12/26/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Less Holiday Travel Makes for a Greener Thanksgiving

It's that time of year when the holidays approach, travel plans are set into place, and travelers take to those less than friendly skies and roadways in gas guzzling vehicles.

Hold tight! What is it that I hear? The U.S. recession playing a part in curbing Thanksgiving holiday travel? Travelers opting for greener options for holiday travel?

It seems so.

AAA reports that for the first time in six years, fewer Americans will head out for the holiday to celebrate with family and friends. In fact, AAA says that 1.4 percent fewer travelers will travel during this time, and 7.2 percent less people plan to use airlines.

That is a big hit to the travel industry, which has all ready seen a 40 percent drop over the last 12 months, and with no end to the recession in sight, that means travelers are pinching pennies, and traveling wise or not traveling at all, even for the holidays.

We have heard of stay-cations through out the last year, being heavily promoted by savvy travel outlets looking to cash in on travelers who might have otherwise sojourned over seas, instead opting to stay within a 100 mile radius outside their own back door.

But now, with the upcoming holidays, it is more about "holi-stay" at home.

AAA reports that an estimated 41 million U.S. travelers will travel approximately 50 miles from home beginning tomorrow through November 30, with auto travel potentially declining 1.2 percent. And there is another piece in the silver lining for the environment -- AAA also mentions that an increase of 5.8 percent of travelers are opting to get to their destinations via buses and trains, a decisive perk for the green movement.

Airlines are also feeling the hit for the holidays. Between increases in airfares, up an estimated 4 percent in the past 12 months, surging ticket change fees and checked baggage charges, travelers are sitting on the sidelines and waiting for last minute deals.

The Air Transport Association, a trade group that follows travel trends in aviation, expects travel to fall 10 percent from November 21 until the first part of December.

In a recent interview, Tom Parsons of said, "Travelers would rather stay home than face the many new charges, including increased ticket-change fees and baggage fees that the airlines are now imposing on them."

With so much at stake in the economy and many would be travelers sitting out Thanksgiving travel, it all adds up to less impact on our environment.

I once heard that one meal can travel up to 22,000 miles around the globe before it lands on your plate. This new wave in "holi-stays" offers another environmental spin, supporting local farmers and businesses struggling in this challenging economy.

Adventure Girl, Stefanie Michaels is an eco-travel and lifestyle expert and an advocate for the environment. Her site offers tips for travelers on green locales around the globe, as well as granting monthly Adventure Girl Green Awards to hotels and resorts making good on their green initiatives.

You can reach Stefanie at