Slow travel is immersive travel that emphasizes learning about a given place over sampling many different places. Conventional or fast travel is generally what most people think of as travel: the tourist covers a lot of territory in order to visit a list of destinations and attractions and generally stays in one place for only a day or two before moving on to the next stop. By contrast, the slow traveler goes to a single destination and stays there for at least several weeks. They gradually immerse themselves in local life during their stay. Slow travel rejects the idea of travel as rushing from place to place in order to tick attractions off a check list. Everyone should try slow travel at least once as it has some great advantages.
Why should you try slow travel?
1) Slow travel is less stressful
Fast travel is tiring, for the tourist spends a lot of time and energy rushing from place to place. They usually have to adhere to a schedule in order to fit all of their objectives into the trip. Many people return from such trips tired.
Slow travel, by definition, eschews rushing. If you want to spend a month in Paris, for example, you may still have a list of attractions you want to see, but you know you do not have to see both the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower in one day. As a slow traveler, you can also control your schedule and thus pick times when the Louvre might be less busy.
2) It’s usually less expensive
Traveling from place to place eats into one’s vacation budget. A lot of money goes to paying for transport and accommodation. Visiting a single town or city involves exploring it on foot. As a slow traveler, you have more and cheaper choices for accommodation. You want to live as the locals do and rent fully equipped private accommodation.
Those apartments have kitchens, and preparing one’s own meals is significantly less expensive than going to a restaurant. Slow travelers who do their research can doubtlessly find accommodations as good as those offered by any hotel.
3) It enables a traveler to learn more about a place
Staying in one place for a longer time lets you learn more. Spending a month in a foreign language speaking country, for example, allows you to learn more than just how to say “Yes,” “No,” and “Hello” in the local language.
If you like art, you can visit the Louvre several times and explore it at a leisurely pace. You have plenty of time to learn about local history. Museums can be a fun learning experience, but your Airbnb hosts might have some old treasures at home as well. Visit thrift stores and antique fairs. This allows you to have an authentic experience, a chance to practice the art of haggling, an opportunity to buy an original souvenir and perhaps even fresh entrepreneurial ideas.
Slow travel provides opportunities to make friends with the locals and learn how they perceive things. Traveling with a tour group, you can only make friends with fellow tourists and the tour guide, who may or may not be native to the area. Visit the stores the locals frequent and possibly try their hand at cooking.
4) Slow travel allows more thorough exploration
The slow traveler will likely visit all the usual tourist spots during their journey – but is also more likely to find hidden gems the tour companies don’t heavily advertise. It’s the places and events the locals know about and will gladly recommend to their new friend, something like a café that also sells terrific pastries, a thrift store, a small art gallery or a hidden dance club.
As you learn more about your chosen stomping grounds, you will unearth treasures others would never find. You also learn how to use the local mass transit and stop worrying about getting lost. Similarly, you learn more about the place from the residents’ point of view.
5) Slow travel is sustainable
Slow travel is more environmentally friendly than fast travel, for the slow traveler is more likely to explore a place on foot or a bicycle as opposed to a tour bus. Walking can be especially useful when visiting a place that gets a lot of traffic, for you won’t have to deal with traffic jams. You can saunter along at your own pace, while people in cars and buses fume by.
Slow travel also makes it easier for you to support small local businesses. You can choose your favorite local shops, while the fast traveler can only visit places recommended by the tour guide or hotel concierge, doesn’t have time to have a favorite grocery store or to become the store’s regular.
While fast travel can be a serviceable introduction to a place, slow travel allows a more leisurely, relaxing and in-depth exploration. It is especially satisfying for a traveler who discovered a favorite place during fast travel and wished to spend more time there.