Keep Your Summer Travel Green and Cheap

Whatever your mode of transport, you can save money and shrink the costs.

By Emily Main


Trains can be a great green travel alternative for short, heavily traveled routes, such as from New York to Boston or San Francisco to Portland. Furthermore, train stations are usually located in a city’s downtown area, rather than miles out of town like airports, making the area’s touristy hotspots within easy walking distance.

To green your train travel:

• Make the trip your trip
Until we get high-speed rapid transit in this country, train travel often takes too long to be a practical way to get to a vacation spot. But you can turn the train trip itself into your vacation, avoiding excess carbon emissions as well as the need to sit behind a steering wheel. Amtrak takes some pretty scenic routes across the country, and offers escorted train tours through places like the Grand Canyon and Glacier National Park. Take a look at

To save some money:

• Plan ahead
Train tickets are cheaper the farther in advance you book.

One thing the study did find was that cars, from the first scrap of metal to their final transport to the auto graveyard, had the largest overall environmental impact across their lifecycle.

To green your car travel:

• Carpool
The more people you have in your car the better your ecoprofile: Every passenger that travels with you instead of driving represents fewer carbon emissions and pollutants in the atmosphere. Rather than take separate cars to the beach so you have multiple cars when you get there, pile everyone into one car and then rent bikes or scooters to get around town.

• Go against the grain
Most people don’t need to be told not to drive in heavy traffic, but aside from saving you from road rage and a few gray hairs, traveling in off-peak hours means less idling in traffic, which wastes gas and is more polluting.

• Rent green
If you have an older polluting car, consider renting a hybrid or more fuel-efficient auto for your trip. Practically all rental agencies offer the Toyota Prius now, and usually they’re just a few extra dollars per day.

To save some money:

• The best thing you can do if you’re driving to your destination is to learn how to drive more fuel-efficiently. It’s better for the environment, and will save you money on gas.