There are endless ways to travel, and everyone has to find a way that works for them. One of the big things you have to decide is if you want to travel slow or travel fast. While I certainly think there are times when it makes sense to travel quickly, I truly believe when you travel slow, you see more. Here are the benefits of slow travel and why I think you should give it a try.
Travel slow to really experience a destination
You work hard all year and save up for that one big trip. Your vacation time is limited, so it’s tempting to cram in as many destinations as possible. A 10 day trip to Europe could have you in four different cities, but will you really SEE those cities? Big cities like Barcelona or Paris have so much to offer, you couldn’t possibly see everything in a month let alone two days.
If you slow things down and spend more time in one place, you can get a much better feel for the destination. You can take time to really see the sights and explore different neighborhoods without feeling rushed.
Spending more time in one place allows you more opportunity to connect with people, whether it’s other travelers or locals, which can really enrich your experience. Slowing down means giving up a few cities on your itinerary, but it means you’ll really get to know the ones you do visit.
Travel slow to save money
Traveling quickly adds a lot to your transportation costs. That 10 day trip through four cities in Europemeans extra cost for trains, buses or planes to get from one city to the next. All that money you spend on getting from one city to the next every few days could be spent on something more memorable that will give more meaning to your trip, or even saved for the next trip!
You can sometimes save money on accommodations by staying in one place longer. Some guesthouses orapartment rentals will give you a discounted rate for staying longer. Even if they don’t advertise it, if you’ll be at the same place for a week or longer, just ask. They might be willing to cut you a deal if you want to book for more than a few days.
Flickr by 401(K) 2012
Travel slow to save time
This is something I think a lot of people don’t consider when they’re traveling. Traveling quickly means moving around a lot, and that’s time lost to transportation. I love watching the world go by on a train, but if my vacation time is limited, I hate spending one out of every three days just getting to the next destination.
Not only do you lose precious hours by being in transit so often, but the act of travel can be exhausting. Even a one hour flight between cities means time to get to the airport, you have to arrive early to check in and get through security, and then the flying time itself. A one hour flight just took you four hours total, and it’s a tiring process.
Now imagine doing that three or four times on a 10 day trip. You’ll need a nap every few days, shaving even more time off of your trip.
Flickr by @GunQa
Travel slow to relax
Your vacation is a break from work and your daily life. It’s a good idea to make sure you have some relaxation so you’ll feel refreshed when you go back home. I’m all for sightseeing and experiencing other cultures, but over the years I’ve learned that it’s important to slow down and relax while traveling.
If you’re hopping from one city to the next every few days, you might not feel like you have the flexibility to take a day to sit at a cafe for hours watching the world go by or lounge at the beach. You’ll feel pressured to keep going so you don’t miss anything before you have to move on.
But if you give yourself more time in one place, you can easily work in a day here and there just to relax. It’s actually a really great part of traveling, being somewhere different without always running around.
Flickr by Christian Berding
I’ve taken many trips where I’ve crammed in way too many cities. I once took a trip in which I went to eight cities on two different continents in 13 days. In city number four I had a meltdown because I was going too fast. I’ve definitely learned the value of slow travel.
Whenever possible, consider slow travel to really get to know the places you’re visiting. Keep things simple. Travel slow to save both time and money, and to get the relaxation you need and deserve. What you give up in quantity you will more than make up for in quality by slowing down. And that’s when you can really enjoy your trip and all that travel has to offer.