There are any number of approaches to traveling. And truly, to each their own. We personally love slow traveling because it fits our lifestyle, and we’d be hard pressed to enjoy traveling any other way. Not sure what it is or if it’s right for you? Already love it and want to celebrate? Here’s just a little about why slow travel has much to offer.
01. Wander + Be Surprised
Some of my favorite moments of traveling have been found in the unexpected, the spontaneous. Aimlessly walking through the streets of Chaing Mai only to find our favorite restaurant of the trip. Making a wrong turn in Paris to find one beautiful building and alley after the next, and then realizing, there is no wrong turn in Paris. Stumbling upon a full town celebration and brass band concert on Lake Hallstatt in Austria. Some of the greatest travel memories – and most impressionable life experiences – cannot be planned. They won’t be on your itinerary. They simply surprise you, when you have time to be surprised.
02. Enjoy the Moment
When traveling slowly, you can do everything slow. Walk slow. Eat slow. Explore slow. Live slow. The pace is your own – and it’s intentional so you have time to relax and take everything in around you. It isn’t about filling each day, it’s about enjoying each day. Sometimes that includes adventure and sightseeing. Sometimes not. Sometimes it’s just about putting your feet up and relaxing or spending a day watching people pass by.
03. Become Comfortable in a Foreign Place
Imagine diving in and really experiencing a place. Staying long enough that you get to know the locals – a shop owner, your hosts. You start to find a routine. Where you get your breakfast. Where you take a morning jog. You begin to know things about the area you’re traveling and you sample life in a place unknown. Maybe it’s a few days. Maybe it’s a few months. But you’re settling in and testing out living like a local, even if it’s your version of a local.
04. Dive in Beyond the Highlights
It felt like a travel revolution the first time I tried this. Pick one tourist attraction and ditch the rest. Yes, throw them away. Forget about hopping from one accommodation to the next every other night or so. Consider letting go of your expectations and just dive in to the part of the country you’re visiting. Find a base to stay at and get to know that place and it’s surrounding areas. Sure, the highlights are highlights for a reason – they can be beautiful, charming, fun – but authentic experiences often begin off the beaten path. Let yourself go there. Even just once.
and last, but most certainly not least…
05. Experience a Child’s Pace
Children already live life slowly. Sometimes it may not feel like it, but recall the last time you tried to get from one place to another on a timeline or even at your own focused pace. My daughter lives at a pace that forces me to stroll, stop and notice details. A typical walk from the house to the car can be 5-10 minutes long – with every bit of wonder, observation and creativity along the way. Traveling with children is no different. And so it’s only fitting that anything that makes adults slow down, also allows us to connect more deeply with the places we travel, as well as with those (little) loved ones at our sides.
Other joys? Let us know why you love slow travel.