Holiday Travel: The Greenest Way to Get There

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The holidays can be stressful, and planning for seasonal travel only adds to the anxiety. Between the hustle and bustle of packing bags and phoning family members, take a moment to consider how you’ll get there. To help you go home for the holidays with a lighter impact on our planet, Earth911 ranked common means of travel based on carbon emissions. You may be surprised by which came out greener!

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Photo: Shutterstock

Believe it or not, one holiday trip can have a larger environmental impact than an entire year of commuting to work. A week-long getaway for a family of four, including a 2,200-mile round-trip flight in first class, produces nearly 12,000 pounds of CO2 emissions, according to a study conducted by the Union of Concerned Scientists. That’s nearly twice the carbon emissions produced by most families in their weekday commute for an entire year, the study found.

Despite seasonal stress and hefty environmental impact, the number of Americans planning long-distance trips almost always increases during the holiday season. From mid-December through New Year’s, long-distance travel grows by as much as 23 percent compared to the rest of the year, according to the most recent National Household Travel Survey from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Your best travel bet may change based on the distance you travel and the size of your party. To make sure your holiday vacay produces minimal emissions, just use our handy guide to choose the means of travel that suits you, and the planet, best.

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Mary Mazzoni

Mary Mazzoni

Based in the Phoenix metro area, Mary is a lifelong vegetarian and enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, biking and relaxing in the park. When she’s not outside, she’s probably watching baseball. She is a former assistant editor for Earth911.

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