Learning to go green in order to maintain an eco-friendly lifestyle is typically carried out with honest intentions and a sense of duty to protect the environment. First, the low-flow showerhead is installed. Next, the herb garden is laid out. Things seem to go doubly well with repurposing old items and washing all the laundry in cold water. However, when it's time to go on holiday, will it mean having to give up flying off to a favourite retreat for biking through the countryside?

Sometimes, the need to get away is simply necessary. Taking the time to learn about and explore a new place, relax and simply escape the doldrums of everyday life is a healthy, justifiable practice. Luckily, the true path of green living has nothing to do with living a life of austerity. Even with the number of eco-friendly travel options available, there are also certain practices that help reduce the carbon footprint of other types of travel— and that includes flying on commercial airlines.

Flying in an eco-friendly way means doing things that help offset the greenhouse emissions of a flight from takeoff to landing. This can be:

Taking a flight on a larger plane. Although this seems counterintuitive, larger planes actually consume less fuel per load and distance than smaller ones. This has to do with the fact that there are more seats and that larger planes transport cargo as well. Moving more passengers and freight to the same place at the same time is a much more efficient practice than using multiple carriers to make multiple trips. A flight that offers a larger economy class with the fewest empty seats is ultimately the better, eco-friendly choice.

Passing on flights with stops or layovers. Travelling distance is the number one factor for configuring one's carbon footprint during travel. As with cars and their fuel economy, flights at a cruising altitude use far less fuel than those that fly, land and take off again. Fortunately, many airlines have turned to nonstop flights as a way to alleviate the sting of rising fuel costs.

Purchasing carbon offsets when booking a flight. A carbon offset program works to reduce carbon emissions through the expansion of sustainable energy technologies— and most airlines offer them. These programs may focus on anything from planting trees to reduce greenhouse emissions to developing solar energy platforms. When it comes to an eco-friendly lifestyle and flying commercially, purchasing carbon offsets is considered good etiquette. (Incidentally, it is also good form to pack lightly and take public transportation to the airport if possible.)

While there have been recent advances in the development of environmentally friendly air travel, distance, the number of passengers and freight-share remain the important factors for maximizing the fuel economy of a plane while minimizing a traveler's carbon footprint. Working together, airlines and their environmentally conscious consumers must do what they can until the day comes when all passengers are flying the eco-friendly skies.