by Runa Lindberg
Before I tell you the top 5 reasons why “slow travel” will become your thing in the future, you might want to know what it actually is.
The term "slow travel” is probably new to you, but the origin of this trend dates to the time when you could not book your trips on your smartphone or rush from one instagrammable hotspot to the next.
The idea of slow, conscious traveling comes from the the glorious era of the 1980s and is to be understood as part of the larger Slow Movement, which prioritizes quality and content over speed in all things.
“Slow travel” focuses on the connection of consciously taking the time to connect deeply to your travel destination, its inhabitants and their culture!
Through the much discussed book Slow Travel: The Art of Travel by British author Dan Kieran, this almost forgotten way of traveling is slowly regaining popularity.
What are the 5 top benefits of slow travel?
1. Experience real local life
As a tourist, isolated in a holiday resort, it’s quite difficult to get to know the life and culture of the locals. What moves the people in your destination? How do they spend their days? What are they looking forward to and what do they worry about?
If you spend more than a week in one place and stay with a local family (as is bookable via AirBnB or other services), you will get all the answers to these questions!
The moment you become part of the daily life of the local community, you will get the unique opportunity to see life from a whole new perspective! This can be truly broaden your horizons! The rites and customs of foreign cultures can be surprisingly complex and unusual for us.
Take the opportunity to consciously immerse yourself in local life and to try out unusual things. Maybe you will be invited to a very special celebration like the Holi Festival in India. Or you could learn how to pick coconuts or dive for pearls in Australia. The possibilities are endless for those who take the time.
2, Learn a new, extraordinary skill
Ever wanted to speak a new language or speak one more fluently? How about learn yoga or to dive, paint, juggle, or play a musical instrument?Use your vacation time to become very good at something special.
But "Slow Travel" is not about putting yourself under pressure! Quite the contrary. You learn for yourself, at your own pace, for joy and fun.There are no grades or exams.
Plus, you’ll progress much faster than if you studied on your own. Find a local teacher. You can arrange this online before your trip via the likes of "Activities" section on Trip-Advisor or “Experiences” on Air BnB, but it is also quite easy to do after you arrive.In local cafes, or hostels, you will usually find the corresponding advertisements on the bulletin board.Let yourself be inspired and live out your creativity!
3. Nurture your self reliance
Learn to enjoy your own company. Write or audio record your musings in a diary instead of chatting away with travel companions. Use time to overcome certain blockages or urges and learn to be patient with yourself. To accept your best efforts, your ability to be enough that you can achieve only by traveling slowly. Don't dilute your experience, take the experience as a whole. wait to post to social until the end when you can reflect on the experience as a whole.
4. Eat better
If you take the time to get to know your destination, you will have the chance to find the restaurants with the best food for the best value. A good tip for this: Ask the locals for their favorite restaurants, so you not only eat much cheaper, you also get to know the authentic local cuisine!
5. Live cheaper
If you stay longer in one place, you can negotiate a much cheaper rent for your holiday accommodation! Also with providers like AirBnB, there are very good offers for travelers who want to stay longer than 28 days. Slow travelers are rewarded with a discount of up to 60% on AirBnB!
If you spend a few weeks in the same place, you’ll be treated like a local and integrated into their community. Achieving this will not only give you a special feeling of being home away from home, you will also come to understand how the local system works.
Upon arrival you might be subject to the “tourist tax” or up to 300% of the charge for short rickshaw or taxi rides and twice the price for bottles of water.For a kilo of bananas, I was ripped off at least 3 times!
From my own experience I can tell you, nothing is more beautiful than a hard, gesture-rich negotiation at a bazaar where, at the end, everyone laughs! When the suddenly tame trader invites you to his shop for a cup of tea and to amuse himself by confiding in you about the "foreigners" who always pay way too much, you know that you’re truly part of the pack!
"Slow travel" is a way of traveling that is worth trying! Maybe not every traveller has the necessary patience and calm to integrate into a foreign community. Maybe wanderlust is pressing you to check off the other destinations on your long bucket list. But after even just one quality slow-travel experience, you will be able to strike a better balance for your future holidays. Even better, you’ll have found friends abroad who will welcome you with open arms for a lifetime, something you can be proud of.
Runa Lindberg is the owner-operator of Adventure in Focus Photo Expeditions providing photo-worthy but also authentic adventures off the beaten track.
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