Traveling with sustainability in mind has risen in popularity over the last few years. At its core, the sustainable travel movement is all about a quote your grandma may have told you: “Leave this world a little better than you found it.”

Originally from Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scouting Movement, this concept is especially applicable to business trips. It’s easy to fall into bad habits when traveling, like buying disposable toiletries or plastic water bottles.  

When you’re traveling for business, make it your intention to travel sustainably and leave your destination better than you found it.

According to National Geographic, there are three pillars of sustainable travel:

  1. Using environmentally friendly practices like reducing waste and recycling
  2. Protecting cultural and natural heritage
  3. Helping provide real social and economic benefits to the local community you’re visiting

While these are great guidelines, they can sound daunting to follow–especially if you’re traveling for business. However, there are simple ways individuals and companies alike can choose more sustainable travel options.

Read on to discover realistic, attainable green travel practices you can adopt on your next business trip.

Green Travel Tips for Business Trips

When you’re traveling for business, you don’t get as much freedom of choice as you would if you were planning your own trip. Still, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make smart, sustainable decisions throughout the business trip. Find out how to travel green below: 

Packing Tips:

  • Bring a reusable water bottle to avoid buying and disposing of several plastic water bottles throughout your trip.
  • Pack your razor and toothbrush instead of purchasing and throwing out disposable ones.
  • Use travel-size toiletry bottles and fill them up at home instead of buying mini plastic bottles of shampoo and soap at the store.
  • Bring along reusable tote bags to put any purchases in and avoid plastic bags.

Transportation Tips:

  • Walk whenever possible. It’s the greenest method of transportation! Plus you’ll get a chance to see more of the city.
  • Take trains and buses if it makes sense in your destination.
  • If you’re renting a car, try to rent a fuel-efficient or electric vehicle.
  • Book flights without connections if possible, since more takeoffs and landings use more fuel.
  • Check if airlines going to your destination have a carbon offset program. This typically entails paying a bit more for your flight and the airline donates to organizations that support sustainability. For example, Virgin Airlines offers a carbon offset program.

Accommodation Tips:

  • Ask the hotel about their eco-friendly practices and participate in them.
  • Always turn off the lights in your hotel room or Airbnb when you’re not using them.
  • Reuse your linens and towels.
  • Say no to daily housekeeping and keep your room tidy yourself.

Other Tips:

  • Don’t litter! Treat the places you visit on your business trip with the respect and care they deserve.
  • Learn about the recycling policies of the city you’re in. They may be different than what you’re used to, so don’t be afraid to ask.
  • Do your research on eco-friendly restaurants, coffee shops, and activities in the area. Whether you have some free time or are tasked to find a place for a business dinner, you’ll make a smarter choice.

If you’re an individual whose job description entails frequent business trips, adopt the practices above and become part of the sustainable travel movement.

If you’re in charge of your organization’s business trip planning process, make a big step and incorporate these strategies into how you book flights, hotels, and talk to your employees about travel.

Looking for more sustainability tips? Explore the rest of the Rubicon blog.