Inspire

5 Reasons You Should Be Planning Slow Travel Adventures

The pressure to see everything can affect our ability to really engage with a place.

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We all have our own styles of travel; some folk like to plan every detail in advance while others like to rock up at the airport and choose where to go from the departures list. The only consistency in every style of travel is that there is never really enough time, which breeds the unshakeable feeling that we must see and do everything before we board the plane back home.

The pressure to see Instagram-typical tourist spots, as well as discovering new parts of a town or place, can seriously affect your ability to engage with a place and enjoy the adventurous side of travelling.

As someone who slowly made my way through Europe over a six month period, I think there is a lot to be said about travelling without hurry and taking your time to enjoy your well-deserved vacay — whether you have 15 days or 15 months.

Here are the top five benefits I’ve experienced from slow travel.


You can take your own damn time

 

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This one seems like a no-brainer, but in actual fact is something that most people overlook when they plan their holidays in advance. They forget to give themselves the freedom to change their minds and plans if they want.

Travelling slowly means you absolutely, 100 percent go at your own pace, whatever that may be. When you travel slowly you have the luxury of spending longer in a place that you love, because why wouldn’t you? Likewise, you have the freedom to cut your time short in underwhelming places and move on to more exciting things.

Travelling slowly allows you the freedom to make decisions based around your sense of adventure, and to filter out the noise of opinions on Tripadvisor.


You can do just one thing a day

When you travel slowly you have the luxury of sticking to one activity a day – there’s no need to rush around trying to digest the permanent collections of three galleries in eight hours. Instead, you can take your time.

The major benefit of this, is that it frees up more time for eating, drinking, and sleeping on your schedule. Which really, are the three main features of any great holiday.

The second benefit of this is that you’ll have a better time engaging with what you’re doing and absorbing the experience when you aren’t conscious of time passing, or stressing about where you have to be in 45 minutes and how on earth you’re going to get there.


You have time to learn the language

 

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If you only have two days in Croatia, you’re less inclined to whip out Duolingo and attempt to order a coffee in Croatian, especially if you are really good at miming actions for coffee.

Spending more than an obligatory two or three days in a town or country means you’re far more likely to engage with local cultures and language without even trying. Rushing through a place means that you don’t get to have the conversation with the local fruit shop owner, or fellow passenger at the bus stop.

Missing out on conversations that happen naturally in the everyday lessens your chances to practice your language skills and give new phrases a red-hot go.


You can put down Google Maps and explore

If you only have two days in Rome with a long list of must-see attractions, you don’t leave yourself much time to organically explore the city.

Taking yourself off the grid and following your sense of adventure is the best way to discover pockets of the city that you may not have read about in all your planning. Pick a general area and set off on-foot and you’ll be surprised at where you end up. You might find a sweet hole-in-the wall restaurant (these usually have the best food) or stumble into a section of the city devoted to creative life and street art.

Taking the time to travel slowly lets you look up from your phone and follow your feet instead.


You can take suggestions from people you meet along the way

 

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One of the best bits about getting out in the big wide world (or even your own backyard) is all the people that you meet while you’re kicking about.

Between your Airbnb hosts, hostel bunk buddies, the nearest street vendor and all those free walking tours you better be hitting up, it’s likely that you’re going to meet a lot of people who are brimming with suggestions of places you should go – which is pretty much like having a verbal Lonely Planet guide on tap when you think about it.

When you travel slowly, you actually get to run with the advice you want and adjust your plans accordingly; a freedom that you wouldn’t have if you were rushing through a place.

(Lead Image: StockSnap)