Practical tips for sustainable travel

A BCD Travel insider shares best practices for green business trips.

Sustainable business trips can help conserve the earth’s resources and reduce carbon emissions. BCD Travel’s Patricia Doser, of the Global Account Management team in Munich, shares her top ideas for how companies and their travelers can lessen their impact on the environment.

Stay where you are

“First ask yourself whether you really need to take that trip,” Doser said. With virtual collaboration and handy video conference tools, you can simply meet up with your colleagues and business partners online, wherever they are.

“Meeting alternatives are improving and becoming cheaper. I like to use Skype for Business, which allows me to hold a business meeting online and share my screen at the same time.”

Book direct flights

“If you do fly, choose a direct flight wherever possible” and as your travel policy permits, Doser said. Flying shorter distances reduces emissions and lowers fuel consumption. An added bonus? Direct flights save time.

Fly economy class

Fast fact: A seat in economy class produces fewer carbon emissions than a seat in business class. That’s news that Doser likes to use. “More seats can fit in economy class than in business class,” she explained. “So, it’s good for your wallet, as well as for the environment.”,

Seek not-so-obvious efficiencies

“Some airplanes are more fuel-efficient than others,” Doser noted. “I recently flew in an Airbus A350 XWB, which is lighter, uses less fuel and has lower CO2 emissions than other planes of a similar size.” She recommends travel managers work with their travel management company to look for creative ways to offset or further reduce carbon emissions.

Reduce waste in your hotel room

Hotel room toiletries are an expected amenity, but they represent a significant amount of plastic per shower. Doser packs her toiletries in small, refillable bottles. Another waste saver: Let the cleaning staff know you’d like to use your towels and sheets more than once.

Also, drink coffee, tea or other beverages in a mug or glass to avoid waste from disposable cups.

Take transit—or walk

“For domestic trips, I like to take the train rather than the car, as I can put the travel time to good use. For transfers from the airport to the hotel, I always ask if there is a hotel shuttle,” Doser said. “They’re more fuel efficient and often cheaper than a cab.

“If I need to rent a car on my trip, I choose an energy-efficient option, such as an electric or hybrid model or a small, fuel-efficient model, which is also easier to park,” she said. “The best solution is to find a hotel that is close to my destination, so I can get there safely and easily by public transport or on foot. This way I can enjoy the fresh air, too.”

Sustainable travel cheat sheet

  • Avoid using plastic in hotels, both in the bathroom and at the breakfast table.
  • Use towels and sheets in hotels a few times before having them changed.
  • Drink coffee from a mug instead of a disposable cup.
  • Travel by train rather than by airplane or car.
  • Take a hotel shuttle rather than a cab.
  • If you rent a car, choose a small, fuel-efficient model
  • Pack light. The less baggage you have, the less fuel it takes to get you there.

Stay in the know,
even on the go

Never want to miss a thing?

We'll get you the latest news, trends, insights and BCD news right in your inbox.