current issue web exclusives blog multimedia archive subscribe advertisers
Feature Articles
Editor's Note
Audubon View
Field Notes
Green Guru
Earth Almanac
One Picture

Green Travel Pocket Guide
Bon Voyage
Whether you’re planning a trip to Australia or Zambia, these 16 tips will help reduce your carbon footprint.


  • Book direct flights, or as few transfers as possible (takeoffs and landings use lots of fuel).
  • Rent a hybrid minivan and vacation with friends to save on fuel and costs.
  • Vacation closer to home and visit nearby state or national parks, or even local amusement parks. 
  • If you’re visiting an exotic locale, consider doing an eco-volunteer vacation.
  • When booking accommodations, whether at home or abroad, ask about environmental certifications, like Sustainable Travel International or Green Globe.
  • Trains are a great way to travel; Amtrak’s Northeast trains, which run on electricity, are the cleanest rail option. So consider a trip to New York, Boston, or Washington, D.C.
  • When flying, avoid booking a first-class seat, which takes twice as much room and therefore twice as much carbon as an economy seat.
  • A bus will cut your carbon in half, even compared with a hybrid car; taking a bus instead of flying can cut your emissions by 75 percent. Visit, Greyhound, Peter Pan Bus, Trailways.
  • Fly airlines with newer, more efficient fleets.


  • Fly light—lugging aboard 10 extra pounds per passenger requires an additional 350 million gallons of jet fuel
    annually (enough to fly a 747 continuously for a decade).
  • Bring your own reusable water bottles.
  • Pack snacks/meals in reusable containers.


  • Traffic congestion boosts emissions, so avoid driving
    during peak times.
  • Save fuel by properly inflating your tires.
  • At your destination, ask about public transportation, or even rent bikes.
  • Support sustainable local businesses. Check these websites: for shops and activities, for certified eco restaurants, and for farmers’ markets.

Sources: Union of Concerned Scientists; The Green Book, by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen.


Back to Web Exclusives