Ever wanted to make the most out of vacation? Slow travel is about exploring new places and immersing yourself in the local cultures. Discover the benefits of traveling slowly and tips on how you can enjoy it!
Have you ever noticed how fast-paced your travels can be? It’s like racing to see everything, but you end up actually seeing nothing.
I’ll admit I was one of those travelers racing through cities, trying to see everything in a week. My travel plans looked like a marathon, and I was constantly stressed trying to plan the next best thing. In this rush, I realized I missed exploring the culture and locations that made the area unique.
Which is why I started to embrace slow travel.
Slow travel—also known as “meaningful travel,” “low impact,” and “sustainable travel”—offers a laid-back approach that values quality over quantity. By living more sustainably and being conscious of how you travel, you can improve your mental well-being and foster a sense of community, all while deeply exploring the world.
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Tips for Enjoying Slow Travel
Slow travel is not about how many cities you can visit in a week but how deeply you can connect with the area and enjoy yourself.
It’s about enjoying your vacation to the fullest instead of chasing surface-level experiences.
So how can you slow travel and enjoy it?
Learn to Stay Longer in Fewer Places
When you learn to stay longer in fewer places, it starts to feel more like a home rather than a location to be crossed off on a list. So why not have more homes in every country?
Instead of staying one or two days in an area before moving on, consider spending 7 to 10 days there so you can explore everything there is to see and do!
Especially if you are a digital nomad, you can work virtually from anywhere. So you can rent out an entire apartment for a month as you explore new cities and destinations.
As you stay longer in fewer places, you can explore more and connect with the locals, all while making unforgettable memories.
Opt for Overland Travel
When traveling to places less than a day away, instead of flying, you can opt for overland transportation options such as taking a train or bus ride.
My favorite way of overland travel is by car, van, and RV, especially if you’re taking a road trip across the country. Imagine you’re taking a road trip through the mountains, and you see an elk eating on the side of the road! That is such an incredible sight you could not have seen if you were traveling fast by plane.
By opting for overland transportation, you can also take an amazing train ride across the Rocky Mountains. Where you can enjoy the beautiful countryside landscapes, experience unforgettable excursions, and even have a relaxing spa day before or after your train ride.
That sounds way more enjoyable than dealing with the stress of airport security and the anxiety that comes with flying.
So despite how you travel, try to opt into overland transportation so that you can enjoy yourself more and reduce your carbon emissions, all while traveling in style.
Plan Less, Explore More
While having a plan is great, you can easily get frustrated or upset when things don’t go as planned. Instead, embrace spontaneity and give yourself unplanned room to discover new adventures.
This is personally how I make the most out of my vacations. I plan the basics, such as transportation, accommodations, and a couple of main activities, but the rest of the trip is free to explore new activities based on local recommendations or adventures.
This is precisely what I did when I booked an adventure based on a local’s recommendation to go horseback riding through the Andorran mountains. I loved this activity, and it was such a fun and spontaneous experience!
So, instead of scheduling your day with jam-packed activities, allow yourself the freedom to explore the area. You may even become more spontaneous as you decide to visit new places, take part in new adventures, and grow into a more confident traveler.
Connect with the Community
The best thing about traveling slowly is developing deep and meaningful connections with people.
When you’re not rushing across cities, you can invest time in exploring the local area. You can learn about the local language, people, traditions, and dance rhythms.
When I traveled to Kenya, I made it a point to learn a new Swahili phrase every day. I also took dancing lessons with the Maasai Tribe to learn their famous and traditional dance, Aumdu. This enhanced my experience while in Africa and bonded me with the locals as we had a mutual understanding and respect for one another. Plus, I learned awesome dance moves that I got to bring back home with me.
So, as you travel slowly, you can enjoy the experience of connecting with the local communities and making new memories that will last a lifetime.
The Benefits of Slow Travel
As you begin the art of slow travel, you will discover many benefits.
You Can Explore More
You might assume by traveling slowly, you see less compared to traveling to multiple cities in one day. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. By staying in one area longer, you cut out the dead time spent in transit, and you can enjoy your vacation more!
Slow travel is perfect for those who want to explore more and gain a deeper connection with the area’s culture.
It is especially ideal for digital nomads, as you can explore an area more while focusing on your work. Plus, traveling slowly increases your work productivity and improves your work-life balance since you’re not worried about rushing to the next destination.
Reduce Your Environmental Impact
The best part about traveling slowly is that you inherently travel more sustainably. The sustainable side of slow travel emphasizes the reduction of carbon emissions, support for local economies, and prevention of over-tourism.
For example, you can significantly reduce your carbon footprint and environmental impact by staying longer in fewer places and choosing overland transportation. Plus, by choosing more environmentally friendly activities, you can explore the untouched areas of a country while experiencing its full beauty.
During one of my first vacations after I started practicing slow travel, I met up with a group of people and went mountain biking through the breathtaking mountains of Andorra. I could explore the local area, meet new friends, and participate in a fun, environmentally friendly activity!
By traveling slowly, you can explore the world and positively impact both the environment and the communities you visit.
Slow Travel Improves Your Mental Well-being
The stress that comes with traveling is often a hidden topic that most people don’t talk about. Especially the anxiety that comes with rushing to the next location and never thoroughly enjoying the present moment.
But when you give yourself the luxury of time, you naturally feel more calm. This is true when you travel slowly.
So instead of rushing to do all the activities in a city in one day, try spending an entire week in an area so you can truly enjoy all that a place has to offer.
Not only will you naturally lower your stress and anxiety levels, but you will allow yourself to fully immerse yourself in the culture and live in the present moment at every place you travel.
It Reduces Your Financial Burdens
Traveling slowly is an excellent way for you to save money. When you don’t hop from place to place, you can spend less on high transportation costs and fees. Plus, if you stay longer in one spot, you can enjoy various “long-term stay” discounts on your hotel accommodations.
Also, when you’re not always on the go, you have more time to discover fun, low-cost activities in the area. Slow travel allows you to enjoy more while spending less, whether it’s a local park, a budget-friendly meal, or a free event.
Starting Your Slow Travel Journey
So, next time you plan a trip, ask yourself: Do you want to check places off a list, or do you want to truly experience it?
By choosing to travel slowly, you can truly experience a place, its culture, and its people. It’s not just about saving money or reducing stress; it’s about enriching your soul and travel experience.
Slow Travel FAQs
What is Slow Travel?
Slow travel is about connecting with those you meet and discovering the people, the culture, the food, and other aspects of daily life.
Why is Slow Travel the Best Way to Travel?
Slow travel encourages more eco-friendly experiences. You don’t try to go to as many different places; you choose public transportation and road trips over airline travel; you support the local economy.
What Makes Slow Travel Special?
Slow travel embraces the local communities you encounter. It fosters a connection with people rather than attempting to check something off your bucket list. It is about embracing the moment and digging deep to discover the heart of a destination.