For those who haven’t heard of the slow travel movement, it’s characterized by many of the same principles that define the slow food movement. These include environmental responsibility, sustainability, education, knowledge, and enjoyment — to name a few. In essence, slow travel is about taking the opportunity (and the time) to connect to places, people, and cultures. The more you learn about slow travel, the more relaxing and worthwhile it sounds. After all, who wants to be stressed on their vacation? However, you may not know where to begin. But, that’s okay! With our 7 tips, you’ll learn how to slow travel in style.
Plan a “hub and spoke” trip. Find a central location, such as a rental apartment or a treehouse, and stay in just one place. Empty your suitcase and put it in the closet. If you’re not a shopper, get basic foods delivered and check out fun local restaurants.
If you’re able to find book now, pay later flights at the last minute, you can more easily extend your trip and stay for longer. That way, you’ll get a better rate on the price of your rental. Book just one activity each day. For example, you can hunker down in place with some great books or a craft project you’ve always wanted to play work on. You’ll revel in the amount of free time you’ll have in your destination of choice.
Allow Yourself to Wander
Instead of packing in each day’s schedules with self-imposed commitments, take time to wander the streets (fields, mountains, beaches) of your destination. To back down from all this frenetic activity, limit yourself to just one activity a day. Take the dream hike, but pack a picnic of locally grown and prepared food, a blanket, and your sense of wonder. Sit, eat, air your feet, and enjoy the view. This is when the true connection to culture and place happens. Some of the best experiences while traveling can happen when you allow yourself enough time.
Embrace a “Less is More” Philosophy
With all of the advances in transportation and technology, seeing and doing “everything” you want is now easier than ever. But when you force yourself to stick to a tight schedule, you miss the things that you never knew you wanted to experience until you get the chance. One of the most important aspects of knowing how to slow travel successfully is learning how to slow down and relax a bit.
You may also enjoy: The Art of the Green Traveler: How to Be a Sustainable Traveler
Engage With Those Around You and Respect Local Customs
It’s a great idea to learn about local customs before you visit your destination. But even if you can speak the local language, it can be daunting to strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you at a restaurant. However, it’s still worthwhile to try and interact with locals when you can to meet fascinating people and learn more about where you’re staying.
Live Like a Local
A simple way to enjoy life as a local is to stay in an Airbnb or similar spot instead of a hotel. You’ll want to be as close to the action as possible. Another fun option is to look for the “best of” foods and drinks. Find the best cheesecake in the area and build a meal around your dessert. Or, the best coffee shop and plan your brunch accordingly.
Check out the older parts of the city and look for:
- locally roasted coffee
- independent bookstores
- farmers markets
- art fairs
From each of these places, you can find fresh foods, wines, and one-of-a-kind crafts. Start at a small, local bakery and ask the folks behind the counter for the best-fried chicken. Or, go to the deli on the corner and ask for the best ice cream shop. Foodies are everywhere. Don’t ask about their competitors, but do collect their expertise!
Research the Best Destinations for Slow Travel
Where you want to slow travel will depend on where you’re coming from. If you need a vacation from the hustle and bustle of city life, a vacation retreat to Costa Rica may be exactly what you need. For those who live in rural areas, time in one of the major cities of Asia, such as Bangkok, might be a fun and invigorating experience. Slow travel can be enjoyed in nearly any setting. Part of the fun of a vacation is to experience something totally different than what you’re used to. Getting a break from your normal routine and surroundings is the key to enjoying slow travel.
Know When Slow Travel Isn’t the Right Option for You
If you’ve already made solid plans to travel halfway around the world, faster travel may be the way to go. For example, if you live in Dallas and get the chance to go to Rome, consider rushing through Rome so that you’ll have time to go to Venice. That being said, fast travel can be exhausting as well as thrilling. Make sure you leave plenty of time after your trip to rest, get past the jet lag, and celebrate the memories of your trip.
Is slow travel in your future vacay plans? Tell us what you think in the comments section below!