Green Travel Guilt?

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When traveling long distances, it may be inevitable to travel by air. Before you feel guilty about boarding the plane, keep in mind that air travel may be the fastest, most cost-effective, and sometimes greenest mode of available transportation to your destination.

That’s right. Greenest. For all the carbon emissions per passenger, remember that the airplane will be traveling to its destination whether or not you are sitting in that seat (and the incremental carbon emissions due to adding you to the passenger manifest is minimal), so the decision to avoid air travel, and drive or take a bus instead, is not always a very green one.

Balance the value of your time and ability to have a green impact during your trip in other ways. You can, if you wish, buy carbon offsets. (Personally, I do not. For a detailed explanation of my thinking on this topic, read this post: Why I Don’t Buy Carbon Offsets, and Why You Shouldn’t Either.)

If you do buy them, please make sure you use a reputable seller that will do what they say they will do with your money. TerraPass is a seller of carbon offsets that is deemed highly reputable by many experienced green travelers.

So now, don’t feel guilty if you must travel by air. Your vacation can still be green. Especially if you practice green principles while you are at your destination. Our next post will give you some ideas on how to do this with minimal inconvenience to your vacation.

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June 2011
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