We know you may feel conflicted about all the traveling you do because of the impact it has on the environment, so we have put together 15 ways you can make your next trip greener. Not only do these practices benefit Mother Earth, but many of them also can benefit you and your company’s cost-saving efforts.
1. Keep calm and only carry on
Carrying around extra baggage? Whether for leisure or business, become a carry-on-only type of traveler. Not only will it help to reduce the aircraft’s fuel consumption, but it means less of a headache, backache, and faster departure from the airport for you as well as no checked baggage fees!
2. Bottle up
It’s one extra item to bring, but do pack a stainless steel bottle for consuming water and coffee on the go to reduce your plastic consumption. It’s not only healthier for the planet, but some research suggests it’s healthier for your body as well not to be drinking from disposable water bottles – not to mention easier on expenses when you can load up on free H20 at public water dispensers and coffee from your hotel room.
3. Swipe, tap, scan
If you’re still printing out your itinerary and boarding passes, save the paper and ink by downloading our Amex GBT Mobile app, which allows you to quickly check into your flight, view complete trip details, and access electronic boarding passes.
4. Turn off, turn down, and unplug
Leaving an empty house? Before locking up, turn off the lights, turn down the thermostat, and unplug all electronics (since they can drain power even when not turned on). Then treat yourself to something with the money you save on your energy bill.
5. Trains over planes
If traveling in Europe or Asia where there are excellent high-speed rail systems, why not take a train over a plane? Just think of what you’ll be getting: comfortable seating, the ability to stretch your legs whenever you’d like, the ability to use your phone (or free Wi-Fi) anytime – plus the possibility of seeing stunning views of the countryside.
6. Time to be direct
If taking a plane is unavoidable, try to select the most direct route possible since the most fuel gets burned during takeoff and landing. Why would you want to spend more time getting from Point A to Point B anyhow?
7. Economy is eco-friendly
Even for long-haul flights, consider flying economy. As this BBC report explains, carbon emissions per passenger are about three times higher when selecting business class instead (due to more space per seat). Yes, you may not sleep as well, but it won’t be your conscience keeping you up. Plus, perhaps you can get some sort of incentive for saving the company so much money.
8. Rent the fuel-efficient wheels
Renting a car, especially if traveling solo, isn’t the greenest option, but if unavoidable, go for the smallest vehicle that uses the least gas. Hey, if you’re in the market for a hybrid or electric car, this could be the perfect opportunity to test-drive one.
9. Ditch the chauffeur
If your hotel is in close vicinity of your meeting location, get some fresh air by biking or walking to and from the venue. This way, you won’t feel guilty for making a lame excuse to skip the hotel gym.
10. Take a bike or a hike
Avoid contributing to the city’s pollution and traffic problems by skipping the car service at the airport and taking public transportation to your next stop instead. If roads are congested, you just may get there faster. Plus, you’ll recover from jet lag more quickly if you’re not taking a snooze in the back seat during daylight hours.
11. Recycling still counts
Just because you’re away doesn’t mean you should forget about Mother Earth. In the hotel, in the airport, and in the office, separate your trash just like you do when you’re at home.
12. Pass on the plastics
According to the Plastic Oceans Foundation, almost 300 million tons of plastic are produced annually – half of which is single-use – and more than 8 million tons of that plastic are dumped into the ocean. So try to minimize your use of plastic straws, coffee stirrers, bags, containers, and cutlery on the road. Better yet, bring your own reusable travel utensils.
13. Keep the sign flipped to “Do Not Disturb” 24/7
Yes, that means you’ll be forgoing maid service. When you do, not only will you save on the water and energy to launder the linens, but you won’t have to worry about any harsh cleaning products being sprayed throughout the room.
14. Ditch the all-you-can-eat
Complimentary hotel breakfast? Select the a la carte option to avoid waste. If only the buffet option is included, think with your head, not your stomach, and take only what you know you can eat. The landfill will thank you.
15. Reflect, reset, repeat
Even though many of the changes we’re suggesting above are pretty simple to implement, it will take a conscious effort to change your routine, so it will take a few trips before you get into the hang of things. Try to become more aware of the greener actions you’re taking on the road and at home and how you can do better next time.