In my last post about Slow Travel I spoke briefly upon what Slow Travel actually means and why I think it’s so important. Today I thought I’d introduce 9 simple and effective ways to travel slower.
In true slow travel fashion, start slow. Introduce two or three of the suggestions below as a starting point and I promise you, you’ll be a Slow Travel convert before you know it!
Travel Outside Of Peak Seasons
It seems to be a topic we’re all talking about recently – Overtourism. Choosing to travel outside of peak travel seasons is one of the most important ways we can start travelling slower.
As travel becomes cheaper and more accessible, overtourism has become a huge problem in areas where tourists flock in their droves. Overtourism has resulted in increases in rent prices as local residents are pushed out to make way for tourists, depletion of wildlife due to mass crowds and congestion and fragile environments becoming degraded.
Deciding not to impact overtourism is a really easy decision for those with the flexibility to travel outside of peak seasons. Before booking your trip, check the high season dates and try to avoid where possible. For example, travelling to Thailand between April and October rather than November to March or avoiding Bali over July and August.
As well as travelling outside of peak seasons, you can also choose less crowded destinations in your country of choice. Choosing to visit the towns in the Spanish mountains rather than contributing to the over crowding in Barcelona for example.
Stay In One Location For Longer
This doesn’t mean having to spend months in each destination. Instead, choose to stay in one location rather than fitting in multiple destinations into one trip. Not only does it reduce your impact, it gives you more time to truly explore and connect with your surroundings rather than rushing from city to city!
Travel Like A Local
Just because you’re travelling doesn’t mean you can’t take your at home habits and routines with you. Experiences like mornings at a nearby coffee shop, taking walks around the city and getting to know the quieter areas of your town can and should still be practiced while travelling. Supporting smaller, local businesses is something just as important while travelling than it is at home.
Other ways you can travel like a local is by taking public transport and by showing respect to the places you’re travelling to.
Don't Over Plan
Prioritise what’s important to you rather than ticking locations off a sightseeing list. Making sure you allow time in your itinerary for unplanned experiences not only makes travelling so much more rewarding but also means you’re less likely to contribute to mass tourist crowds.
Wave Goodbye To FOMO
Letting go of any fear of missing out not only makes life easier in general, but also makes your travel experience so much more enjoyable.
Leaving behind the anxiety that comes with feeling pressured to see and do everything is liberating. One-upmanship is rife amongst dedicated travellers -hundreds of must see locations and bucket list experiences means the travel sphere can get weirdly competitive.
Forget every one else’s experiences. This is your journey and you’re under no obligation to travel the way your friends do. You do you!
Connect With Your Surroundings
We all know what it’s like to experience the travel bug – you want to go everywhere, see everything and try every experience.
One simple way you can start travelling slower is by learning to slow down, ground yourself and connect with your surroundings. Being present and making genuine connections with the people around you enriches your travel experience instead of leaving you burnt out.
One thing I find really useful when travelling to to keep a gratitude journal during my trip. I kept mine in the notes section of my phone and at the end of every day would write a list of ten things I was grateful for that day.
Making time to appreciate your surroundings and experience can help you to truly appreciate the simple things. Yes some aspects of travelling can be awful, but taking time to celebrate the good makes your experience so much more rewarding.
Minimise your impact
Although perhaps not possible in every aspect, trying to minimise our travel impact where we can is another way we can do our little bit for the planet.
Avoiding the use of plastic, taking public overland transport instead of flying, walking the city instead of taking a taxi, donating to offset your carbon footprint are all ways you can help to minimise your travel impact.
Stay Closer To Home
And lastly (and maybe the most impactful) way you can travel slower, is by staying closer to home. Exploring your home country and getting to know you local area is an incredibly easy way to start travelling slower. Here’s to my next year of long weekends in the Cotswolds and road trips to Scotland!