How Business Travelers Can Guard Against Polluted Air

Traveling for business means exposure to potential risks such as political unrest, terrorist attacks, medical crises—and air pollution. As outlined in BCD Travel’s Inform report, Air Quality and Business Travelonly half of the 100 most visited cities worldwide have clean air. Below are tips and tricks business travelers can use to guard against the harmful effects of air pollution.

Before you travel to a destination with unhealthy air pollution:

  • Familiarize yourself with your company’s virtual meeting capabilities. Maybe you can avoid a trip to a city with poor air quality.
  • Get to know your company’s travel policy on health and emergency plans.
  • Monitor the Air Quality Index, weather websites and local media to understand if the risk is particularly high during your stay.
  • Travelers with a medical history of lung or heart issues should be extra vigilant.
  • Discuss your planned trip with your doctor.
  • Carry appropriate medications, such as inhalers for asthma, as well as documentation. You may need a doctor’s letter to get the medicines through customs.
  • Research whether the air quality in your destination improves certain times of the year, and consider postponing your trip until pollution decreases.

During your business trip to a city with poor air quality

  • Exercise outdoors early in the morning to lower potential exposure to pollution.
  • Avoid high-traffic areas where pollution will be worst.
  • Use mass transportation and ride in enclosed cars.
  • Consider wearing a personal air quality monitor to assess risks in real time.
  • Opt for glasses, rather than contact lenses, to minimize eye irritation. Or pack plenty of saline solution.
  • Consider wearing a pollutant-filtering mask, such as an N95 respirator.
  • Watch out for repeated coughing, pain when taking a deep breath, tightness in your chest or wheezing. All can be signs that you’re overexposed to polluted air. If you have these symptoms, go indoors immediately.

Get your Travel Risk Survival Kit

Close the gaps between the safety support your business travelers want and what your corporate program provides. Our Travel Risk Survival Kit describes the hazards ahead and offers solutions for overcoming them.

Breathing easier on business trips

BCD Travel’s Inform report, Air Quality and Business Travel, educates corporate travel managers and travelers about bad air hot spots and offers practical tips for protection.

Download the full report

BCD Travel

BCD Travel helps companies make the most of what they spend on travel. We give travelers innovative tools that keep them safe and productive, and help them make good choices on the road. We partner with travel and procurement leaders to simplify the complexities of business travel, drive savings and satisfaction, and move whole companies toward their goals. In short, we help our clients travel smart and achieve more. We make this happen in 109 countries with almost 13,800 creative, committed and experienced people. And it’s how we maintain the industry’s most consistent client retention rate, with 2018 sales of US$27.1 billion. For more information, visit

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