What is slow travel?

It’s a new trendy way of traveling, or at least if you can believe the hipsters currently slow traveling. Apart from a trend, what is slow travel? How can you do it? And what are the benefits for you?

So, what is slow travel?

If you research the web you will find that slow travel is a state of mind. And how cliché and corny that sounds, it’s actually true. Slow traveling is about taking your time at a destination. You stay there for a couple of days or even weeks, not just a quick pass by. You stay in a city for a while and enjoy the local products, foods, culture, and ideas.

The benefits of slow travel for you

Slow travel is better for your environment, the local cultures and economy. All good things, but what’s in it for you? How can you benefit from taking things slowly?

1. More relaxing

Going slower and having time everywhere is more relaxing. You don’t get caught up in the rush of a quick city trip where you have to see all the highlights before they close for the night. Take your time to enjoy the food you ordered at the local restaurants, enjoy the views and daily sunsets (or sunrises if you’re an early bird).

2. Get to know the location deeply

Going through a city in a couple of days and only visiting the highlights won’t really give you a deep insight into the city life there. Staying longer and taking backstreets helps you to discover how the locals live and enjoy themselves. What’s better than feeling at home in your own house? Correct! Feeling at home in different cities around the world.

3. Create unique stories

By knowing the local habits and people, you will get more unique stories. Who can tell they drank a coffee with a real Italian barista in Rome? Or who can tell they drank all beers from an Irish brewery. Or even visit cool places on special moments, because you had the patience to stick around and network.

How can you do it?

All these advantages and information is cool and all, but it’s not really worth reading if you don’t know how to do it, right? Let me help you with these quick tips for a good slow travel experience.

1. Stay longer in one place

Don’t rush from place to place. Stay in one city for a couple of days longer than you usually do. Actually, discover the city and its places.

2. Go in-depth

There is no need to stay longer if you’re only doing the highlights. Try to take the back streets. Ask locals for information and tips. Read books and blogs to uncover those special places.

3. Go and explore

Read about places, and discover some of your own. Just go into the city and start walking aimlessly. Let your instinct guide you. Feel like you should go to the street on the left? Well, go for it! See what’s there. Are there people on the streets? Or are there some fun little shops?

4. Stay at people’s house: Airbnb / Couchsurfing / …

Going to a chain hotel is fun and all, but it won’t show the actual city. Stay over at people. A couple of easy ways to do this is by booking via Airbnb and Couchsurfing. I bet there are plenty of other ways to find accommodations like this.

5. Highlights are fine.. for others

As I already stated earlier, it’s all about finding new places that are not that popular. Seeing the Eiffel Tower in Paris is cool and all, but have you actually been to a real French café? A real one, not one where all customers speak English with an American accent. It’s okay to see highlights of course, just don’t waste more time on them than necessary.

6. Take other ways of transportation

Don’t take the airplane to get to your destination in a hurry. Find other ways. Do a road trip to your destination. Take a (freight)ship like I did. Book train-tickets, even if it will take you a couple of days to get there.

7. Eat locally

Find a restaurant where the locals eat. Buy food from a food truck in the streets. Check the bistro’s outside the city center. Whatever you do, just try to avoid McDonald’s or Burger King. That being said, I do love a good whopper or McBacon once in a while.

Are you ready to go on a slow traveling trip? Let me know in the comments below where you would go.