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Green Your Vacation PDF Print E-mail
Written by Shawn Dell Joyce Creative Syndicate   
Thursday, 23 August 2012 03:27

Driving is the easiest vacation option, but it is getting more expensive and is also one of the leading causes of climate change, generating almost 20 pounds of carbon emissions for every gallon of gas used. Air travel seems like it would be more efficient since more people travel for less time. However, a single transatlantic flight for a family of four creates more carbon emissions than that family will generate domestically for an entire year. Consumer Reports points out that a flight from New York to Los Angeles can generate from 1,924 to 6,732 pounds of carbon, depending on the carbon calculator you use (and variables in fuel efficiency, passenger load, and air traffic). Although air travel is seen as the most convenient method of travel, it is also the most environmentally devastating, leading many conscientious passengers to resort to carbon offsets.

According to TerraPass, offsetting a flight from NY to LA would cost around $10. Your 10 bucks is invested in clean energy and efficiency projects such as wind farms, which results in verified reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

If you're traveling great distances, the most fuel efficient way to travel is by train, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). In a recent report, the DOE states that Amtrak — on an energy consumed per passenger-mile basis — is 18 percent more energy efficient than commercial airlines.

Nearly 1 billion tourists crisscross the globe every year. Now, more than ever, it's so important that we tread lightly wherever we go.

Here are a few ways to save fuel costs and emissions this summer:

Take a local vacation. Stay closer to home, and explore the places you haven't been in your own community. Set aside a week of local family fun, and schedule a different local museum, farm, or small town for each day. Plan your stops according to the route of a train or bus to maximize your efficiency.

Explore the rail trails in your area by bicycle. Most communities have rail trail projects connecting larger cities by walking and biking paths. Explore your area by riding in five-mile sections each day.www.railtrails.org

Stay in a green hotel when possible. If you strive to be green at home, why not on vacation as well? www.greenhotels.com; www.environmentallyfriendlyhotels.com


Travel with friends, and share the costs and carbon of each car trip. If you carpool, then share a vacation rental. You form tighter friendship bonds, use less gas, and eat out less.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 23 August 2012 04:10