If you have ever come back from a vacation feeling like you need another vacation from your vacation or just find yourself burned out and overwhelmed by the typical travel itinerary, you should consider slow travel. The Slow Travel Movement is about taking the time to really get to know a place. It is about slowly seeing the world at a pace that can make a life-time of vacations actually fun. Too many people rush to see what they can of the world in the short 2 weeks of vacation time they take per year. Slow travel is about realizing that the world is filled with so much, you should really take months, years, or a lifetime to see it. In order to really experience the magic of slow travel, focus on these three key points.
Not only will slow travel help you make deeper connections on your travels, it will also help you save money. By staying in one place for longer, you can save money by renting a room or apartment or even negotiation a long-term stay discount from a hostel or hotel. You can find flats to rent here. Staying put will also help you save money as you will naturally find yourself spending more time visiting local markets and cooking vs. eating out every meal like a 2-week vacationer might.
One of the key pieces of the slow travel movement is actually the opposite of traveling; it is about staying in one place. Rather than hopping on a boat, train, bus, or plane every few days, slow travel focuses on staying in one place for an extended period of time. This way you are able to really incorporate yourself into the local culture, getting a feel for everyday life, and making real connections with local people. It is about not just seeing a place but experiencing it, as a local might.
Lastly, staying for a bit longer in each place gives you the opportunity to make new friends. Whether you find yourself drawn to other expats or spending your time chatting with the local shop owners, slow travel helps you make connections with people that would be impossible if you were only traveling through for a day or two.
If you are going to be staying for a month or more in any one spot, why not sign up for a class. Not only will you meet new people, you will add value to your travels as not just a “tour of the sites” but as an education experience.
Sign up for local language classes, book yourself some cooking classes, or just spend some time practicing a hobby you never had time for back home. Whether it is a rock climbing club in Colombia or a scuba diving course in Thailand, slowing down lets you enjoy learning new skills which make for much better souvenirs in the end.
You probably weren’t thinking of working on your vacation but when it comes to slow travel, working can actually be a benefit. Because of the very nature of slow travel, earning a living while you travel may be necessary. Having a work schedule and a small income coming in will help you better settle into the slow travel lifestyle. You can develop a routine and schedule that lets you feel like you are really part of a community, not just a traveler visiting for awhile.
Don’t think you have to work though. The same routine and feeling of value that can be found in working remotely during slow travel can also be found by volunteering in the local community. In the same way a job back home gives you an immediate group of colleagues and friends, volunteering will let you become part of the community more quickly.