On the train from Malaysia to Thailand

5 Actions to Reduce your Carbon Footprint while Traveling

There’s no way around admitting, that you increase your carbon footprint while traveling. We are not saints (we do travel and fly), but we try to reduce this negative impact whenever possible.

Here are a few things we do, that we think other travelers should consider too.

1) Slow Travel – Take the Train instead of Flying

Of course, we don’t take the train from Denmark to Asia, but when you’ve arrived, you can consider planning your journey, in a way that reduces flying.

In Thailand, you can take comfortable night trains, where you’ll have a decent bed and can get a good nights’ sleep on the (admittedly) slow journey. Options include e.g. Bangkok to Trang and Hat Yai. Hat Yai to Kuala Lumpur and Butterworth.

On the train from Malaysia to Thailand
Sixten is super good at slow traveling. He enjoys watching out the window or to sit and listen to an audio book.

2) Reduce your Consumption of Bottled Water

Drinking water equals plastic bottle for many travelers. However, you can clean your tap water instead, and reduce plastic consumption. It’s a lot easier and cheaper since you don’t need to get water from the store all the time.

We use the Steripen purifier, that kills bacteria so you can enjoy tap water everywhere. If we need to buy water, we buy 5 liters bottles.

Also keep an eye on any local drinking water solutions, like in Bangkok and Koh Lanta, where you can refill your bottles cheap from water filter machines in the streets.

Water refill station on Koh Lanta
Water refill station on Koh Lanta

3) Say No to Plastic

Especially in Thailand and Malaysia, everything seems to be double wrapped, and then packed in plastic bags. Even just a cool drink, will probably feature a plastic cup, lid, straw and mini plastic bag for carrying. If you bring your own bottle instead, there’s an easy reduction right there. If you level up to a thermal cup, you’ll even keep your drink cool longer.

At the supermarket, put the fruit price tag directly on the product, instead of first putting it in a plastic bag, and bring your bag to carry your groceries.

If eating where you get your food, instead of take-away, you’ll save on plastic as well. Easy.

Say no to plastic sign at Koh Tao
On Koh Tao in Thailand, many shops try to encourage customers to say no to plastic.

4) Eat the Local Food and Products

You’re traveling and are experiencing new things, so why not drop your regular favorite things, and replace them with a local product. Fewer import goods = lower carbon footprint.

5) Take the Bicycle

Depending on where you go, a bicycle might be a great way to go exploring. It’s also cheap and eco-friendly. Especially in Thailand, almost everyone rent scooters. But if you’re on an island (e.g. Koh Lanta), chances are, that bikes will cover at least your day-to-day needs, so you only need the scooter/ car when you take longer trips.

Biking on Koh Lanta, with a kid on the bag
By bicycle, you get more time to see things around you

What do you do, to reduce your carbon footprint while traveling? Let us know in the comments section below.