People nowadays travel more than ever before. Low cost-transportation, tech advancements, and innovations, access to information, and globalization are some of the factors that have contributed to this phenomenon, giving rise to a travel culture where traveling is seen not as a luxury, but as a common practice that everyone should engage in.
Another characteristic of modern traveling is the fast pace at which it takes place. We live in an accelerating world that’s becoming more hectic by the day, so we inevitably get thrown into a swirl where everything happens on fast-froward, including the way we explore new places. While this allows us to discover more destinations in a shorter period of time, it also takes away some of the beauty and joy of traveling.
So, in this article, we’re making a case for slow travel as a better way to explore and experience the world.
What is slow travel?
Slow travel implies taking a different approach to travel that is both old and new. It’s about going back to the root of why people used to travel and what they expected to gain from their journeys. That’s something we’ve forgotten in time, as traveling became a must and a way to stay on top of trends or do what everyone else is doing.
Slow travel means taking the time to thoroughly experience and appreciate the places you visit, immersing yourself in the local culture, and creating deeper connections, as opposed to jumping from one location to another in an attempt to check as many destinations as possible off our travel bucket list. After all, traveling should help one disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, not enhance it or make you experience the same stress of rushing from place to place, only in a different and prettier setting.
What are the benefits of slow travel?
You may wonder if there are any compelling reasons to change the way you’ve travelled until now and embrace the slow travel approach. You’ll be happy to know that slow tourism has multiple benefits for you and those around you.
Enjoy a complete travel experience
The most obvious advantage of slow travel is that you get to enjoy a more in-depth travel experience as you have more time on your hands to explore the places you go to, gain a better understanding of the local culture, and even discover hidden gems that the average tourist is less likely to unravel.
If you plan to visit 5 different places over the course of a 5-day holiday, you’ll hardly have any time to get to know the places, local traditions, cuisine, or way of life. But if you choose to travel at your own pace and spend more time in each location, you can plan your trip so that you can enjoy immersive itineraries and become more aware of the things you see and experience along the way.
Without the pressure of traveling on a tight schedule, you have the freedom to choose the methods of transportation that work best for you and find the cheapest way to go around. You can book international train journeys with NS International, sit back and relax as you travel from one city to another, taking in the beauty of the scenery and enjoying every second you spend on the road.
You can build your journey like a puzzle, switching between different means of transport and non-touristy accommodations that allow you to save money and see places and experience things that you would otherwise miss. You may not be able to make it from point A to point B as quickly, but in slow travel, you go back to a basic principle that reminds you it’s the journey that counts, not just the destination.
Protect the environment
If you care about the environment, and you should, you have to understand how your travel habits can impact the health of the planet. Flying may be the fastest way to travel but it also has the most damaging effect on the environment, accounting for almost 2.5% of global CO₂ emissions. So, you might want to look for alternative means of transportation that are slower but more eco-friendly. If you want to explore the city of lights and romance, you can easily catch a train to Paris instead of booking a flight.
You can also engage in sustainable tourism by seeking greener local accommodations as an alternative to chain hotels. This gives you the opportunity to build a closer relationship with the locals and connect with nature, thus reducing your carbon footprint when you travel.
The whole point of going on a holiday is to break up the hectic rhythm of everyday life and get away from the stressors that surround you at every step. But you’re not going to achieve that if you have to spend weeks planning your trip and then run around to catch planes, trains, and buses the entire time, without even having the opportunity to breathe and rest in between destinations.
Slow travel is precisely the opposite. It promotes relaxation and lets you explore the world at your own pace, keeping travel stress and anxiety at bay. You have the freedom to decide how you want to spend your days, what places you want to see and what activities you want to engage in. So, you’ll have plenty of time to go on epic adventures and recharge your batteries.
When it comes to slow travel, it’s simply a matter of quality over quantity. Ask yourself what you want from a holiday. Do you want to squeeze in as many destinations as possible in your journeys just to tick some boxes, or do you dream about diving deeper into the culture and lifestyle of each place you visit? If it’s the latter, slow travel is the way to go.