One of the biggest challenges in organizing a business trip is figuring out how to get there. With so many options and itineraries available, it can be overwhelming to make the right decision. Especially for those among you who aren’t big fans of flying.
We don’t all love to fly, for whatever reason. Many people are afraid of flying, for example. The fear of flying, or aviophobia, is one of the most common phobias out there ranging from 2.5-6.5% of the population. Others are more concerned about the environment. Traveling by plane is among the least sustainable options. In fact, flights produced 915 million tons of C02 in 2019 alone, and account for 2% of all human-induced carbon dioxide emissions (ATAG). Sometimes it can feel like flying is the only choice we have, especially when we’ve got all those meetings to get to. But the good news is that there are many more options available. It's true that when traveling for business, you're probably not going to want to do it biking or on a kayak like a tourist might. That’s why we put together a list of travel tips for alternate ways to travel the world for business.
Take a train
2021 is the European Year of Rail. So, if you’re planning to stop at multiple destinations in Europe this year, think about taking the train. In fact, countries like France have recently passed legislation banning all domestic short-haul flights that last less than 2.5 hours! Other countries like Germany and Austria are expected to follow suit shortly.
Rail travel in Europe, in general, is also modernizing a great deal. Until recently, most national rail operators dominated their local markets. Now, however, governments are opening up their national rail services to allow private players in. That’s all in an attempt to make the prices of train travel more flexible and varied, in order to encourage the further use of trains. You can also travel cross-country by train in North America, by booking a seat on Amtrak in the United States, and VIA Rail in Canada. Traveling across Asia by train is also an option, with routes between Singapore, Johor Bahru, Kuala Lumpur, Penang (Malaysia), and Bangkok (Thailand), for example. It is a long way of getting around, admittedly, but it'll give you an unparalleled travel experience with incredible views!
Taking a train is definitely one of the most environmentally friendly options. In fact, traveling by train for a domestic route instead of a flight can reduce an individual’s carbon footprint by 84%! Implementing a clause into your company’s corporate travel policy that encourages business travelers to take trains as much as possible is a great way to start traveling greener.
Rent an electric or hybrid car
There are many benefits to renting a car in general. It gives you the opportunity to stop as many times as you want, manage your own travel itinerary, and get plenty of privacy. It’s often not longer than taking a plane—between going to the airport, getting there two hours early, the flight time, and the travel time to your hotel, the actual hours spent in transit are more or less the same. Not to mention that this amount of autonomy and independence can help you turn a business trip into a spontaneous getaway.
For the environmentally-conscious business traveler, renting a hybrid or electric car is a great option. Electric vehicles actually produce 0 direct emissions, and hybrids only produce evaporative emissions and tailpipe emissions when operating on gasoline (Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy). So, if you’re thinking of driving up to New York from Philly for a business meeting next week—why not think about doing a road trip in an electric car?
While seemingly not the most glamorous option on this list, you’d be surprised at the number of luxurious bus options available! Not only is this a great way to save money on corporate travel, but it's a way to get the best of both worlds! If you're traveling between major cities in the US or any foreign country, this is a great choice if you're hoping to have a luxurious and cost-effective trip.
For business travelers going around Texas, for example, you can use Vonlane—an executive bus service with 22 first-class seats. There’s WiFi, charging outlets, complimentary food and drinks, and even noise-canceling headphones! There are plenty of other similar options available in the United States and Europe. You can look into BestBus for routes between New York and Washington D.C., C&J Bus Lines across the East Coast, and Red Coach for trips in Florida. If you’re traveling around Europe, check out Nobless for routes between Prague and Zurich, Alsa for trips around Spain, or FlixBus for trans-continental travel.
Alright, so bear with us on this one. We’re not suggesting you take a long-distance, 80-day boat ride from LA to Auckland (New Zealand) for a business trip. But there are great ferry options for shorter routes that can help you avoid taking a plane. For example, if you’ve got business in Northern Europe and you’re traveling between Tallinn and Helsinki, this is a very realistic and efficient option. The entire journey time takes just 2 hours and runs all day long!
If you're looking to turn a business trip into a bleisure trip, why not think about a cruise ship? You can stop off in different hot spots in Europe or the Caribbean, run your meeting, and hop back on board to enjoy the sea and the sun. What a fun way to turn business into pleasure!
A few final thoughts
Whether you're afraid of flying, bored of high airfare fees, or are looking to travel in a more environmentally conscious way, there are many options out there for you. If it's your first time traveling for business, chances are you're going to take a plane. But for the seasoned traveler, these alternatives could come in really handy. It's also important to remember that we are just coming out of the coronavirus pandemic. It's more important now than ever to follow all the health and safety guidelines as you travel from point a to point b. Don't forget to consult local and international travel restrictions. Respect all health and safety measures at home and abroad, and do not travel if you display any symptoms. Remember that not all travel insurance providers cover situations like the outbreak of a pandemic, so be sure to track COVID-19 transmission rates wherever you go.
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