Recently, you may have come across the term ‘slow travel’ quite a bit. Slow travel is becoming more and more popular these days as an anecdote to fast weekenders and trips designed simply to tick off bucket list items but what is slow travel exactly and why do you need to pay attention to it?
Slow travel is a fairly new concept, a movement that savours the real essence of travel as well as saving us from travel burnout.
For many today, slow travel is one of the best ways to see the world while also fully relaxing, working online or going back to that most authentic travel experience.
Important side note: Slow travel today is often connected with digital nomadism and being able to make an income online that allows you to work from anywhere in the world, thus continuously travelling around slowly. While this is the case, slow travel is not exclusively for digital nomads or for those with online jobs.
Even if you’ve just got a week for a vacation, you can still adopt the slow travel mindset and choose to visit just one city or one small region in that week instead of just zipping around the whole country ticking off the main sights. However long you have for travel is irrelevant, what matters is what you do with that time.
Disclaimer: This What is Slow Travel post contains affiliate links meaning I might make a small profit if you choose to book using them at no extra cost to you. This helps me to keep providing you with free, quality content.
WHAT IS SLOW TRAVEL?
Slow travel is just what the same suggests, taking your time while travelling both in a physical sense and a spiritual one. Slow traveling is also intentional and conscious. It allows time to establish a connection between yourself and your destination.
While the slow travel definition might be different for everyone most people see the art of slow travel as taking the time to discover each new destination in detail, getting to know the people that live there, the nooks and crannies, the culture, the history. It’s a whole lot more than just rushing through the main attractions in one day.
Slow travel can also be seen as a mindset and not just getting from one place to the next. There are certain travel patterns and behaviours that slow travellers all demonstrate.
Often slow travelers will stay for much longer at just one destination, experiencing the local culture and ‘living’ the local life rather than rushing from city to city on a one-week itinerary trying to see it all, subjecting themselves to total burnout.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SLOW TRAVEL
In today’s constantly-changing world travelling slowly can add more value to our lives than ever before.
It enriches our travel experiences by combining different aspects of awareness, cultural responsibility, sustainability and consciousness.
Modern travel isn’t exactly the most sustainable activity which is why it’s so important to reduce our pace, take fewer flights when possible as well as also contributing to the communities we are visiting.
The slow travel meaning might be a little different for everyone and each person might have a different focus but if we can all do more of it- to bridge these connections between people and place and to educate ourselves more about the natural environment, cultures and history of our destinations, perhaps we might then be doing our part to benefit them.
WHY YOU SHOULD GIVE SLOW TRAVEL A GO
Your Travels Become More Meaningful
Not all fast travel isn’t meaningful and many lovely experiences can happen when you’re quickly passing through a destination or even en route to your next one. But, slow travel does open up doors to more memorable experiences and events.
When you change your mindset from ‘I have to see everything in one week’ to ‘I want to experience one place all week’, time and opportunities magically present themselves. You are no longer a slave to the clock trying to fit everything in but instead, you’ve got time; time to walk, time to look around and time for experiences to come to you.
When you have a slow vacation your trip becomes so much more meaningful through the people you meet and the places you connect to. Suddenly your memories of that particular destination are full of raw moments and authentic experiences you might not have had when rushing through.
Slow Travel Saves You Money
In general, traveling slowly saves you money. The faster you travel the more money you spend in a shorter period of time.
When adopting slow travel you might incur the same costs, but they are spread out over much more time, reducing your daily spend.
Several of my followers reach out to me via Instagram asking how I can afford to travel almost constantly when they spend X amount of money on just one vacation. The answer I always give is slow travel.
Ok, I also work as I travel which allows me to earn my living on the road but in general, I spend less day-to-day because I travel slowly. My costs while travelling might be similar to someone’s costs back home.
When you say in one place for longer you don’t need to pay for multiple forms of transportation to get around, you can opt for a vacation rental which is often cheaper than a hotel and due to having a rental, ideally with a kitchen, you can also prepare your own meals which can save a huge amount of money.
It Doesn’t Leave You Feeling Exhausted
Ever been on a short vacation and tried to cram so much in you realised you needed a vacation when getting back home just to recover from said vacation? Yup, I’ve been there too.
Many times I’ve noticed that this travel burnout comes from fast, often stressful trips where I’m left with the urge to just settle somewhere, unpack my suitcase completely and just be.
While fast trips don’t have to be exhausting, slow travel ensures a pace that’s beneficial to your mental and physical health.
It Can Help you Learn New Skills
Slow travelers have to adapt and that means learning new skills along the way.
Not only that, but you might also use your travel time to learn a new skill that’s difficult to come by in your home country, a new language for example.
Several of my own personal experiences have shown me that if you want to learn another language, there’s no better way than to go and learn it in a place where the people speak it. This way you’ve got the opportunity for maximum language immersion.
Slow travel also opens up opportunities for learning local crafts, art skills and perfecting sports or activities that you’ve wanted to try or develop for a long time whether that’s batik painting in Bali or surfing in Costa Rica.
Slow Travel Means Less Impact on the Environment
Taking multiple flights per trip, buses and trains take their toll on the environment. Each 2-hour flight we take has more carbon emissions than the yearly emissions of a person in a Central African country. That’s a lot of CO2!
One of the ways to reduce our environmental impact is to take fewer flights and rent fewer cars but that can only happen by decreasing our distances. Slow travel can mean you have more time to take a train rather than fly. It can also mean that you have the luxury to be able to rent a bicycle and cycle around a city over a few days rather than renting a car to see everything in one day.
It can also have a more sustainable effect on our daily actions. Slow travel can allow us to look into our daily practices when travelling and to swap out unsustainable products and habits for eco-friendly ones.
You Learn About What it Feels to Live in Another Country
The slow travel experience is more closely related to living in a new country. By embracing long term slow travel it can often feel like you actually live there.
Not only can you experience all the moments and build memories like a traveller you can also learn what it’s like to really live in that country- if you wish of course.
Finding a long-term rental, shopping for groceries locally and moving around your destination like a local are all things that locals experience daily.
For these reasons alone, slow travel is one of the best ways to really get to know a destination.
Slow Travel Allows for Deeper Experiences
When you allow for the slow travel experience, you attract deeper connections with both people and places. These connections turn into memories that last a lifetime.
Slow travel increases your chances of meeting exciting new people, signing up for last-minute trips with new friends or meeting locals with incredible life stories. When you travel slowly you have time to sit, listen and engage with fellow travellers and locals.
While such experiences can happen when travelling quickly we often can’t give these new adventures as much time as they truly deserve and if it’s not about the experiences and the feelings we get from a new place, what is travel anyway?
Now that you’re more up to date with what is slow travel, will you be incorporating more of it into your life? Would it work for you?
Let me know all your questions and comments below or feel free to email me by heading to the Contact Me page.
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