The slow travel movement is gaining steam across the world, with more people subscribing to this way of discovering new areas. But what is slow travel, exactly, and is it a good fit for you? Here’s what you need to know.
What is slow travel?
Slow travel is both a movement and a mindset. Slow travelers don’t want to experience new places like a traditional tourist. Instead, they prefer to slowdown and take in an area like a local.
Instead of trying to jam in as many sights as possible during a trip, slow travelers prefer to take their time and explore a city, town, village, or area, while experiencing local culture. It’s about the journey, not the destination. And, when you finally leave a destination, you’ll come home feeling refreshed — not exhausted from constantly running around.
The exact meaning of slow travel is slightly different for everyone, but it generally follows a few guidelines:
· You’re flexible with your departure date: Of course, sometimes you need to be home by a certain day or time, but having the freedom to go someplace and just exist there for the amount of time that feels right to you is a privilege enjoyed by some slow travelers.
· You don’t have everything planned out: You may have one or two things you definitely want to do during your trip, but being a slow traveler means getting up in the morning and figuring out your day as you go — not having a set list of things that you have to do on any given day.
· You live like a local: You avoid the standard tourist traps and enjoy local food, local bars, and local entertainment. The goal is to truly experience the area like locals do — just without being a native.
Why is slow travel becoming so popular?
For years, people have been able to go to different cultures and enjoy the comforts of home, like going to a McDonald’s or grabbing a Coca-Cola at the local corner market. While that can be comforting in some situations, it doesn’t allow you to truly experience all that a new culture has to offer.
So, more people decided to push back at having the standard amenities and entertainment of home while traveling, and the slow travel movement was born.
One subset of slow travel is digital nomadism — that is, people who telecommute while traveling. Digital nomads typically stay in one place for a month or more, soaking up the culture, before moving on to someplace new.Companies like NomadX are trying to support slow travelers, digital nomads, and location-independent and remote workers by better integrating slow travelers into communities and cultures. NomadX helps these slow travelers find easy and affordable mid-term housing, while connecting them to a host who can introduce them to the local scene. After a while, the place should start to feel like a new version of home vs. a vacation.
Is slow travel right for me?
Technically, there are no requirements to be a slow traveler. It’s just about thinking a certain way. Even if you’re limited on time, you can enjoy a new city or area like a local. Still, there are a few things that can make the slow travel experience easier for you:
· You have flexible vacation time, so you can extend your trip if you decide
· You can work remotely
· You’re comfortable with being outside of your usual routine
· You like to truly immerse yourself in new cultures
Again, slow travel is a mindset and, if you want to be a slow traveler, you absolutely can. There are no set rules of slow travel — the experience can be whatever you want it to be.