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4 Ways To Reduce The Impact Of Your Holiday Travel

4 Ways To Reduce The Impact Of Your Holiday Travel

Despite the high cost of fuel and invasive TSA tactics, the average distance traveled by Americans this Thanksgiving holiday is expected to be 816 miles.

AAA expects 42 million people to travel for the holiday, an increase of 11 percent over last year.

While it’s great to reconnect with family and friends (or to get some much-needed time away from them), all this travel means an increased amount of pollutants in the atmosphere.

Even though you might not be able to avoid holiday travel altogther, there are simple ways to reduce your Thanksgiving travel carbon footprint.

1. Don’t Travel

There are plenty of ways to celebrate Thanksgiving, and they don’t all have to involve you and your extended family crammed around a crowded dinner table. Consider staying home to enjoy good food and a sense of gratitude with only your immediate family or some close friends. You might also consider volunteering your time to a local homeless shelter or food bank that’s working to bring cheer to those less fortunate.

2. Meet In The Middle

If possible, choose a centralized location for your family get-together. Over 90 percent of all holiday travel is made by car, and because very gallon of gasoline burned releases 20 pounds of CO2, this has a big impact on air quality. Choosing a destination (even if it’s not Grandma’s house) that keeps mileage low for all guests will help reduce demand for gas, greenhouse gas emissions, and air pollution. Since gas prices are always their higest the week of Thanksgiving, using a central location will also reduce travel costs.

3. Forget The Plane and Take A Train

When there’s no way to avoid long-distance travel, booking a flight might seem like the most economical option, but it’s hardly eco-friendly. Traveling by train (preferably high-speed rail) creates fewer emissions per passenger than traveling alone in a car or taking a plane. Amtrak, which operates most of the limited train service across the US, estimates the carbon emissions per passenger mile when traveling by plane is .48 kg compared to only .21 kg when traveling by train. You’ll also avoid long lines and boring layovers.

4. Offset Your Trip

If the car’s already packed or the plane tickets booked, you can still help to mitigate the harmful effects of your holiday travel by purchasing carbon offsets. These “credits” are a way to contribute funds to carbon-cutting projects, like wind farms, biomass ventures, and reforestation efforts. Independent organizations, such as TerraPass, and offer convenient calculators for estimating the carbon offsets needed for both plane and car travel.

Got other suggestions for reducing the impact of holiday travel? Share them in a comment!

Like this story? Connect with Beth on Twitter or StumbleUpon!

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Image Credit: Flickr - geishaboy500

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3:35PM PDT on Jul 29, 2014

Useful travel tips.

3:52AM PDT on Oct 25, 2012

Thanks much for sharing! If you're interested you can check out my travel tips sites Kerala tour package and Kerala beaches...

6:16AM PDT on Jul 3, 2012

It is a good alternative to use train in the place of plane for travel if you have economical problem.

Hotels Dublin

4:32AM PDT on May 31, 2012

Really some nice ways to reduce the bad impact of holiday travel on the surrounding environment while creating more goodness to the people who need it from us. It is really inspirational and focused way of getting things done quite easily.

Russia Travel Visa Toronto

3:30AM PDT on Mar 17, 2012

Try to resource eco-friendly toiletries. This way you can still have your high-class thickening, gloss-inducing shampoos and conditioners and your additional stimulating bathtub solutions – but you know that they will not clean off you and into a delicate water course impacting creatures and areas.

Times Square Hotel

2:33AM PST on Dec 25, 2010

Im going for tip 1. I also miss my cats too much ;)

5:44AM PST on Dec 21, 2010

I stay local - still, good tips :)

10:04PM PST on Dec 11, 2010

I hate to travel for holidays. It's just too crazy.

5:59AM PST on Nov 22, 2010

Stay at Home??

5:15AM PST on Nov 22, 2010

I am staying home to watch the fights on TV.

No, not boxing ---> I mean the ones at airports between the security people and the ones who think their decrepit old fat bodies are of some sort of sexual interest to the unfortunates whose job it is to see that no more crazies get onto airplanes a la 9/11.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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Beth Buczynski Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in... more
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