Holiday Travel

Matt / Flickr

Whether you’re heading to a friend’s house for dinner or traveling across the country to see your family, you can save money and fuel during the holiday season with these tips.

Choose the greenest travel method:
Trains, buses and carpools use less fuel than single-occupancy vehicles and most plane trips. Visit the Sightline Institute to learn about the best travel modes for saving emissions.

Pack light: Extra weight uses more fuel, no matter the mode of transportation. Leave the kitchen sink at home.

Driving? Avoid peak travel times. Traveling on off-peak days can prevent you hitting congested highways. Don't lose your well-earned time off sitting in traffic!

Drive defensively: Aggressive driving can lower your highway miles per gallon (MPG) by 33%, and city MPG by 5%. Gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 50 mph.

Maintain your vehicle: Performing vehicle maintenance prior to driving, like changing your oil and properly inflating your tires, can also improve the efficiency of your vehicle by 8% or more.

Flying? Avoid layovers and redeyes. Frequent takeoffs and landings use more fuel, and the pollution emitted on night flights has a more detrimental impact on the climate.

Offset what you can’t avoid. Inexpensive carbon offsets help mitigate the impact of your air or car travel. Calculate your carbon footprint with, and they’ll tell you how much it will cost to offset your travel.

Don’t drink and drive. Share cabs with your friends, hire a party bus or nominate a designated driver to take a group to and from the festivities. By acting responsibly, not only will you prevent accidents, but you’ll lower your carbon impact by reducing the number of vehicles on the road.

Want to find a ride share group near you? Try or If you want to learn even more about getting there greener, EarthShare member Union of Concerned Scientists' Green Travel FAQ will help.

If you have your own great ideas for keeping making holiday travel eco-friendly, comment below! 

Go back to the Holiday Green Guide main page



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Aaron Huertas

These are great tips for when you're traveling. We can also dramatically reduce our carbon footprint by picking greener modes of travel for our vacations. The Union of Concerned Scientists analyzed vacation travel options and found some pretty surprising results, including instances in which flying is a better choice than driving.

Poorly planned vacation travel can emit just as much carbon as a year's worth of commuting. There's lots of opportunities here to reduce emissions.

The report covers auto, train, bus and air travel for groups up to 4:

-Aaron Huertas
Union of Concerned Scientists

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