If you’re an eco-conscious traveller then you will want to minimise your carbon footprint whilst on vacation in Asia
Sustainable travel is becoming an increasingly important priority
Protecting the environment for future generations is becoming an increasingly important priority. So, it’s likely that you already do your bit whilst at home to keep your carbon footprint to a minimum. But what about when you travel on holiday?
With more people than ever before jetting off to far-flung destinations on all corners of the globe, responsible travel has never been more important. While travelling sustainably might take a little more research and effort at first, the benefits far outweigh the costs in the long run.
If you incorporate a selection of green-minded elements into your holiday plans, you can travel happily in the knowledge that you’re doing your bit to protect the earth’s natural treasures for generations to come.
In popular hotspots like Phuket, Koh Samui and Bali, growing visitor numbers over recent years have placed a greater strain on the islands’ natural resources. That’s why it’s more important than ever to minimise your carbon footprint and do your bit to protect the environment.
Here are a few top tips to do just that.
Packing light is more fuel efficient
Packing light is the first super simple step you can take towards minimising your carbon footprint whilst on holiday. Why? Because the heavier your suitcase is, the more fuel the plane/train/car you travel in will have to use, thus increasing carbon emissions. By minimising how much you pack, you can play a part in minimising the amount of fuel that will be used.
Packing light has other benefits, too – including the fact that your suitcase will be easier to handle when you are dragging it through immigration at the airport. It all comes down to planning. Setting out versatile outfits that can be worn to multiple occasions is a good idea. Taking small, travel-sized toiletries will also mean your suitcase weighs less than if you were taking enormous bottles of beautifying lotions and potions. If you feel that you don’t have enough clothes or shoes once you arrive in Thailand, you can have a fun day splashing out on new clothes in one of the country’s fantastic malls. Islands like Phuket and Koh Samui are home to plenty of fabulous clothes shop, so you won’t have any trouble picking up anything and everything that you need.
Cut down on plastic
The trash generated by single-use plastic is a menace on tropical islands
The sad fact is that waste is one of the natural by-products of tourism. In fact, single-use plastic – in the form of bottles, bags and packaging – is one of the biggest menaces on tropical island locations. Research shows that the number of plastic bags going into our oceans is quickly catching up with the number of cigarette butts, causing a major threat to aquatic life.
Just being savvy about which products you use/buy whilst on holiday, means you can cut down on single-use plastic and thereby generate less trash. Start by packing a smart, reusable water bottle. This means that you can re-fill the bottle with fresh water whenever you like, rather than having to purchase a brand new bottle every time you’re feeling parched.
Several of Koh Samui’s luxury private villas have already made a commitment to cutting down on single-use plastic throughout the property. Guests staying at Chai Talay estate on Koh Samui won’t find any plastic water bottles. Instead, guests can refill their own bottles or glasses from filtered drinking water dispensers.
Think about transport
Cutting down on air travel can help to minimise your carbon footprint
Of course, catching a plane is the quick, convenient way to reach your final destination. However, the aviation sector is the fastest-growing source of green house gas emissions. So, anything you can do to cut down your air miles will help to slash your personal carbon footprint.
Luckily, a well-established tourism infrastructure means that there are plenty of ways you can get where you need to go without even stepping foot on a plane. As well as being a more eco-conscious mode of transportation, getting the train rather than the plane can also be a fantastic adventure and will provide the opportunity to see gorgeous scenery from a different perspective. Alternatively, there are many bus services between popular tourist destinations, for both long and short distances.
Once you arrive at your final destination, transportation should still be an important consideration. For example, is it possible to walk to your local restaurant rather than calling a taxi? It might mean an extra 30-minute wait until dinner, but travelling on foot (or even on a bicycle) will allow you the chance to get to know your local neighbourhood even better.
The clever design of Thailand’s private villas means that you can often rely on the sea breeze to keep you cool
Choosing eco-friendly accommodation is another key way of minimising your carbon footprint whilst on holiday. Staying in establishments such as private rental villas, mean that your money is giving more of a boost to the local economy. Plus, the majority of luxury private villas are designed sensitively so that they harmonize with the natural setting rather than damaging it. There will also be a smaller number of guests putting a strain on the same resources.
There’s also plenty you can do once you’ve arrived at your place of accommodation, if cutting down on resources is a top priority. Try to minimise your energy use by turning off the air conditioning. The clever design of many private villas often means that the fresh sea breeze can be channelled throughout the property, so you don’t have to rely on the air conditioning to stay cool. Re-using your towels and sheets rather than having them changed every day will also cut down on the water usage involved in washing them.
Buying locally-made goods helps to sustain tourism and the local economy
Shopping locally might not reduce your carbon footprint but if you’re an eco-minded traveller than it’s something you’re likely to want to do anyway. Doing your bit for sustainable tourism means channelling some cash back into the local economy, helping to support the Thai people who were so welcoming to you throughout your vacation. Shopping local is easy to do in Thailand, as there’s plenty of independent art galleries, handicraft stalls and clothes shops. Pack all your shopping in a fabric shopping bag (rather than plastic) and you’re on the right path.
What you eat also plays an important part in your carbon footprint on holiday. Here are our top tips on how to eat sustainably:
- Leave the tourist trap restaurants behind and head to local restaurants, where the food is more likely to be locally-sourced
- Go to local food markets and take food back to your private villa to cook yourself (or have your villa’s professional chef do it for you)
- Tucking into the catch of the day not only means that you’ll be enjoying a delicious seafood meal. You’ll also be supporting the local fishing industry of the island where you’re staying