Eco-Friendly Holiday Travel Tips

Image by Edgar Zuniga Jr.

Well, the holiday season has arrived and many people are already making travel plans for their Winter vacations. Yes, there are people who due to the economy, finances or just personal preference will opt to stay close to home. But for those who are already planning some holiday travel, here are some eco-friendly holiday travel tips that might help you make the most of your holidays while keeping your environmental impact to a minimum.

1) Green Car Rental: Many car rental companies are getting on the band wagon and now offering fuel-efficient hybrids to their eco-friendly consumers. Places like Avis have a variety of green car options so you can not only cut your expenses during your holiday travel, but you can cut your harmful emissions as well.

Image by Jeffrey Beall

Hertz and many other rental car companies offer green options as well. Enterprise, National and Alamo boast the “most fuel efficient fleet in the industry“. So there is really no shortage of options when it comes to green car rentals this holiday season.

2) Green Flights: If your travel plans are going to take you a little further from home, you’d be smart to find the most eco-friendly flight around. For some tips on what airlines are the greenest, check out the They not only give you an idea of which airlines have implemented energy and fuel-efficient steps, but what to look for in an airline.

Image by Deanster1983

Now, there are options to “offset” your travel, but rather than giving your money away to a company that will apparently donate or contribute to the environment, why not just do a little more research yourself and figure out how to cut your own emissions. You can check out a report GreenBiz did earlier in the year regarding green airline rankings.

3) Green Hotels: When it comes to green hotels, there are many different groups and organizations that promote their “green” amenities. But how do you know they are truly green and aren’t just greenwashing? Travelocity promotes that they have no self-certified green hotels in their green hotel directory and their green hotel options even come with a “green guarantee“.

Image by Tezzca

Looks like the Roaming Gnome has been doing some green traveling. So if you are looking for inexpensive travel that fits your green bill, Travelocity might be a good option.

One thing to remember though is no matter where you stay, you can always take steps to make your hotel stay a little greener: opt to not have your towels washing daily, turn off lights not in use, set/adjust room temperature, recycle your bottles/cans, etc.

4) Stay at home: Of course one of the greenest options for the holidays is to stay at home. Cutting out travel all together means less harmful emissions but more importantly you have additional time to relax and enjoy the family. Plan some indoor activities or arts/crafts projects with the kids, go for a nature walk or scavenger hunt, etc.

5) Driving Tips: If you have local travel plans for the holidays, take some simple steps to limit your harmful emissions and increase your fuel economy. Ensure your vehicle is up-to-date on its basic maintenance, including rotating your tires and properly inflating them. Use a proven fuel additive. Clean out your vehicle, removing any unneeded items so it isn’t weighed down. Drive appropriately for your weather. Carpool if possible.

Image by JoelnSouthernCA

Planet Green also offers a few general tips on “How to Go Green: Holidays“. So whatever you are looking at doing over the holidays, there are simple tips/options that are available to ensure you have a happy, eco-friendly holiday. If you have any other eco-friendly tips, we’d love to hear about them!


  • David

    You forgot the train – the most efficient. That’s how I am traveling for the holidays. 🙂

  • Stephanie

    I drove right past that scene in the first photograph! I swear that’s in the Sierra Nevadas. But… getting back to the topic at hand… we always stay with relatives when we travel for Christmas. I’d say that’s even greener than staying at a “green” hotel. Cannot believe the holidays are already upon us!

  • jeshudas

    i add one last –the bike. this is a transportation im always drive for the near needs like to mini market, friend’s home and just for relax..simple and the healthy one. are you agree with me? 🙂

  • environment 911

    This year due to being busy with work I didn’t have the opportunity to further than a couple hours out of my city. Did a few staycations, it’s amazing what we can discover on our own doorsteps. I’m lucky enough to be in Vancouver, BC.

  • Leslie

    Wonderful tips! We usually stay with family, as well, when we travel but staying in a green hotel does sound fun. We’ve always wanted to stay at the Gaia in Anderson, CA. but haven’t had the opportunity to yet. Kinda in a funky location, if you ask me… but with family in Redding it wouldn’t be too bad. Anyway, I’m rambling…also like David’s suggestion- train!!! Need to do that someday. I’m not even sure if we’re traveling this year. How about you? 😉

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