Lately I’ve felt that there’s a trend among travelers to brag about how many places they have been to. They make statements like, “30 countries by the time I’m 30!”. In my opinion, quantifying travel experiences like this strips it of its meaning. Going to a lot of countries, especially in a short amount of time, signifies that you are rushing from highlight to highlight without ever really understanding the place that you’re in.
I prefer to live the slow travel lifestyle. Each destination has its own uniqueness that waits to be discovered. By staying in that destination, you get to know it better. You’ll meet locals, discover your new favorite dishes, and pick out the best cafe. Savoring each moment also allows you to avoid the stress that comes with everyday life and slip into the natural pace of a new culture.
In addition, slow travel is easier on the budget! For example, some types of accommodation allow for discounts if you stay for longer than a week. Staying in one place also reduces transportation costs. If you buy food at the local markets, you can really save a ton of money.
However, I’d like to stress that slow travel isn’t about skipping popular attractions. Rather, you have enough time to get to know all the amazing attractions of the surrounding area. It’s ultimately about maximizing your time and choosing quality over quantity. By immersing yourself slowly into the new destination, you have more an authentic travel experience.
Here are a few tips to experience the slow travel lifestyle:
- Choose to go to 1 destination and its nearby attractions.
- Get to know your neighborhood by frequenting the local cafes, restaurants, bars and markets.
- Make friends with your neighbors.
- Rent a bike to get around.
- Try the local dishes.
- Learn the at least basics (and preferably more!) of the local language.
- Get off the beaten path by visiting nearby destinations.
- Plan your time wisely.
Now tell me, what destination do you feel that you got to know the best?