Environmentally Guilt-Free Travel

in Travel

Everyone loves to travel. It's a gift we give ourselves, and it offers us all an opportunity to visit new places and expand our horizons. As an environmentally aware traveler one must eventually take responsibility for his or her carbon footprint as it applies to their travel. While many people opt to simply offset the carbon they generate traveling by purchasing carbon credits that isn't the only way to travel green.

Travel Green without Flying

When traveling long distances most people opt for air travel due to its speed and convenience, but is that the only route to your destination? When traveling less then 300 miles, consider alternate modes of traveling such as trains or buses. If you consider all the time you spend getting to the airport, checking in, passing security and picking up your luggage you might be surprised to find that in some cases you total time will exceed or at least equal the time invested in train or bus travel.

Why is it important to consider alternates to airline travel?

  • Flying is one of the most fuel intensive modes of travel, it only because efficient when planes are filled to total capacity
  • Airplanes emit more than just CO2, other dangerous emissions such as NO2s can double the short term effects of CO2 emissions
  • Airplane contrails have been shown to play a role in climate change
  • Airports are major polluters of local air - many airports are among the top ten point-source polluters in their cities

Traveling by Train

Traveling by train you can find a variety of seating options from coach to private sleeping suites. While the amenities vary, traveling by train can be a very relaxing and even luxurious experience. The biggest limitation you'll encounter with train travel is scheduling and destination availability. As our nation focused more development on freeways and highways, our railways have stayed largely stagnant.

Traveling by Bus

Bus travel offers better scheduling and destination availability but for some people it lacks prerequisite amenities. Buses are a good way to extend the locations you can access via train. For example while you can't take a train all the way from Boston, Massachusetts to Montreal, Quebec - you can take a train 80% of the way and then transfer to to a bus for the remainder of your journey.

Staying Green in the Air

It's not always possible to avoid airline travel, but you can make smart choices that help keep you airline travel green.

  • Fly economy class to maximize the number of people on the airplane. Consider using economy class only airlines and use your dollars to support a more environmental sound choice
  • Since a large portion of airline pollution occurs during takeoff and landing always remember to fly direct.
  • Bring your own snacks in a reusable container. This is an easy way you can reduce packaging and waste

While each step may seem small, together all our efforts can make a difference. Traveling is something we all enjoy but since we share this planet we all need to do our part. Remember, regardless of your mode of travel; train, bus, airplane or car, smart decisions can reduce your impact on the environment and let your travel guilt free.

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Sam Greyhawk has 1 articles online

Sam Greyhawk is an energy efficiency evangelist who works with Cool-N-Save(tm), an Energy Star Partner [http://www.coolnsave.com/cool-n-save_is_an_energy_star_partner.html] based in Huntington Beach, California. The Cool-N-Save(tm) is an energy efficiency add-on for your existing air conditioner. Independently tested by Tulane University, the Cool-N-Save(tm), has been shown to improve air conditioner efficiency by up to 30%.

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Environmentally Guilt-Free Travel

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This article was published on 2010/04/04