The tips and tricks below can help successfully set you up to have a more sustainable traveling experience.

authored by:  UW Stout Sustainability Office

Pre-Trip Prep & Packing

Preparing for your trip and packing are important times to consider sustainability and the positive impact you can have on your trip.

  • Check out the UW System’s sustainable travel webpage to learn more information about traveling sustainably.
  • Take the Sustainable Travel Pledge
  • When packing, try to avoid using single-use items such as travel-sized toiletries.
    Instead, check out refillable options that you can refill with your toiletries already in your home. This will not only reduce waste but also save you money!
  • Try to pack light when possible. Packing light helps reduce your carbon footprint by reducing the load of your chosen form of transportation.
  • Pack reusable options when space allows (water bottles, cutlery, shopping bags, etc.)
  • Plan the rest of your trip ahead of time by keeping the following sustainable tips in mind during your preparation (see points below).


Booking a Flight

  • When booking a flight, book with an airline dedicated to sustainability, such as Delta Airlines, United, Southwest, or American Airlines.
  • Use a third-party website such as to find the most eco-friendly flight.

On your Flight

  • While on your flight, reduce the amount of waste you produce by refusing any single-use items such as snack packs;
    • Instead, pack your flight-friendly snacks in reusable packing.
  • Bring headphones, a blanket, and a plain pillow to avoid inflight purchases.

Purchasing carbon credits for your flight

  • Tourism is responsible for roughly 8% of the world’s carbon emissions, making it a significant contributor to climate change. You can neutralize that footprint by purchasing carbon offsets from Native Energy, Sustainable Travel or terrapass. Your purchase funds projects that reduce carbon emissions and provide green jobs in local communities.

Traveling by Train

Travel with Wisconsin rail Services

How to travel with Rail and Bus

  • Vist Amtrak or METRA website
    • Create a Free Profile
    • Enter your destination and travel dates.
  • Find connections and plan your rail travel; incorporate your plan with bus travel from one of many service providers such as Greyhound, Badger Bus, and Jefferson Lines.

Cost and emissions savings

  • Commuting via public transportation can save you money and reduce your carbon footprint. This means traveling on a bus or rail line; this will reduce the amount that you drive.


  • Pack a cooler with snacks and food for your trip to reduce the cost, food waste, and packaging of eating out or ordering room service. Utilize the hotel fridge to store perishables and keep food fresh during your stay. (Tips & Tricks)
  • Reduce your waste by bringing your reusable items, such as shampoo and conditioner, lotion, and hand soap, to reduce the hotel freebies that come with your room. (Waste)
  • Hang the “do not disturb” sign on your door to reduce the time, water, and energy for cleaning and new sheets. Use the same sheets for your entire stay and leave unused amenities untouched. (Energy)
  • Turn off all lights and turn down the heat and air conditioning when you leave your room. (Energy)
    • Keep curtains shut to reduce the amount of heat or cool air that escapes during the day.
  • Hang up your towels and reuse them, to save on electricity and water wasted on the washing for new daily towels. (Water)
  • Choose any one of the preferred hotel partners, hotels with free breakfast will help you reduce food costs and waste. (Where to Stay)


Eating out and trying new foods while traveling is part of the fun! Keeping these tips in mind can help you not only enjoy your dining experience, but also encourage sustainable choices for yourself and others.

  • Check out local restaurants that specialize in locally grown and raised ingredients (farm- to-table).
  • Try new and exciting plant-forward options!
    • Eating plant-forward doesn’t mean you have to avoid meat and dairy all together. Plant based means choosing food options that are focused on plants.
  • Avoid food packaged in single use packaging when able, especially plastic packaging.
    • If food is packaged in single use packaging, try to choose options that can be recycled and composted.
  • If you are attending an event check with the event hosts on the recycling and composting rules.
    • Many cities have different rules on what can be recycled. Checking what can will help reduce contamination.
    • See if the event has composting and if any of the food packaging or cutlery can be composted. Once again ever location may have different guidelines.

Location Transportation

Once you reach your designation, choosing sustainable forms of transportation around can also make a sustainable impact. Depending on what amenities are available some of these options could be utilized:

  • Instead of renting a vehicle check to see if there are any other sustainable options for transportation (bike rental, bus, etc.).
  • Check to see if the event/function you are attending provides any sort of transportation for you and other attendees (bus shuttle, shared car service, etc.).
  • Check to see if any other attendees are lodging at the same location you are and are willing to share a rental.