“Greener” Holiday Travel

This year, why not reduce global warming and improve air quality by lowering your auto emissions at the same time that you lower your family’s stress level? Skip the stressful holiday travel and celebrate an eco-friendly holiday at home.

According to Use Less Stuff, if each family reduced holiday gasoline consumption by 1 gallon (about 20 miles), we would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1 million tons. If you find that you can stay at home this year, great!

If you must go over the river and through the woods, there are still ways to make your travel a little bit greener. If you drive, use less fuel and lower your emissions by making sure your car is in good working order, tuned up to handle winter weather and your tires are properly inflated.  How about renting a hybrid for a long trip instead of putting the miles on your own car?

If, like the Two Turtle Doves your travel will involve flying, you’re trip will make a fairly significant to the greenhouse effect.  Instead of giving up air travel, opt for airlines with young fleets – Continental and Jet Blue, for example – the newer aircraft in these fleets have improved fuel efficiency and the companies both have a strong environmental commitment.  Continental Airlines, and others, also have tools for you to neutralize that impact of your flights by buying carbon offsets.  While offsets aren’t the solution to global warming, they can be part of the solution.  If your airline doesn’t provide you with a calculator when you make reservations, use a carbon calculator to estimate what you impact will be and offset your trip emissions this way.

And, if you are just “getting out of town” for the holidays, one of the easiest things you can do to make a vacation greener is to choose a hotel that’s committed to minimizing its own environmental footprint – a task made even easier by the fact that, in addition to all the eco-resorts, most hotel chains and independent properties are hard at work developing green strategies.  Take a look at ResponsibleTravel.com for an easily searchable database of eco-aware hotels and resorts around the world, or Environmentally Friendly Hotels which rates hotels on a scale of 1 to 7 for eco-friendly commitment.

In January 2010, we will be launching a ground transportation calculator on our site so that you will be able to offset your trip to/from the airport–both at home and at your destination.  Keep an eye out in the new year!