How to travel responsibly in 2020

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How to travel responsibly in 2020

The new year has officially kicked off, a whole new year just ready to fill with plans and ideas of new destinations to explore. Well if Thailand is on your list, then why not see if you can pick up a few tips on how to make your stay more eco-conscious and support more sustainable tourism.

Sustainable Tourism

Attempting a more environmentally friendly holiday can help sustain the destinations’ natural resources and protect not only their environment but contribute to the overall health of the earth. By showing support for these practices, we also encourage governments to enlist further protection and invest in eco-friendly options for the future.

Here are five ways to incorporate sustainable tourism into your holidays:

1. The way you travel…

You arrived in Thailand and already have a massive list of different destinations?! Getting around the country is incredibly easy, but how can we experience as much as possible with the smallest impact? Reducing the number of short-haul flights we take across the county is an easy way to cut carbon emissions. Some alternatives include the extensive railway system which is a fast and efficient way to travel long distances. If you can’t find a train then the next best thing would be to look for a bus.


When exploring a city why not take a walk around or cycle instead of taxis or tuk-tuks. You’ll get a much more in-depth experience and quite possibly stumble across some hidden gems.

2. What accommodation you choose…

Why not try a homestay for a much more authentic Thai experience and also greatly reduce your carbon footprint. Plus it can also be cheaper and provide more opportunities to experience the country.

Otherwise research ahead for hotels or hostels that promote greener living, most travel sites give you the option to search for eco-friendly establishments.


Some things to look out for are:

  • Renewable energy
  • Upcycling
  • Sustainable water use
  • Local staffing
  • Organic garden produce

You would be amazed at the options all across the country ranging from small scale hostels to grand 5* hotels.

3. Reduce or reuse your plastic…

Trying to minimize plastic waste while travelling can be incredibly difficult if you come unprepared! Here are a few tips to help keep your travels as plastic-free as possible:

  • Refill your bottle – Thailand has a massive refill program and if you purchase one of their Trash Hero bottles, there are free refill stations throughout the country. Otherwise, if you already have your own bottle, then keep an eye out for refill stations in hotels and cafes. Most restaurants will gladly refill your bottle, so don’t be afraid to ask.
  • Skip the straw – If your holiday plans include enjoying a few drinks, then please ask “no straw”. They’re only useful for 15 to 30 minutes and then end up polluting the earth for hundreds of years. It’s a very easy item to skip, but if you can’t go without a straw then opt for a reusable straw to keep for your entire trip.
  • Snack attacks – Thailand is known for its huge array of delicacies, most of which you can easily buy on the side of the road. But most stalls will hand you your food wrapped in two maybe three different plastic bags. So coming prepared with your own bag, or opting for no bag at all and eating on the go, will greatly reduce your plastic consumption.

4. Support ethical activities…

How you choose to spend your time and money shapes the tourism industry of the future. The way you spend your money is just like voting, so put it towards something meaningful that you support.

Here are some DOs and DON’Ts:

  • Turtles – Avoid hotels or facilities that allow you to swim with turtles in enclosed areas. These turtles have most likely been stolen from the wild and are forced to spend day after day with tourists who want to touch them.
  • INSTEAD… support rehabilitation projects or go snorkeling in small groups to find wild turtles. Move slowly and give the animal plenty of space to feel comfortable in your presence, when relaxed turtles will happily stay nearby. Koh Tao is known for its turtle population and if you’re lucky you could hang out with Green and Hawksbill turtles while diving or snorkeling around the island.
  • Elephants – Boycott elephant trekking. The symbol of Thailand, these intelligent animals endure terrible training methods to be broken in for trekking camps. Most animals end up starving or receiving fatal injuries from handlers and lack of proper health care.
  • INSTEAD… support rescue sanctuaries who provide new homes for the unfortunate elephants forced to work all their life. There is a fantastic facility near our island, the Samui Elephant Sanctuary. Their rescued herd is slowly growing with increasing support and growing awareness about the negative impacts of trekking in Thailand.

5. Last but not least, dive responsibly…

With some of the world’s most beautiful dive sites and chances to see Whalesharks and turtles, it would truly be a shame to miss out. But how you dive is crucial for the wellbeing of our coral reefs. Making sure you dive with a Green Fins certified dive school will ensure you and the school will use reef-friendly diving practices, or follow PADI’s Project Aware 10 tips for divers to protect the ocean planet. Luckily Master Divers does all of these things so you can dive with confidence that we do our best to protect our reefs.


We hope you have an amazing time exploring Thailand, but please remember to have respect for your hosts. If we all work together we can help preserve this beautiful country for many more adventures to come.Got any tips of your own?

Tell us what they are in the comments and spread more eco-friendly knowledge.

Image credits: Canva, Pixabay, private



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