I’m doing some planning at the moment for some holidays this year, so I thought it was a good time to talk about slow travel. It’s a topic you may have heard a bit about in the last few years, and it’s definitely something I’ve been exploring for my last few holidays. Needless to say, I love it. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it as well!
What is Slow Travel?
Slow travel can mean different things to different people, but at its essence it focuses on connections, experiences and well, moving at a slower pace. It’s the antidote to the 7-cities-in-7-days style of travel, instead promoting taking time to fully explore the places you visit, even if that means you end up visiting less places.
On the surface it may sound like you can only do slow travel if you have months on end to dedicate to it, but it’s definitely not the case. No matter how long you are planning a holiday for, you can choose to do it a slower pace by choosing quality over quantity. It also doesn’t mean you have to rent a cottage in a small French village (although that does sound lovely!) – you can still visit big cities and famous places, just at a slower pace. By all means still visit all the ‘must-sees’ if they are of interest to you, but don’t feel obliged to either.
Benefits of Slow Travel
There are lots of benefits of slow travel, with the biggest one being that you get to properly explore the places you travel to. As a result you’re likely to get a better understanding of the people and their cultures, as well as find out where the locals eat and drink which is always my favourite. You might even pick up a little of the local language along the way. Taking this approach usually means you get to see and do things that aren’t in the guidebooks, or that you stumble upon by accident because you had the time to allow that to happen.
This also means that you are likely to get the chance to actually slow down and enjoy your vacation more. How often do we get back from a holiday only to feel like we need a holiday from that holiday! Slowing down while you’re on holiday can help avoid that, and you might even return home feeling refreshed!
Downsides of Slow Travel
The unofficial motto of slow travel seems to be ‘there’s always another trip’, which is why the pressure is seemingly off to see and do everything in one go. Whilst this attitude can definitely result in a more enjoyable trip at the time, it’s not necessarily a motto that rings true for everyone. Getting the opportunity to travel even semi-regularly is definitely a privilege, so for many people they may only get to visit a particular country or location once. In that case, it’s important to weigh up the the benefits of slow travel against the list of things you want to do in that location to determine what’s the best approach at the time.
Why I love it
Most of the reasons why I love slow travel are due to its very nature and the benefits it brings, but there are a few others as well. In many respects slow travel can be a more environmentally friendly style of travel, as you are using less transport, and therefore less emissions. It also often results in more visits to markets and homemade meals using local produce, which have eco-benefits as well.
Staying in less places also removes the number of travel days in a holiday, which are always my least favourite. I just feel like so much time is wasted waiting at airports and for connecting trains which I’d prefer to use exploring. I also often find them quite stressful days as the implications of running late can be pretty huge – so the less of them the better in my mind!