Green Business Travel: 12 Tips and Tricks

Before we quit our jobs to travel to Argentina, I traveled several times a month for work. While I enjoyed seeing new places, meeting new people, and sampling local foods, I felt guilty about the impact my frequent business travel had on the planet.


photo credit: vipeido

Thus, I did everything I could to be a greener business traveler. Here are some of my tips:


Before you decide a business trip is absolutely necessary, check first to see if a teleconference could happen in place of meeting in person. Sometimes the people you are working with are just as happy to have a tele- or video- conference and it saves you time and expense while having less environmental impact.

Take the Train or Bus

If you can, take a bus or train to your destination. I took the Acela fast train from Washington, D.C. to New York several times. It was less of a hassle (no security lines, easier to get to, fewer delays) and a fun way to see the East Coast.

Fly Nonstop

When a train isn’t an option, fly nonstop. You reduce your emissions by up to 50% with nonstop travel. Check out our guide to the best nonstop search engines.

Schedule Trips Back to Back

If you have several different cities to travel to, schedule the trips back to back. While this can get tiring, you will save time and resources by not flying home in between.

Take Public Transportation to Get Around

Once your at your destination, take public transportation to get around. In many cities taking the subway or metro can be faster than a cab inching through traffic.

Hop in an EcoCab

Most major cities now have hybrid taxis and eco cabs. If you must take a taxi, see if this is an option.

Share Transportation

If you’re traveling with co-workers, schedule your travel at the same time so that you can share taxi rides or rental cars.

Select a Hybrid Rental Car

If renting a car is the only option that makes sense, get a hybrid rental car. The prices usually fall within a company’s per diem and you can justify it with gas savings.

Stay in a Green Hotel

Green hotels are a great option for business travel. I personally like the Kimpton hotel chain.

Green your Stay

When staying at a hotel, do everything you can to use fewer resources. This includes hanging your towel, adjusting the thermostat, and turning off the lights. See our list of 11 Tips and Tricks for Greening your Hotel Stay.

Bring a Water Bottle

You know how much I love my Klean Kanteen stainless steel water bottle and it looks sleek enough for professional settings. Another option is to reuse your disposable water bottle several times over the course of a short business trip.

Carry One Bag

If you’re a frequent business traveler you probably having packing in one bag down to a science, but if not, check out our tips for packing light.

What other ways do you travel green when traveling for business?


  1. By on

    Hi Elizabeth, thanks for those wonderful tips on traveling. I especially liked the suggestion of traveling back to back in a continuous circuit instead of having to come back home. That’s in fact a very good idea. If our schedules are close enough, we could really make it a very practical way of cutting down on travel a lot. Its also a very green thing to do.

    Great tips!
    Joost Hoogstrate

  2. By ArticlesADay on

    Thanks for the useful hints and tips. Great article and some great tips.

    Please contact me if I could reprint it on my site (with the link to your site of course)

  3. By on

    95% of business travelers said that they think hotels should be making more of an effort to be eco friendly; it’s great that the business world is becoming a huge part of the green movement.

  4. By on

    There are also a lot of green gadgets you can bring with you while you travel to make your business traveling more green. I wrote an article on four of my favorites:

  5. By Erin on

    I think this post is brilliant. Being green is just so important and although on stressful business trips being green might be the last thing on you mind these changes to your routine can be made and you are making a difference. Great stuff!

    Cheers Erin

  6. By on

    Hi Elizabeth,
    Sad but true, we’ve just started to see requests for our sustainable practices and policies in RFPs. Do you have something similar to the above blog that’s more recent than July 2009? I’d like to include it in our weekly e-newsletter, with your permission, of course.
    Thanks so much!
    Tammy Clem
    (913) 220-2715

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