Reduce Air Travel

Air travel has a big impact.  One flight from San Francisco to New York City can create the same carbon emissions as 2 months of regular commuting 40 miles a day.  Reducing air travel doesn’t mean you can’t get away—be creative and consider your travel options!

Households: 2 completed, 1 committed
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Annual Savings
$0 - $0
Upfront Cost
These are estimates

Energy and water savings

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kWh Electricity
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Therms Natural Gas
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Gallons Gas
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Gallons Water
  • Save energy and money
  • Discover new places closer to home
  • Reduce carbon emissions and air pollution

Purchase Air Travel Offsets

We are partnering with Carbon Lighthouse to provide high quality offsets for Air Travel. These offsets remove emissions directly from utilities in the U.S. and support more renewable energy.

For more information, go to Carbon Lighthouse"

Purchase offsets for air miles

Price: $3/1,000 miles

Total price: $

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Purchase Anually

*Purchase just for this year, or subscribe to purchase offsets anually.


The Action
We will reduce our air miles traveled.
Is this action for me?
If you fly, this action is for you!
When and Who?
This action can be done anytime by anyone.
How long will it take?
Quick - a bit of time to plan alternate options.
What is the cost?
No cost and big savings!


  • Save energy and money

  • Discover new places closer to home

  • Reduce carbon emissions and air pollution

The Basics

There are times when air travel is important and the best option. However, sometimes there are other options that can be just as good and help create a bit less impact on the climate. Here are some ideas to consider.


Enjoy a staycation
Take a road trip
Take the bus or train
Video or teleconference
Combine trips
If you have to fly, choose non-stop flights

Take a staycation

One way to reduce air miles traveled is to consider staying local.  If you vacation with air travel regularly, consider turning one of those trips into a home vacation.  Be a local tourist in your home town!  Check out all the interesting places nearby that you haven’t had a chance to explore.  You will save money on both the flight and the accommodations.

Of course, sometimes you just need to get away from home.  An alternative idea is to find a local spot not too far away to stay.  A hotel in the city, a cabin in the woods, whatever is relatively close (100-200 miles), but a change of scenery.  If you skip the cost of the plane ticket, you can add in an upscale restaurant or other special treat on your trip!

Hit the road

Road trip!  If your vacation destination is between 300 and 500 miles, driving generally creates less impact than flying, especially for a family of 3 or more.  However, if you are traveling solo, that trip might be best by plane.  A 400-mile trip takes a bit longer by a car, maybe 6-7 hours.  However, if you include the time to drive to the airport, arrive early for security and then find transportation to your destination after landing, a 400-mile trip by air can take 3-4 hours.  For only a couple of additional hours of travel time you can help lower your impact!

Make the trip fun - play car games, set up a video for the kids in the back set or stop at a scenic site or two on the way.  Driving gives you more flexibility to decide when to leave or stop along the way and is much more relaxed, particularly with kids.

Take the bus or train?

Yes!  Taking the bus or train is also a great way to lower your impact.  The bus has by far the lowest impact of all the travel options; the train comes in second.  For trips of 300 to 500 miles (or longer depending on your comfort level for bus travel), buses have about three times less impact per passenger.  The best part is, buses have really improved and are not the old Greyhound you may think of.  Many are new and have comfortable seats, wifi, and seat back video.

Take time to relax and enjoy the ride!  Train and bus stations have the added bonus that they are much closer to city centers, often bringing you closer to where you need to be.  For more information check out  Greyhound for bus schedules and Amtrak for train schedules.  


There are some situations where there is no other feasible mode of travel than flying.  However, it is important to consider if the trip is really necessary.  Business technology is on our side in looking for alternatives.  Although face-to-face meetings are sometimes important, business today can often be done by video and teleconferencing.  The world has become smaller, and teams now often stretch across countries or across continents.

With the impact of travel on the climate as well as the company’s budget, it makes sense to develop a method of video or teleconferencing that will get the job done.  This holds for families and friends as well to stay in touch.  Low-cost options like Skype, Facetime, and Google Hangouts allow face-to-face meetings with very few technological requirements other than a computer with a camera and a good internet connection.  For business meetings there are additional options with more features for a bit more cost.  A good portion of business flights could easily be replaced with video conferencing.  Talk with your company about adopting video or teleconferencing practices and help lower your impact and save your company time and money.

Think before you fly

The bottom line, take a moment and think before you fly.  Consider if the next flight you’re planning to take is necessary. Perhaps you can combine a trip instead of taking two separate ones. Need to go on a business trip somewhere close to family or a place you’ve always wanted to see? Perhaps you could plan business and pleasure in one go, saving a flight.  And if you need to fly, go for it!

Fly non-stop

If you need to fly, try to fly non-stop.  Take-offs and landings use a lot of fuel compared to flying at the cruising altitude.  Extra stops, particularly stops that take you out of the way, can significantly increase the emissions of a trip.  Fly non-stop when possible to reduce emissions.  Also, different airlines have different levels of fuel efficiency.  If you are really interested, check out this study that ranks Fuel Economy by Airline (chart on page 4) to see how the airline you are considering booking with stacks up.  

Carbon offsets

If you need to fly, consider purchasing carbon offsets to reduce your impact!