What is Slow Travel and Why Slow Tourism?
With global travel restrictions we have now, we are moving from short busy trips to longer mindful travel which could be an extension of remote work. Travelers are more conscious about the impact of our travel activities on the environment. And we started noticing the true benefits of traveling is more about meaningful experience last life-long than ticking off activities on itinerary.
Do you have an experience you walked the same street you always drive and saw things you never noticed before? When you are driving, you cannot see anything other than traffic lights and signs, and your purpose of the activity is only to get there. On the other hand, you may consider walking as an exercise or a relaxation, and you will get experiences like finding interesting trees, feeling refreshed, and seeing new people. This is very similar to when you go holiday travel.
If you put many items on your itinerary such as popular tourist sites that you have seen in other people’s photos, stunning accommodations, and must try foods, your focus will be to tick off these items. It is like consuming the activities without understanding the details. It is normal to feel that you don’t want to miss anything while you are there. However, think about the details you are missing in each activity. The true benefits of physically being in a different place is probably not only taking beautiful photos and eating different food.
If you haven’t explored different ways to have a vacation, have a look at here.
What is Slow Travel?
Slow Travel is an evolution of the Slow Movement and Slow Food that originated in Italy in 1986. [Wikipedia] People were realizing that increased tourism was changing the way that they eat, and big chain restaurants like McDonald were coming into major cities. Slow Food was established to promote traditional cooking methods and local cuisine. It was to maintain a traditional way of life and nurture the local environment. Over time, that has come to include other areas like travel. Slow travel aims to encourage travelers to embrace the local culture and the local communities.
Why Slow Tourism?
Have you heard that memory is feeling/emotion? You will remember the events for a long time because it meant something to you. Most likely, you found or learned something new that gave you an opportunity to grow. Travel could be a life changing opportunity if you had meaningful experiences.
When you have more time in one place with an intention to learn and connect with locals, your experience will be deeper. The meaningful experiences and memories will be your treasure for a long time.
Traveling is tiering. But, staying in one place for a longer period means you have less packing, and less moving days. Remember, traveling from one place to another wastes precious time and adds cost. It usually takes longer than you think. Packing up and checking out of accommodation, getting onto the transport, checking in and unpacking at accommodation, and finding your way around at new place, all takes time.
Slow tourism is not only for your benefits. It benefits the local community as well and often referred to responsible travel. By supporting the local economy, you are helping to create a sustainable tourism product for the locals which other travelers will be able to enjoy in the future.
Is it possible to slow travel when you have only a week?
Ideally, minimum of 2 weeks is long enough to start seeing things under the surface. But, if you have a day job and can take only a week off, choose just one or two places as a home base and make day trips and activities from there.
Can we slow travel with kids?
If you have kids, do you have to wait your adventure until the kids are old enough? Taking kids away from familiar surroundings will be too difficult? Traveling with kids is not easy, but doable. Slow travel is the best way to travel with young kids. Kids are more adaptable to new environment than adults, but they need a routine to have enough rest. Sleeping on a night flight, eating different times, and limited physical space to move are not for them.
So, ask yourself what the reason behind your desire to travel. Why do you want to be physically there? Since you invest your time and money, you want to have a rich and long-lasting experience, right? The reality is it is not possible to do everything with a lot of details in a short time. And, if you try to do as much as possible in a short period, your trip may end up as a negative experience. You know the feeling of getting home from a trip and needing a holiday to recover? It is fine to leave some for next visit and take a time on experience-based activities.
Here’re some ways to slow travel
- Learn a bit of the local language before you arrive so that you can talk to local people. Ask them where to visit, where to eat, and other recommendations.
- If you are comfortable, plan the schedule without a tour guide.
- Leave some time on your schedule so that you can wonder around.
- Try a couple of things outside your comfort zone
- Take road trips
- Join cycling or hiking tours
- Homestay: stay at local family home
Slow travel is not only for holiday time
You can remind yourself to enjoy deep experience in daily life as well. Try looking things around you with a new eye. There may be still a lot you have been missing out.
Are you ready for planning your next trip? Follow steps in Ultimate Travel Planning Guide.