You’ve planned as sustainable a business trip as possible; now find out how you can become a more responsible business traveller when you’ve arrived at your destination. Read our eco-friendly tips on how to reduce emissions and unnecessary waste, avoid plastics and contribute to local economies and communities.
1) research the local customs of your destination
Even before you go, research the destination you’re travelling to and find out more about its local customs, culture and communities. Being a responsible traveller also means respecting and interacting with the local community. You can even view how sustainable the city is that you’re travelling to on the Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index 2022.
2) switch off the electricity
Your bag is packed and you’re ready to head out of your front door – do a quick check to make sure you’ve unplugged all your electronics, particularly computers and televisions, and turn down the dial on your heating and the fridge.
3) download your boarding pass
An easy way to save paper – instead of printing out your boarding pass, download it to your smartphone. Although check whether the airline you’re travelling with requires you to have a printed version.
4) bring your own bottle
One of the key components of any eco-friendly trip is to reduce plastic waste…so pack a reusable cup and water bottle. This will make it easier to avoid buying plastic bottles and coffee cups once you’re on the move. Refill offers a free app where you have access to a global network of water fountains, places where you can find free water refills and cafés and restaurants offering discounts for bringing your own cup.
You could even bring reusable cutlery when on the move; but remember to pack them in your checked-in luggage if you’re not taking cabin baggage only. And, to avoid having to use any plastic bags if you head to the shops or markets, fold some reusable bags into your suitcase.
5) public transport, bicycles…and your feet!
If you can choose a hotel as close to where your meetings are as possible, you can cut down on transport entirely, if you can easily and safely walk there. If you do have to travel, plan journeys taking the bus or train.
Or check out whether your hotel rents out bicycles and download a map of your destination to your mobile. Some cities also rent out bicyles; search for the local bike share map. You could also choose public transport for airport transfers or, if you’re travelling with colleagues, consider a car share – particularly hiring an electric vehicle – to get you to and from meetings.
6) book the most sustainable accommodation possible
Have you found out how sustainable your hotel is? Lonely Planet explains that you should be able to find a hotel’s (or hotel chain’s) sustainability policy online, which will highlight any sustainability initiatives or certifications it has. You should also be able to source information on whether the hotel uses organic soaps and detergents, whether they use any renewable energy from solar or wind power, and if they work closely with their local communities.
When you’re in your hotel room, only use lighting you absolutely need; reuse towels and bed linen as much as you can; choose showers over baths; and bring your own toiletries to avoid plastic waste from hotel-provided toiletries.
7) Eat like a local
One of the best parts of travelling is surely sampling the local cuisines…and it’s a great way to be a responsible traveller too. Where you can, avoid international chain restaurants – and takeaways with their plastic packaging – and support the local economy by eating at local restaurants with menus using local ingredients.