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Leisure Cycling Blog

How to do an international cycling day trip by plane!


Lake Geneva

Going further afield for the same price as staying at home...

With a bit of planning and preparation, you’ll be amazed at where you can go cycling just for the day. You simply need to get up early, book your flight tickets in advance and keep to a tight itinerary the moment that you exit the plane.

Here is my step-by-step guide about how to book and complete an international cycling day trip by plane. 

These photos were taken on an April 2018 cycling day trip to Lake Geneva with Scott. Return flights cost £42 return with easyJet from Manchester Airport.

Find a destination...

I have completed successful cycling day trips by plane to Dublin, Alicante and Geneva from Manchester Airport in recent years. There are only a few cost-effective routes available from regional UK airports, but from London and the South East, there are many European airports that are possible to visit for the day especially from Stansted.

You just need to look for a flight with an early departure time and a return preferably after 1830 from your arrival airport. You can also fly back from another airport if this is an option too. E.g. Leave from Manchester and arrive back into Liverpool.

Manchester Airport

I always try to never pay more than £25 each way for the flight and try to think of what the cost would be for a comparable UK day trip location to gauge value. e.g. Why go to Lake Windermere when you can go to Lake Geneva for the same price? 

The cost for an off-peak return train ticket to London from Manchester is £84.50 as a benchmark.

I suggest checking flight prices and times on Skyscanner, Kayak or the airline's own low fare finder to see the latest deals. 

It's all about timing...

Get up early. Weekend flights leave first thing in the morning so factor in getting to the train station to catch an early train to the airport. The optimum flight departure time is around 0700 which means getting to the airport around 0545. 

This will give you enough time to comfortably pass through the airport security check and self-check-in. Carry as little as possible and ideally only bring what you are going to use. You might have to carry everything around with you all day, so make sure you are comfortable and can still be active whilst wearing a backpack.

The maximum flight time should be around 2 hours to get the most out of the day. Spain and the Balearic Islands fall just outside this travel time but are still doable. Any longer and too much of the day will be taken up with being on an aircraft.

Lac Leman

The clocks go forward an hour in most European countries and that also means losing an hour out of the day. It’s also important to find an airport with good city centre to airport connections.

I also advise doing international day trips when you do not have to work the next day. I’ve tried going into work the following day and find myself