Photo: Flickr, CC
Hold On, Don't Order These Airline Tickets Yet!
This is part 3 of a series. In part 1, we looked at how not all flights were created equal, and in part 2 we looked at the top 20 most popular flying routes based on data from the TRX Carbon calculator. But any discussion of flying wouldn't be complete without at least an overview of alternatives to flying, because whatever you do to optimize your flying habits, best is still to avoid flying in the first place. Read on for some tips!
Videoconferencing. That woman isn't really there. Photo: Flickr, CC
The first alternative to flying is to go digital and videoconference or telecommute. It can't replace being physically there in 100% of cases, but as this recession has proved to many companies who are cutting back on employee travel and installing high-tech videoconferencing rooms, it can make a difference.
High Speed Rail
High speed trains aren't available everywhere, and they aren't always practical for very long trips, but many of the most popular flight routes are between cities that aren't too far away and that are linked by high-speed (or even regular) rail, and according to recent plans announced by the US government, more high speed rail is coming.
The details will vary depending on where in the world you are located, but before buying a plane ticket for a short to medium distance trip, check if you could take the train instead.
Photo: Flickr, CC
Take the Bus
If you can't find any rail options for a short trip, consider taking the bus. At first, it might seem like it would take a lot more time than flying, but for relatively short trips, the difference might not be that much. The reason is that people spend so much time at the airport before boarding, and then on the runways, and then at the airport after landing... There can still be a time difference, but it's often smaller than you might expect.
While a passenger bus doesn't get great MPG, what really matters is how much fuel it burns per person it carries. For example, 5 MPG diesel bus that carries 50 people is getting and impressive 250 passenger miles per gallon.