travel slow and see more

Travel Slow and See More

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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.

Travel slow and see more - Barcelona, Spain, Guell Park

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. You can take a food tour instead of just seeing the highlights.

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 Europe means 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 or apartment 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.

travel slow and see more

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.

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.

travel slow and see more

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.

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travel slow and see more

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  1. Jennifer

    I long for the day when we can travel at a slower pace. For now, our travel generally involves many short breaks and longer trips that move at a fairly quick pace.

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      You’ll get there. We don’t really have enough time to travel as slowly as we’d like, but we’ve definitely learned that we can’t squeeze in so much to the short time we do have. It might mean cutting out destinations, but it’s well worth it if it means we can really enjoy the places we visit.

  2. Andrea

    I agree, Ali – slow travel is way better than fast. Unfortunately sometimes we only have a limited time in a place

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      It is rough when you don’t get as much time, and I’ve definitely been there. We’re trying to keep that in mind when we travel and slow things down, even if it means not accomplishing as much.

  3. Laurel

    I’m in dire need of a slow vacation since it always takes a few days to unwind and that’s when the real benefits of a slow vacation start kicking in.

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      I used to be ok with fast travel but now I really crave that ability to unwind when I travel, so slow travel it is!

  4. Jade -

    I prefer travelling slow as well – it lets you stop at more than just the “big” attractions and I love being able to spend time in national parks and stuff like that.

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      The big attractions are big for a reason, but there are so many other great things to see. National parks can be really enjoyable but not necessarily on the tourist trail, and slowing down allows you to experience places like that.

  5. Jeremy Branham

    I like traveling slow. I think it’s too hard to always be on the go. This Fall, I traveled all over the country spending a week in each city. I had so much to see and do that while it was nice to be in a place for a few days, I still felt overwhelmed and burned out. One thing is for sure – I could never be a RTW full time traveler hopping from country to country. Having a base and taking the time to explore it is the way I like to travel.

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Thanks Jeremy! I can’t imagine how exhausting your fall travel must have been with all that bouncing around. Traveling too fast can definitely be overwhelming. I agree with you about having a home base, as much as I love to travel, it’s always nice to have the comforts of home.

  6. Stephen S.

    Thanks for the post Ali. I feel you need to spend time in a country or city to really understand its depth. I never zoom through a place unless I’ve been there before, and I just want a quick visit to see some things I missed the first time. I even feel a little guilty about that though.

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Thanks Stephen! I’ve definitely done some fast trips, but I’ve learned over the past couple of years that slowing down has great rewards. And don’t feel guilty, you can’t do/see everything!

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  11. Anne

    I agree about the advantages of slow travel. It can be a hard choice as to which destinations to see and which ones to leave out, as there are so many wonderful places around the world to travel to. I had a friend who went on a Contiki tour and she was exhausted by the end of it as it was so rushed and so much crammed into the tour.

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      I know, it’s so tempting sometimes to squeeze in as many destinations as possible. There are so many options! But I do find it so much more enjoyable now that I travel slower. The experience of being somewhere else is better (for me anyway) than checking off sights. I can’t imagine being on one of those tours!

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