Slow travel is all about taking time to experience, see, and understand the places you visit. But there is so much more than just slowing down in how you travel.
Slow travel is a mindset instead of a bunch of rules. The most crucial aspect of slow travel is making a connection. Travel must be about nurturing your connection with different cultures and belief systems, and with nature and other human beings.
You must open yourself up to new experiences wherever these may happen. It must challenge you to push your boundaries and help open your mind to new ways of thinking and ideas.
Slow travelers are categorized into two types.
Those who travel to their next destination slowly.
For instance, they prefer to travel by train instead of by plane or ride the bike instead of a car. This way, they can get closer to local people and feel the atmosphere of the places they travel through.
Those who immerse in their destination
They choose carefully where to stay instead of going from one accommodation to another. Staying in the same neighborhood, hanging out at a beach resort in UAE for a week, for instance, allows them to get a deeper connection with the place and meet some friendly people as well.
4 Reasons to Slow Travel
Recharge and improve your health
Making several trips can make you feel tired. By slowing down a trip, you will have enough time to rest, reconnect with yourself and relax. In turn, this will help you get back to your life energized after your holiday.
Collect unique memories
If you have a relaxed mindset, you become more eager to accept the unexpected whenever it may appear. And this unexpected can be the one thing that will transform an ordinary trip into a lifelong journey.
If, for example, you have trouble booking a trip by air in Europe, you may end up spending part of your journey on the Orient Express — definitely an interesting turn of events, right?
Benefit the local economy
If you choose to stay in just one area, communicating with the locals and just wandering around, you can find local businesses from which you can buy artifacts and keepsakes you may not find in malls or big shops.
You may also realize that their offerings are far cheaper than what shopping malls offer. Moreover, buying from them will have a big impact on the local economy of the place you are visiting.
Preserve the environment
The slower the means of transportation you choose, the greener it will be. Walking, biking, riding a bus, a train, your car, taking the plane – it seems like the speed at which you travel is directly related to the size of your carbon footprint.
If you choose to travel slowly, the less you pollute the environment.
3 Tips to Slow Travel
Connect with locals
Connecting with the locals does not necessarily mean that you go around asking questions to people on the street. Instead, you must engage with the local people including the waitress, the shopkeeper, the hotel clerk, and the bus driver.
Ask them about where they like to eat, where the unique sites are, and what they like to do for fun. By engaging with the locals, you can definitely have a memorable experience and perhaps even get cost-saving tips in the process.
To make your trip fun and memorable, choose to make your accommodations truly local. You have different options to choose from. These include guest houses, farm stay-in, B&BS, hostels, pension houses, and locally-owned hotels. In these settings, you can come in contact with the local neighborhood and the property owner, which you wouldn’t if you stay in foreign-owned hotels in the city center.
Leave your comfort zone
Leaving your comfort zone does not mean taking unnecessary risks. Instead, you must believe that travel is about new places and new experiences.
For instance, you should try eating new dishes, do something you haven’t done before, and learn some words and phrases in a new language.
The pace of slow travel is laid-back and leisurely. But getting up close and personal with a new culture is more challenging than breezing through different tourist destinations. Some of the rewards of slow travel include being able to overcome language barriers, differences in beliefs and customs, and other possible obstacles to building closer connections with locals.
Now that you are aware of the reasons and tips to slow travel, consider adopting them on your next trip!
Contributor: Thomas Grundner
Thomas Grundner is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for JA Resorts & Hotels. He has more than 20 years of expertise in the hospitality and leisure industry – across international markets including Germany, Egypt and Spain. Grundner oversees all sales, marketing and revenue efforts as the company continues to build on its key growth and development strategies and further cultivates its unique blend of “Heartfelt Hospitality” and “Casual Luxury.” Facebook