Figuring Out Green Travel for Families

With the holiday season upon us, many families will be traveling a lot, even if only to visit relatives. It’s hard sometimes to balance environmental sensibilities with the chance to see rarely-seen relatives.

green holiday travel

Visiting family is one of the delights of the holiday season. In fact, I recently returned from a pre-holiday dinner with relatives that live 500 miles away from me. We drove, as that was the most sensible for our budget. Fortunately that also appears to be the method of travel that produces the least carbon.

I found a carbon trip calculator that showed that driving that distance in a small car like ours creates about 600 pounds of carbon. The round trip flight would create 431 lbs of carbon per passenger. That may sound better, but remember that’s per passenger, and there are 4 of us. I had to estimate with the car, since the site only calculates based on annual usage, going as low as 2000 miles. I cut that number in half since the round trip is approximately 1000 miles.

Trains are also a greener way to go, but rather more leisurely than many people have time for when traveling for the holidays. On the plus side, the kids aren’t so strapped in and can wander about. No bathroom stops either. But the only train service I saw for our trip involved two stints on a bus… not my idea of a good trip. But it’s fairly efficient and doesn’t produce as much carbon as other alternatives.

But kids can get just as bored and annoying to other passengers on the train as they do on a plane. Bring toys if that’s your choice.

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3 replies on “Figuring Out Green Travel for Families”

  1. foxnomad says:

    Depending on their age, you’ve got to come up with creative games to keep kids occupied.

    Also, making the whole trip an adventure works wonders too.

  2. Stephanie says:

    My mother had a great way to keep us from asking how much longer on trips. She used a wax pencil to draw a line on each of our windows, and numbered it 1-10. Then when any of us asked how much further, she could tell us which number we were near.

  3. Tiffany says:

    I have looked into taking a train to get from Gunnison, Colorado to Kansas City but I would have to drive to drive at least 4 hours to get to the train station and then the trip on the train would be overnight since the train goes past Kansas City to Illinois, then I would have to get on a second train to go back to Kansas City. By the time I finally arrive I would have saved time by driving.

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