Last updated August 7, 2023
The world is changing and so is the way we live our lives. In recent years the concept of slow travel and conscious living has become popular. As we try to find ways to deal with the stress of our modern, digital lifestyles, we adopt a slow travel mindset.
Slow travel is a movement that savors the real essence of travel as well as saves us from travel burnout. Who wants to take a vacation from their routine life and run around from one attraction to another only to come home and realize they need a vacation from their vacation before going back to that stressful job?
For many, slow travel is one of the best ways to see the world while also fully relaxing, working online or going back to that most authentic travel experience.
What is Slow Travel?
Slow travel is just what the same suggests, traveling slowly. Slow travel is also intentional and conscious travel—it’s about the connection between yourself and place.
It’s about taking the time to discover each new destination in detail, getting to know the in and outs of the people that live there, the culture, the history as well as seeing more than just the main attractions.
Slow travel is a mindset rather than just a means of transportation for getting from one place to another. We don’t mean getting the slow train instead of the fast one.
Rather than rushing from city to city on a one-week itinerary trying to see it all, the slow traveler will stay for much longer in one destination experiencing the local culture and fully getting to know each new place without subjecting themselves to travel burnout.
How has Slow Travel Come Around?
In the last half a century our lives have really changed a lot in terms of our lifestyle and the way we work. We’ve gone from being glued to a desk in a physical office and getting just two weeks vacation per year to the rise of the internet, working online and being able to travel as we work.
At the same time, our lives have become more stressful as we have to deal with all the problems that the digital age brings. The rise of social media has changed the way young people travel, perhaps even rushing around to certain Insta-famous destinations just to get that shot that’ll (hopefully) go viral.
The slow travel movement is an anecdote to that. It’s about finding a balance between work and travel by doing both at the same time.
To some, it’s about going back to the essence of travel and about raw experiences being the main focus of travel. It’s about recognizing that travel isn’t a race and the more countries you visit don’t make you a better person.
It’s also about slowing down and savoring every moment because, let’s face it, those beautiful moments on that stunning beach in Hawaii won’t last forever.
How to Incorporate a Slow Travel Mindset into Your Lifestyle
There are many things that you can do today to incorporate slow travel into your lifestyle or vacation. In order to have the slow travel mindset, you don’t have to become a digital nomad or think you must work online in order to fully embrace it. It’s all about what you decide to do with the time that you have.
Stay in Vacation Rentals Rather Than Hotels
Slow travelers tend to stay in vacation rentals rather than hotels. Long-term rentals are often cheaper than long-term hotel stays and most of the time you also have access to a kitchen which is always useful. Using websites like Airbnb and VRBO can help to put you in touch with local hosts that recommend local and more authentic activities and experiences far from the tourist trail.
Home exchange is another great idea for slow travel and saving costs. If you’re a homeowner you might want to look into putting your house on a home exchange website like Home Exchange and swap homes with someone at your dream destination.
Cook Your Own Meals
For most people, slow travel means having to make a few sacrifices to make the travel experience last longer and for your budget to go further. Most slow travelers don’t go out to restaurants for every meal—that’s a sure way to burn through your budget very quickly.
Getting a vacation rental rather than staying in a hotel gives you access to a kitchen most of the time where you can cook meals as well as eat out. I personally love to do a cooking course in a new country and use the skills and knowledge I acquired to cook my own versions of local meals.
Learn a New Language
Sometimes it’s a nice idea to head to a new destination with a particular goal in mind such as learning a new language. Learning the local language while traveling slowly can open many doors and opportunities that would be closed to you otherwise as well as lead to more authentic experiences.
Even showing a local that you’re interested in their culture and that you’re learning their language can lead to new friendships and profound experiences. Being able to understand a local language can also mean that you can take locals’ advice and learn about unique places to visit that only locals know about.
Take Your Time
This is probably the most important point to incorporate into your travels when thinking about slow travel. Instead of trying to travel half of the country in one short trip, choose one city, one town or a small region and explore it fully.
Make sure your days are leisurely, calm and conscious. One of the key indicators that you might be going too fast is if you suddenly feel like you didn’t even scratch the surface or if you’re left with that feeling that there was plenty more that you would have liked to do at a previous destination.
Change Your Travel Mindset
It’s difficult to incorporate slow travel into your lifestyle if you don’t get into the right travel mindset. A slow travel mindset is all about the experience and boils down to the real, sincere love of travel; that yearning to have the purest most authentic experience rather than just traveling for the sake of adding another pin onto your world map or getting the Insta shot.
By changing your travel mindset and having that “why” clear in your mind, you’ll be able to really slow down and open up to new experiences. The most authentic opportunities often only present themselves when you truly have time for them.
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