Sustainable Travel Tips
Yale Travel Management has created this list of sustainable travel tips to help promote green business travel. Sustainable travel is all about making simple choices to lessen the negative impact on the environment. By working together and becoming more aware of these little things, we can make a huge impact.
Steps to take before traveling
- Pack as light as possible
- Bring reusable and versatile garments that can be washed by hand
- Consider packing multi-purpose toiletries.
- Hair conditioner can also be used as a shaving cream.
- Coconut oil can be used to shave as well as a moisturizer for hair and skin.
- Castile soap can be used on hair, skin, and laundry.
- A solid shampoo bar can be used as body soap and shaving cream
- Pack a BPA-free reusable bottle and that can be refilled with water or other beverages
- Avoid single-use plastic bags by packing a reusable bag to carry around while shopping or for other uses.
- Before booking your flight, check to see if the airline has any carbon offset programs or other environmental initiatives. Planes produce more carbon during takeoff and landing than the actual flight, so booking non-stop decreases your carbon footprint
- Fly non-stop. Pit stops and layovers mean at least one extra takeoff and landing, which is responsible for half of the carbon emissions during a single flight
- Schedule back-to-back appointments. With some extra planning, you can group together a couple of meetings, rather than making separate trips. Not only will you save fuel you’ll save time and money
- Choose e-tickets instead of paper. Having your smartphone scanned at airports and train stations is often seamless
Bonus Tip: Egencia has the option to search for non-stop flights. Download the Egencia app to view trip itinerary and ticket information to cut down on printing!
- Consider walking, biking, or using public transportation and trains whenever possible
- Renting a hybrid or electric vehicle instead of driving your own car can reduce your carbon footprint
- Driving long distance is more sustainable than flying if you’re traveling with a group of people
- Book Eco-friendly hotels. When booking domestically, look for hotels that are either Green Seal or LEED Certified (or both). When traveling outside of the US, look for certifications such as EarthCheck, Green Globe, Rainforest Alliance (Latin America, Caribbean), and Green Tourism Business Scheme (UK). These hotels are doing their best to help the environment, including using flow-restrictive shower heads, low-flow toilets, energy-efficient lighting and linen programs that reduce waste. When staying at these places, you not only get the satisfaction of traveling green, but may also enjoy perks like organic bath products, free hybrid parking and bicycle rentals.
- Reuse your hotel towels and sheets (hanging towels is a sign that you’d like to reuse them)
- Hang the “Do not Disturb” on your door or call housekeeping and tell them you won’t need their services during your stay. This will prevent the hotel from wasting water by changing your sheets and towels, wasting electricity by vacuuming, and spraying harsh chemicals all over
- The first thing you should do when you walk into a hotel room is unplug any electronics not in use including lamps, the mini-fridge, coffee maker, hair dryer, TV, etc. Appliances drain energy even when they’re not on
- Take unfinished hotel toiletries with you, because they are typically thrown away. The plastic bottles are the perfect travel size and can be reused in the future
- Adjust the thermostat. By lowering the temperature by 2 degrees in the winter or raising it by 2 in the summer, you will save a lot of energy. You most likely won’t notice the difference
- Find out if the hotel recycles. If they do, ask if they separate it out from waste-bins. If they don’t, toss your recyclables in an extra pocket in your suitcase to recycle later
- Leave the freebies behind. Do the earth a favor and leave the hotel pen and pad
Steps to take while traveling
- Return brochures to the concierge or another tourist before you depart, because you will most likely never use them after you leave
- Chose to shop and eat at small businesses. Small businesses typically use locally-sourced and seasonal foods, which are better for the environment and community. Locally-sourced goods produce less carbon emissions than imported goods
- Consider purchasing locally-crafted souvenirs instead of inexpensive and unsustainable trinkets. Handmade items are usually of higher quality and more sustainable for the environment. Supporting local artisans and restaurants helps promote sustainable business. Immersing yourself in local culture is the best way to support sustainable development
- Take showers (10-25 gallons of water) instead of baths (70 gallons of water). Shorten your showers by turning off the water while you lather up, shave, and brush your teeth
- Do not leave the water running unless it’s in use
- Avoid using hotel laundry service, because they wash guest’s clothes separately and consume a lot more water
- If you must buy a single-use plastic bottle, hold on to it until you find a recycling bin.