Travel Green on Turkey Day

11.17.2009
by satu

Green ThanksgivingWe are nearing the darkest, smoggiest, most nerve wrenching travel day of the year: the day before Thanksgiving. Flight prices are sky-high, malls and grocery stores are overcrowded, and the roads are a nightmare. Luckily from an environmental standpoint, it is estimated that this year a fifth of Americans will spend less for the holiday than the previous year, and the airline industry has estimated a 4% decrease in Thanksgiving traffic.

Skipping holiday travel on the biggest family day of the year for environmental reasons is hardly feasible for most, but what every traveler can do is take simple steps to minimize the harms of carbon emissions from travel and consider sustainable alternatives on the turkey day itself.

Here is our list of sustainable travel tips and green Thanksgiving solutions:

  1. Rail over road:

    Fighting traffic never put anyone on the mood for family fun, so consider taking the train instead. Amtrak is preparing for one of the busiest travel days of the year, so make sure you reserve your seat ahead of time.

  2. Road rules:

    If you must travel by car, just a few simple measures can reduce your carbon emmissions on the way and save you a few bucks. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and that your car is functioning properly. Avoid speeding even if the road is clear; especially SUVs and minivans start using much more gasoline if you go over 65mi/hour. Choose your route carefully - chances are at least a portion of your trip can be driven on a less busy road.

  3. Offset your holiday carbon footprint:

    Whether you need to fly or drive to be with your family on Thanksgiving, offsetting carbon emissions that result from your holiday travel is a great way to have a clear conscience for the big day.

  4. Local menu:

    Shopping local for your Thanksgiving menu items doesn't just mean that you avoid imported food; industrial farms, even if they are located close to you, use massive amounts of pesticides that contribute to global warming and can harm the environment even more than transporting food. Still, a good guideline to buying local is to support local food production; farmers markets are great for finding sustainably produced food. If you need ideas to green your Thanksgiving table, The Daily Green has compiled a list of great green Thanksgiving menu ideas.

  5. Organic options:

    While costlier, organically produced food is preferable because it promotes sustainability and is considered healthier. If you are concerned about cost, make just a portion of your menu organic.

At the Global Basecamps green travel headquarters, our Thanksgiving travel plans range from camping and climbing in Joshua Tree National Park to mini vacations in Europe, but whatever our destination, we stick to our sustainable tourism philosophy and do our best to minimize our carbon footprint and promote sustainability on our travels.

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