Slow travel means different things to different people. However, it is an alternate approach to what most travelers strive to accomplish during a 2- or 3-day excursion. For many, slow travel means immersing oneself in local culture, enjoying authentic experiences, and taking the paths less traveled.
Encapsulating what slow travel is in a brief statement is challenging. But if you could, it would be the sentiment expressed in professional golfer Walter Hagen’s autobiography – “Don’t hurry. Don’t worry. And be sure to smell the roses along the way!”
Slow travel is all about smelling the roses, providing us with advantages not reaped from jet-setting across the globe. Here are seven benefits of slow travel:
You’ll save money – Longer stays in one place typically mean lower transportation costs and lower daily rates on accommodations. And when you venture beyond the touristy areas, daily expenses of food and entertainment can drop significantly.
You’ll see more – It is one thing to see the most popular attractions in any given city. But by taking your time to explore on your own, or by hiring a local tour guide, you will see and learn things few travelers ever experience.
You’ll reduce stress – Planning and fulfilling a jam-packed itinerary is stressful. But without a schedule to meet, you will have time to rest, relax, and recharge to improve your mental balance and lower physical stressors.
You’ll make friends – Traveling offers the opportunity to meet new people. Slow travel affords the ability to build relationships, not only with fellow travelers but with local individuals you may interact with every day.
You’ll be more spontaneous – Much of the lure for slow traveling is not knowing what every day will be like, as many activities are known to locals only and must be discovered during your stay.
You’ll eat new foods – Any vacation can expose you to new foods. But slow traveling will introduce you to eateries where the locals enjoy their favorite cuisine that is likely not found within the tourist areas.
You’ll be eco-friendly – More time in one destination means less traveling by airplane and car. Plus, if you take your slow travel experience to the next level by using public transportation, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint even more.
Traveling isn’t about checking off destinations on a bucket list. Instead, traveling should inspire, educate, and challenge you and, most importantly, be a meaningful experience.