Have you ever felt the need to take a vacation when you return from your trip?
By tediously completing a series of visits to tick off the Top 10 essentials of your guide, you may have forgotten to rest.
How about next time, you go slow travel?
A different way of traveling that encourages to take the time to discover a destination, to immerse in culture and traditions, and to understand the places you choose to visit better.
In this article, we’ll see why it is a more beneficial way of traveling according to slow travel fans, and why it’s considered as a more sustainable way of traveling.
The origins of slow travel
Slow travel, started before the year 2000 and was inspired by the slow food movement that appeared in the 1980s in Italy.
At that time the slow food movement was born to protest against the opening of a fast food restaurant in Rome.
Their manifesto begins with the phrase
international movement for the defense and the right to pleasure.
Slow tourism enthusiasts wanted to change the way they were discovering the world — a way for some to react to the constant need to always be in a hurry.
Opposite to organized group travel, where every minute of the day counts, slow-travelers choose to take their time for everything and focus their trip on quality rather than quantity.
At a time where more and more of us try to disconnect, this style of holiday tempts a lot of people.
In practice, how to travel slowly?
Slow travel is another way of traveling but also a philosophy of its own.
You don’t need to plan a year-round world tour to start doing it; you can very well take inspiration from it for trips inside your own country.
Before leaving: choose your route and limit the steps
The first step is to select the time you will spend discovering a place or region.
The idea is to stay longer in a place to enjoy all its nooks and crannies, or even take the time to get bored.
In short, the opposite of a tour with letsrusharound.com
Practically, if you are going to Thailand, you can limit the stops and not force yourself to tick all the boxes of your favorite guide, or to spend only one night in each city;
If you stay in your country, you can limit yourself to a region to spend more time there.
Alternatively, choose to leave longer: how about an extra week?
Once you’re there : transport is part of the pleasure
Slow travel consists in completely immersing yourself in the area and above all to better understand it.
Moving is an integral part of the trip. It is an activity of discovery in itself, not just a way to move from point A to point B.
That’s why “soft” transport is generally the preferred mode of travel for slows travelers.
Traveling by bus or train, you can better appreciate the scenery, observe scenes of life, or even exchange with the locals, and this contributes to the pleasure of the trip.
Once you reach your destination, slow travelers prefer cycling, walking or even horse riding.
You’ll have chances to stop anywhere, discover things off the beaten tracks, and enjoy the place better.
Which accommodation is best for slow travel?
Slow travelers who stay longer in a place because of their philosophy often opt for accommodation that offers them more flexibility than a hotel.
Generally, they’ll choose among:
- A cottage or holiday rental: practical, staying in a cottage or eco-friendly rental also allows you to take the time to visit the local markets and cook yourself.
- Home exchanges: increasingly popular among long-haul travelers, it is an economical solution that allows you to extend the time of your trip.
- Homestays: more authentic, a homestay or a guest house, will enable you to learn more about the local life through the exchanges you’ll have with the owners or families you live with.
Slow travelers love slow food
Eating well on holiday here means taking an interest in local gastronomy but also using what you can find on the spot.
It also means, participating in the local economy, for example by visiting local cafés and restaurants, buying from local shops and taking part in local life as if you lived there.
Slow travel and responsible tourism
Slow tourism is often considered as a form of sustainable tourism.
It encourages a trip, respecting the nature, culture, and population of the site.
The preference for clean transport also limits the carbon impact of your travels.
This sustainable traveling mode benefits the local economy: living the same way as the locals and immersing ourselves in their way of life, their culture and traditions.
How about you, how do you define slow travel and have you already adopted it? Tell us in the comments.