Green Tips: Holiday Travel

Green Tips | December 6, 2019

The holiday season usually coincides with an increase in travel across the nation. Last year, it was forecast that one-third of Americans would travel during the holiday season. If you plan on traveling, consider your environmental impact while planning your trip. Read on for our green tips about travel this holiday season.

How You Get There

Travel often comes at a cost to our environment. Transportation is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions nationwide and statewide. Consider choosing a mode of transportation that’s better for the environment. 

Unless you’re walking or biking, your best bet is to travel by bus, train, or electric or hybrid car, as those options have a smaller carbon footprint compared to other modes of transportation – less than ½ pound of carbon dioxide per mile. 

You may also consider carpooling if you’re traveling with other families or friends to save energy, reduce vehicle emissions, and decrease your fuel costs.

If you need to travel by plane, look for nonstop flights because most emissions from airplanes result from the take-off and landing process. 

Carbon Offsets

Consider purchasing offsets this year if you can’t travel by bus, train, or electric vehicle. 

Carbon offsets help mitigate environmental damage by supporting emission reduction projects that capture greenhouse gases, support renewable energy initiatives, and absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.  Some examples of emission reduction projects include capturing methane gas from landfills, supporting wind turbine installations as a source of renewable energy, or planting trees to sequester and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

There are several companies that offer carbon offsets such as Terrapass, Carbonfund, or Carbonify.  Most airlines also offer their own carbon offset services. 


The more your luggage weighs, the less energy efficient your journey becomes. The heavier a car, bus, or plane weighs, the more fuel it needs to travel. Make sure to pack lightly this year and only take the most necessary items with you.

Don’t forget to reduce your use of single-use plastics and avoid packing disposable travel-size toiletry containers. Single-use plastics add to our waste stream and can clog our waterways. Instead, pack your toiletries in refillable containers. You can also pack bars of soap and shampoo to avoid plastic bottles altogether.


If you’re traveling for vacation this year, try taking an ecotourism trip rather than a traditional trip. Ecotourism includes travel to protected natural environments. Instead of clearing land for big hotel resorts, ecotourism can help countries and communities build wealth while preserving natural resources. Check out’s 600 eco-friendly tours. They may be as exotic as helping release endangered sea turtles in Costa Rica or as simple as a day trip from the city to a local farm to learn about environmentally-sustainable farming practices.

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