage of cultural nuggets on offer is simply staggering. From the Rossini Opera festival in Pesaro in August, to the renowned Umbria Jazz festival in Perugia in July, there is something for everyone’s taste. And for any of you not so culturally inclined, the elegant grandeur of the ancient cities, or at the very least the quality of the pizzas, should be enough of an appeal.For those who feel that InterRailing is a little bit too conventional, there is no reason to restrict yourself to the train carriage, comfortable though it may be. You could get a long way in Europe with nothing but a bicycle as your trusty steed, as long as you have the patience and perseverance to spend a lot of time on the open road. France, in particular, is well known for its cycle routes, with an extensive network of secondary road systems taking you past plenty of eccentric villages and a plethora of scenic landscapes. The Loire Valley is a notoriously spectacular cultural vista, with its many historic towns and villages, its opulent chatauex, and an excess of fine wines for the more refined student travellers. If biking isn’t your thing and you are still keen to keep expenditure to a minimum, you don’t need to give up on flightless travel quite yet. Eco-tourism has budget alternatives which rival even the most ludicrous low-cost airline prices. One of the more impressive offers is a single ticket to Holland for only £25 (www.dutchflyer.co.uk). So the green passport stamp doesn’t have to come at too objectionable a cost, even though it does require a couple of trains, a long ferry ride, and the best part of a day for the trouble. Horizons Near and Far  The more thought you give it, the more it becomes apparent that the limits of environmentally friendly tourism are nigh on boundless. Considering the length of the summer holiday, the potential horizons of your travelling experience extend as far as you dare to indulge them. At the most ambitious end of the spectrum, you could book yourself a seat on the Trans-Siberian Railway (www.seat61.com) which, provided you can sustain a train journey extending over an entire week, will take you from Moscow to the heart of China. And having made it that far, why not go the extra yard: Tokyo, Cambodia, Vietnam, and even Singapore are then but a hop skip and a jump away. It would certainly be a story to remember, and a worthy competitor to the most extravagant summer tales recounted by your peers next term.Meanwhile, much closer to home, a rewarding alternative which avoids the extended mileage of a trip to China and back, comes in the form of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. A glorious assortment of cultural variety, the festival offers a feasible and affordable destination to students looking for a less formidable, though equally fulfilling, summer experience. Running from the 5th to the 27th of August, the Fringe features more than 28,000 performances of over 1800 shows, including the pinnacle of the world’s comedy, music, and theatrical scenes. At only a £12.50 train fare away, the festival is yet another contender to add to the ever growing list of potential candidates for your prospective agenda this summer. So before you jump at the idea of a cheap and convenient flight to the other side of the planet, take a moment to consider what you really want from your summer. Perhaps you are fed up of tiresome airport lounges and fancy taking a different and more wholesome approach to travelling. Perhaps you might care to indulge in the steps of a journey rather than just the destination. Perhaps your conscience has taken an environmental turn. Perhaps you might try taking the road less travelled by. And perhaps, just perhaps, it will make all the difference.