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The Climate Bill and Carbon Offsets: Green Travel is Easy and Affordable

Last week in an unprecedented move, the House narrowly approved an energy bill that would limit harmful greenhouse gases–the first time any chamber of Congress has ever approved limits of this kind. Now the energy bill faces a tough battle in the Senate and already there is vocal opposition from many different camps.

Without access to Capitol Hill, I settled for the next best thing: taking straw polls at happy hour. I asked one simple question: If the climate bill passes, would you be more likely to offset your travels?

Slowly some common answers emerged, revealing that there are still quite a few myths surrounding carbon offsets and some confusion about what they are exactly. I thought it might be fun to do a Carbon Offsets 101.

But first, let’s start with what in the heck they are. Carbon offset programs offer a way to negate the carbon impact of your travel, including everything from your hotel stay to your airplane ride to your car rental. There are many different methods of offsetting your carbon impact like carbon capture, planting trees, and more. Now, let’s move on to the myths.


Myth #1: Carbon offsets are expensive.

False! Carbon offsets add just a few bucks to your trip. Check out some of our estimates. For most trips, you wouldn’t even miss the cash you donated. We’re talking about the price of a fancy Starbucks drink here.


Myth #2: It’s hard to offset your trip.

False! Gone are the days of sifting through mountains of info, trying to find a reputable non-profit to offset your travel. Now you can offset your adventures right on Travelocity, thanks to our partnership with The Conservation Fund. Try it today.


Myth #3: This money isn’t really doing anything.

False! We have planted 20,000 trees to date. And don’t worry–every single penny of your donation goes to The Conservation Fund’s Go Zero project. Plus, the American Institute of Philanthropy has repeatedly awarded The Conservation Fund its highest “A+” grade for unsurpassed effectiveness and efficiency.


My name: Alison Presley

Nickname: Presbo, because I'm good police.

How I earn my keep: I'm the manager of Travelocity's Travel for Good program. Visit Travel for Good to learn more about our green travel and voluntourism initiatives!

What kind of traveler am I: I'm an intrepid food explorer. I usually starve myself on the plane (not that that's too hard to do) so that the moment my toes touch foreign soil I'm ready to sample new and exciting cuisine. I like to dine everywhere from hole-in-the-wall local secrets to Michelin Guide gems. Cannelés, poi, boiled peanuts, oxtail soup, poutine--there's no stopping this adventurous palate.

Greatest travel lesson I've learned: It doesn't cost a lot of money to do good. Offsetting your carbon impact only adds a few bucks to your trip, green hotels are very affordable, and volunteering locally during your vacation is a great way to give back and learn about the culture.



Good to know!


If only everyone put money in terms of fancy Starbucks drinks, I could be a finance whiz.

That really does put in stark relief how cheap (and worth it) it is to add on a carbon offset!


That is an interesting idea. If there was a little checkbox at the payment screen for my flights that said would you like to buy carbon offsets for 2 bucks I’d be tempted to say yes. But maybe since they add security surcharges and gas surcharges to the ticket price anyway, they should just go ahead and add a carbon offset tax to the price of all travel.


Yes, it is true that grenn travel is easy and affordable. What I think is that, we just need more education to travellers. Overtime, the ‘green’ practices will become a habit.


I agree with Mal — a little box that said “do you want to offset your flight for three bucks OR ARE YOU HAPPY DESTROYING THE PLANET, YOU MONSTER?” would definitely make me more likely to do it. Or, you know, words to that effect.

door knobs

That wiil be much better if they just add a carbon offset tax for the price of travel and this is the best idea i think for all travellers too.

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