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Spring break travel: To fly or not to fly

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MARCH 02, 2023

A fitful drizzle hit me as I trek to Dwinelle for my 8 a.m. and the wind threatens to blow me a block back down Telegraph Avenue as I attempt to make my way to campus. As an out-of-state student, I firmly believe California should always be warm and sunny, and currently Berkeley just isn’t delivering on that front.

President’s Day weekend always makes me feel a bit unsatisfied. Of course I’m exuberant about a day off, but by the time classes roll around on Tuesday the taste of time off in my mouth just leaves me craving more of a break. So instead of buckling down on assignments I begin to daydream about spring break, the glimmer of relief on the far-off horizon.

The week of break at the end of March grants us all a chance to go home, visit friends and family, explore new places or just sleep for nine days straight. Many people will partake in some sort of travel, whether by car, BART, foot or plane to get away and take a well-deserved rest from classes and campus.

Expectedly, this increase in transportation causes a rise in travel-related emissions during the spring break season. Aviation, the most polluting form of transportation, accounts for 75% of greenhouse gas emissions in the tourism sector. Even if flying isn’t a part of your travel plan, increased waste and additional traffic over lands has degrading impacts on the environment. With that being said, how can you enjoy spring break while also remaining aware of the emissions associated with this time of the year?

Vacation travel: The green version

The environmental impacts of plane travel can be tricky to avoid. In full disclosure, I spend a decent amount of time on planes as that’s how I travel back home; additionally I will be flying over spring break. However, I believe it’s still important to be aware of the emissions that are generated with this type of transportation. If anything, it’s something you can try to offset by consciously reducing your carbon footprint in other parts of the break.

There are many ways to support environmentally friendly practices while still going on vacation. Supporting local economies, avoiding resorts and heavily tourist locations and instead exploring natural locations and small businesses is a simple way to bring down your travel emissions outside of transportation.

In terms of transit, one way I attempt to offset flying is exploring my vacation spot by walking, biking or riding public transportation. Avoiding Ubers and rental cars is more fuel efficient and will allow you to see more of your destination.

Focusing on before you even start traveling, reducing emissions can be as easy as double checking if all of your lights and heating are turned off. Also, unplugging everything that’s plugged in and closing your shades will reduce unnecessary energy usage.

These forms of travel are called eco-tourism, the way to explore new places while supporting sustainable practices and natural ecosystems. Contributing to local economies and respectfully enjoying the environment is beneficial to you as well as your destination.

Just as with many other forms of emission, your singular flight isn’t going to be the end of the world. But think about Kylie Jenner’s infamous Instagram post with Travis Scott in front of their multiple private jets, or Taylor Swift’s outrageous emissions from flights. The extremely rich can easily reduce their emissions if they so choose, and policy should be implemented to hold them accountable for their detrimental environmental impacts.

Getting away for spring break is fun and an essential moment in the year to reset, and luckily it can be done in a respectful and environmentally responsible way. Be mindful of your vacation practices and aware of the repercussions of your movements to and within a new or different location. The Daily Clog wishes everyone eco-conscious spring break planning and travel. Here’s to daydreaming about sun and a reprieve from studying while we work through midterms and the cold.

Contact Zoe Campion at 


MARCH 02, 2023