Founder: Cat Jones
Built during the current pandemic, while the brakes have been on global travel, travel startup Byway has created a new type of slow, hyper-personal holiday, taking travellers off the beaten path by train, boat and bike. After offering early access to its holidays between the two lockdowns, Byway is now ABTA bonded and poised to launch when the current lockdown lifts.
Byway is on a mission to build a post-Covid world in which flight-free holidays are normal, and a vibrant travel ecosystem flourishes away from the beaten path. It aims to accelerate the transition to sustainable leisure travel and draw tourists away from airport hubs suffering over-tourism to the wonderful places in between, boosting local economies.
With rail travel accounting for just 14g of CO2 per passenger mile, compared to 285g for air, you could get the train from London to Edinburgh and back five times and your carbon footprint would still be lower than if you flew there. This social and environmental mission has just won Byway £100k from Innovate UK’s Sustainable Innovation Fund, which invests in ground-breaking clean growth projects to develop new technologies, secure and create new jobs, drive productivity and tackle climate change.
Byway packages up a complete ABTA-protected trip, built around customer (and pet) preferences, in a few clicks. Customers can adapt their schedule while they’re away, and if government restrictions mean the trip can’t go ahead, Byway issues one complete and immediate refund. Round the clock Covid-travel assistance has been developed to keep in constant contact with travellers using WhatsApp to avoid local lockdowns and provide last minute tips based on openings or closures.
Promising endless inspiration for local hotspots, hidden viewpoints and awe-inspiring detours, Byway’s emphasis is on experiencing the world by travelling through it, rather than flying over it. Trips are currently available across the UK and France, including Yorkshire, the Scottish Highlands and the West Country, as well as France’s Alsace region and Corsica.