When it comes to slow travel, there are five key differences that help me enjoy my time.
1 You get to see everything
One of the arguements against slow travel is that you don’t get to see as much. With traditional travel, you decide what matters, place them on an itinerary, and you check off the sights as you visit them. The completionist might argue that you get to see a wider range of sights this way.
However, with slow travel, you are free to see everything. Want to check out that cafe on the corner, or try your hand at cooking up a local delicacy? You can spend a day doing both. And if you like it? You can spend the next day as well.
2 You save money
With traditional travel, you book places in advance and travel between them like a connect-the-dots puzzle. All that travel can add up. And if you miss a connection? You have to re-book flights/bus/ferries/donkeys(?), and you’re out of pocket for another day’s accommodation. Plus food. Plus a drink or two to calm your nerves.
Slow travel avoids this by removing hard deadlines. Essentially, you just do what you want in your location, when you want to do it. If it’s raining on the day you want to visit that local temple, just do it tomorrow. Or next week. No need to re-book anything. Plus, because you’re staying for an extended period, you can usually negotiate a better price for your accommodation. And food? When you get to know the locals, the price almost always drops.
3 You stress less
Be honest, how many times have you lay in bed at night and gone over what you need to do the next day? Chances are, if you engage in traditional travel, you’ll be doing this a lot. Why? Because every day requires strategic planning so that you get the most out of your limited time. The result? You might visit more places, but with bloodshot eyes and a groggy head.
So what happens when you slow things down? You’re still free to plan things out, but you’re less likely to pay the price in terms of sleep deprivation. Why? Simply put, because you are in more control over what happens every day. And this sense of control can be a great sleep-enhancer. So you rest better, and can enjoy the sights with a clear head
4 You get to know people
There are still parts of the world where people hang out on each other’s porches, sipping iced tea, playing music and swapping stories. Travellers are free to do this on a regular basis, and strong friendships can form fast. But how often do they last? The trouble with traditional travel is that there’s little room for others. It’s all about getting as much done as possible before your time runs out. Unfortunately, this can mean that you miss out. You meet cool people, add them on Facebook. And maybe – maybe – catch up somewhere later down the road. Traditional travel blocks you from forming fast friendships because they take time – an asset that’s in slim supply.
However, with a slower approach, you have the space you need to get to know people at a more natural pace. The difference with slow travel is that you are less afraid to invest time in the people you meet. You can indulge in late night conversations, leisurely breakfasts and picnics on the beach with local foods. All because you have so much more time to give. This lets you build meaningful relationships that you can come to rely on and enjoy as time goes on.
5 You give yourself more options
One of the great joys of travelling is picking up on opportunities. Cool events, parties, festivals that you never would have known existed. You’re just there at the right place at the right time. But traditional travellers can often find themselves held back. They can’t take advantage of these situations. Why? Ironically, because their schedules bind them in place with pre-paid adventures. So they have to choose. On one hand, they can stick to the itinerary and missing out on good times. On the other, they can indulge on unplanned events, while foregoing their down payments.
Using a slower approach lets you make up plans as you go. While you can still pre-book experiences in advance, you’re more likely to hear about cool things happening nearby in advance. Why? Because you’re closer to the local community – both local and travellers alike. At the same time, you can choose to indulge. Maybe a night in with a bottle of wine and Netflix? Because you can do that worrying about having to be up in time for that bus at 6am. Essentially, you can make up your mind about what you’re doing day by day.
Slow Travel 5, Traditional travel 0
What are your top 5 slow travel tips? Let me know in the comments!