Are you traveling this weekend? Take your environmental consciousness along with you.

The U.S. transportation sector is responsible for nearly 40 percent of the nation’s fossil-fuel related carbon emissions.

Decreasing the amount of CO2 we emit into the atmosphere is important if we want to reduce our transportation footprint and reverse climate change. Help to reduce your footprint and consider these green travel tips this weekend:


Deciding on how to get to your destination can be a tough choice. Typically, choosing the greenest method will depend on how far you’re traveling.

  • Buses, trains, hybrid cars and coach seats on narrow jet planes emit the smallest carbon footprint at less than ½ pound of CO2 per mile. Regular cars, coach, and regional jets belong to the medium carbon footprint category. The worst carbon emitters are SUVs and first-class jets, which produce more than one pound of CO2 per mile.
  • Buses—surprisingly, travel by bus is typically the most eco-friendly. However, it is a time sacrifice, and the bus must be full for the benefits to pay off.
  • For short trips—take the train or bus. This emits three times less gas than air travel. Trains can also be a great way to enjoy the scenery along your route.
  • Renting a car—opt for smaller cars or hybrid models if available.
  • Airplane—find the most direct route possible, multi-stop flights require additional takeoffs and landing which require larger amounts of fuel and create more greenhouse gases.

Packing & Preparation

  • Pack light—the heavier your bags are, the more fuel cars, trains, and planes will have to use to transport them, which creates more greenhouse gases. Most people overpack anyways – do you really need to bring three pairs of shoes for one weekend?
  • Reuse – save on cost and waste by using reusable water bottles and shopping bags.
  • Unplug – before you leave unplug and/or turn off all electronics and lower your thermostat. This will save money on your bill as well as reduce energy usage. Unplugging non-essential electronics stops them from leaching power when not in use.
  • Papers – still getting paper newspapers delivered to your home? Suspend delivery during your time away. Saves trees and it’s unlikely you’re going to read all the missed issues upon your return.

At your destination

  • Select a Green Hotel. What does that mean? Is it locally owned and operated and/or staffed by local employees? Do they recycle? Are they actively working to reduce their energy consumption? How does the hotel work to reduce their energy consumption? Visit the Green Hotel Association website and look at their member hotels – perhaps there is one in or near your destination.
  • During your stay—keep showers short, turn out the lights and lower heat/air when you leave the room. Re-use sheets and towels instead of having them washed. Consider using the “do not disturb” sign on the door to turn down maid service.
  • Use public transportation—this will cut down on carbon emissions as well as allow you to sit back and take in the sights around you safely while traveling from one place to another.
  • Looking for still more tips for traveling green?

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