a photo of a road with a road sign that says: Slow Down

What Is Slow Travel? (Why You Should Give It A Try)

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What is slow travel? I’m sure that’s the question that landed you here. 🙂

Slow travel is actually a new term that I discovered just recently, as I was researching and reading more about slow living, another term I newly discovered as I was researching more about simple living.

I am interested and curious to learn more about slow travel because it looks like the term appropriate for the kind of travel that my husband likes that is now influencing me, too.

So, What Exactly Is Slow Travel?

Slow travel is actually a growing trend that has been gaining popularity over the past few years. It is a form of travel that focuses on experiences over material possessions.

It’s a way to see the world that’s slower, less hurried, and more connected with the people and places you’re visiting.

two women travellers enjoying the moment with a map in their hand and one woman pointing to something while the other is also looking

There are plenty of opportunities to slow down in your travels without giving up the convenience of modern life. 

One way to slow down is by taking public transportation instead of renting a car. This can help you see more of your destination since buses and trains often travel in small circles or directly to popular tourist destinations.

You can also find great slow travel experiences by staying in simple hostels, guesthouses, or camping sites rather than expensive hotels.

When you slow down, you’re more likely to enjoy the experience for what it is – unique and special – rather than hurrying for the next destination.

Slow tourism is another term for slow travel and Wikipedia defines it as:

A part of the sustainable tourism family, different from mainstream tourism and emphasizing the tourist's greater personal awareness. It is characterized by reducing mobility and by taking time to explore local history and culture, while supporting the environment.

The Origin of Slow Travel

The concept of slow travel is said to have emerged from the slow food movement in Italy, a movement started by Carlo Petrini as a protest against the opening of a McDonald in Plaza de España, Rome in 1986.

Slow travel is a movement that began in the early 2000s and has been growing in popularity ever since.

photo of a man with a back pack raising his hands into the air while facing the sunset - signifying slow travel

The idea behind slow travel is to take your time and enjoy the small things in life.

This way of living has become popular because it allows you to connect with the world around you in a different way.

Slow travel also allows you to see different parts of the world without having to rush through them.

Why You Should Give Slow Travel A Try

Slow travel is a growing trend that is gaining in popularity.

There are many reasons why you should give it a try, and here are six of the most important: 

1.  Slow travel can help you connect with the local culture and see things in a different light.

Slow travel can help you to connect with the local culture in a unique way.

By spending more time in each destination, you can gain an understanding of the people and the culture.

a photo of a carnaval set-up
Visiting the carnaval set-up during a local festival.

This can be incredibly rewarding and provide you with a valuable and new perspective on life.

2. Traveling slowly can be more affordable.

Because slow travel prefers for you to stay in one place for longer, it means that you don’t have to keep from hopping from one accommodation to the next, and staying longer in one accommodation tends to be cheaper compared to a shorter stay.

Slow travel can be incredibly affordable if you approach it in the right way.

By planning your trip carefully, you can make use of budgeting tips and find deals on accommodation and food.

This means that slow travel is accessible to everyone, no matter the budget.

3) Slow travel can provide you with plenty of opportunities for relaxation and fun.

Slow travel is often characterized by a slower pace, which can provide you with plenty of opportunities for relaxation and fun.

father having fun with his two toddler boys with colorful statues of horses at the back

By slowing down, you can savor every moment and make the most of your surroundings.

This can lead to some fantastic experiences that would be hard to achieve on a fast-paced journey.

4) Slow tourism can be great for kids. 

If you have small kids like us, then slow travel is perfect because you won’t end up super tired and stressed by seeing a lot of places and doing a lot of things in a short period of time.

a photo og a father with 2 small boys enjoying one of the parks in andorra in a slow travel way.

Plus, by taking them on slow travel trips, you’ll also get some good quality family time in while they’re away from home too!

You won’t be coming home feeling like you need another vacation to relax after a vacation.

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5. Traveling slowly is more sustainable because it reduces your impact on the environment. 

When you’re on a slow trip, you’re less likely to be rushing around and doing things that are harmful to the environment.

For example, if you’re on vacation in a place where there’s a lot of tourism, you might be using a lot of resources – like water and energy – which can be damaging to the environment.

Traveling slowly can help you conserve these resources and protect our planet in the process.

6. Slow travel can improve your mental health.

When traveling slowly, it’s easier to connect with the local population and get to know them on a personal level – this can lead to improved mental health because it gives people something positive to focus on during their travels (instead of just seeing exotic places). 

How To Get Started With Slow Travel

Slow travel is a lifestyle choice that can be made for many reasons.

It can be a way to reduce stress, enjoy the simple pleasures in life, connect with the local culture, and learn about new places.

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to slow travel, so, starting out is not difficult since all it takes is a change in mindset.

Given that you already have a destination and plan for your next vacation, here are some tips that will help you get started on your journey to slow travel on your next planned vacation or getaway:

1. Travel at a slower pace instead of rushing out.

This is the main concept of slow travel, to adopt a slower pace of traveling which means taking your time and enjoying the moment instead of rushing everything.

This is why I said earlier that slow travel seems to be the perfect term for the kind of travel that my husband likes because everytime we go on vacation, he wants to take it slow by taking multiple breaks in coffee shops, parks, and other local areas just to enjoy the moment and observe the local happening around.

a photo of part of the interior of a local restaurant
Lunch break at a local restaurant.

He doesn’t care if we only see very few places, what matters most to him is the enjoyment and relaxation that he gets out of it.

I was in opposition at first,  because I felt it was a waste of money coming to a destination and only seeing a few places.

But as years go by, I learn to embrace it and actually enjoy it, especially now that we travel with two small kids.

2. Explore Local Food Options.

The concept of slow travel originated from the slow food movement which encourages people to try out local food options and slow travel encourages the same.

photos of local foods in the Philippines
Local food in the Philippines that my husband willingly tried in a food stall of a local market.

Local food is also one of our favorite ways of experiencing different cultures.

We always research the local food of our destination and ask locals for suggestions and make sure to try as many as possible.

Not only will this provide you with a unique perspective on the cuisine and a closer look at the local culture, but it can also save money on meals (sometimes).

3. Be Flexible.

Slow travel isn’t about following a rigid itinerary; instead, enjoy taking breaks whenever you need them.

This allows you to connect more closely with the local community and experience more of the destination than if you were constantly rushing around.

4. Don’t make a long list of tourist attractions to see.

If you’re looking to take a break from the tourist traps, slow down and explore the local culture. This can be done by attending local festivals, checking out art galleries and museums, or simply interacting with locals.

a photo of a hand with a pen over a notebook with the word Bucket List

For us, it is always important to try and get in touch with the locals wherever we go because we believe that it’s one way of getting to know a place better and making some great connections.

5. Pack smartly and lightly.

Slow travel is all about enjoying the journey, rather than just the destination.

When you pack lightly and smartly, you can minimize your environmental impact and enjoy your travels more.

Think about what you will need on your trip, and pack as little as possible. This means packing light on clothes, toiletries, and food.

Final Thoughts About Slow Travel

Slow travel is about appreciating the small moments in life. It’s about being present and taking the time to really see the world around you.

It’s also about being mindful of your pace and not rushing through experiences.

Are you interested in slow travel, too? Or have you started already? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.


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