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Booking Strategy Sustainable Travel

How to Check Your Flight’s Carbon Footprint with an App

It’s well-known that air travel is a major source of carbon emissions. For travelers who want to do something about their flight’s carbon footprint, the options are limited: Invent a more fuel-efficient jet engine (not easy); travel by other means, or not at all (not always feasible); or offset carbon emissions in some way.

Option three is the most realistic, but the challenge comes when determining how much to offset, and how. A new feature from travel app TripIt aims to demystify this question by showing travelers their flight’s carbon footprint and offering suggestions for offsetting it.

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TripIt uses the Greenhouse Gas Protocol to calculate travelers’ footprint. The GGP says it offers the world’s most widely used greenhouse gas accounting standards, which are used by American and European government agencies to track their carbon footprint. TripIt says it “takes into account factors like distance, flight class, and environmental elements” when making these calculations. TripIt tracks individual flights and total annual carbon footprint.

TripIt users can find this information in the flight detail screen under “Carbon Footprint” once they link a trip to the app. The app offers suggestions for offsetting emissions alongside the carbon footprint info. Cumulative emissions can be found under “Travel Stats” in the “More” tab.

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Readers, do you offset your carbon emissions from traveling? If not, would you do so if it were easier to know your carbon footprint? Comment below.

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By Carl Unger

Contributing Editor Carl Unger believes that every trip is worth taking. He loves an extended trip to Europe as much as he enjoys exploring the towns and landscape near home. Basically, you'll find him wherever there is good food, fresh air, and plenty of stories to bring home.

Carl has been writing for SmarterTravel since 2005. His travel writing has also appeared on USA Today and the About.com Boston travel guide.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "It's not revolutionary, but a small Moleskine notebook is my one travel must-have. It's great for noting things you want to remember and it takes up hardly any space in your bag."

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "Japan. I'd love to take a month off and visit the cities, temples, and countryside. I'm fascinated by the country's juxtaposition of ancient traditions and modern ambitions."

Travel Motto: “Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” –Terry Pratchett

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Window."

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