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A rookie's guide to slow travel

slow travel on a train

The art of having a slow travel mindset

Have you ever felt more exhausted after a trip than before you left? It's time to stop this contradictory behaviour and get back to the roots of travelling. Reject traditional ideas of tourism, "likes" generating Instagram hotspots, and overwhelmingly long must-see lists. Slow travel is all about authentic experiences and being in the present. Join the movement of slow travel and take your travels to the next level.

What is slow travel?
Slow travel is about connecting to your surroundings without thinking about worldly things such as creating cool posts for social media. Don't think about what's to come, just focus on what's around you and immerse yourself in the emotional impact of travelling. Explore local communities, colourful cultures, regional cuisine, and most importantly be open to unfamiliar experiences. All in a sustainable and responsible manner. It might sound a bit hippie, but you know what, we and tons of others have fallen in love with this mindset!

It's time to say goodbye to FOMO and travel fatigue

The desire to travel is everywhere among us. Online and offline, among adventurous backpackers and package holiday lovers, teens and seniors. Yeah you get it, travelling is everywhere and nonetheless, it's accessible. However, this comes with two much dreaded downsides - travel fatigue and some serious FOMO. Long checklists of places to visit, changing locations every 2-3 days and panic when things don't go as scheduled. You know the drill.

If you've ever gotten back home with a tired body and tingly surreal feeling that the trip never happened, it's time to take a step back. Ask yourself, do you travel to experience or do you do it for... the gram?

two girls experts in slow travel

Why consider slow travel?

Slow travel lets you lose yourself in a new place without any pressure. This is one of the fundamentals of travelling and has been since we started to explore this amazing planet. However, somewhere on the road many of us lost this aspect of travelling. This development is what slow travel is trying to counteract. So, what are the benefits of slow travel?

It lets you recharge
Travel fatigue, tourist burnout... call it what you want. Most of us have been there and it’s not pretty. FOMO makes us pack a trip with too many activities and stops. The result? A feeling of needing a vacation after the vacation. With slow travel this won't happen.

It connects you to your surroundings
Slow travel lets you connect more easily with nature, yourself, and others. Take your eyes off the tourist guides and go where your curiosity takes you. The perfect way to boost the connection is to volunteer, either with animals and nature or with people in need. It's rewarding for all involved and for sure gives you a deeper connection to a place. 

It empowers local communities
When going slow, you go local. Let yourself disconnect from global brands and connect to local ones. By doing so you'll not only empower the local economy but also gain a greater understanding of the local culture. A win-win situation.

It boosts your travel budget
When going off the beaten track and exploring the world with a slow travel mindset you can get around quite cheaply. How, you might ask? Simply put, you avoid tourist traps and live like a local. Spend a night at a homestay, rent an apartment in a less-visited city area, go to the grocery store and cook your own dinner with locally produced ingredients.

guy with cap has joined the slow travel movement

Cool destinations for slow travel

With a European mindset, places like Asia, Africa, and South America might be regarded as slow. However, you can still travel around these destinations quickly and tick off plenty of must-sees without immersing and absorbing. In sum, slow travel is a mindset that can be used wherever but the fast lane can still be compelling. The trick to avoiding the FOMO is to have a chill groove from the start and sometimes spend a bit more time on the planning.

Go off the beaten track and it will partly do the trick for you. India, Indonesia, Laos, Brazil, Mexico. You name it. Europe has somewhat of a speedy atmosphere, but the Balkans are still a good shot for slow travellers. Slow local transportation and an easy-going ambiance with an exotic edge. Heading there with an Interrail pass gives it that extra slow component.

How to do it - The recipe for slow travel

There are a few key ingredients to use if you wish to become a slow traveller. The first step is to change your perceptions of travelling and embrace the slow mindset. It can be a challenge but trust us, it's well worth it.

#1 Avoid long lists of must-sees

We've said it before, but we'll say it again. It's impossible to experience EVERYTHING during one trip. Your travels should be all about quality, not quantity. Shorten your bucket list and leave room for surprises. Those are usually the most memorable.

#2 Live like a local

Travel with local transportation, go by train, rent a bike, get lost and leave the city centres. You could say, the slower you go, the shorter the distance becomes to the locals. Slow transportation is probably one of the most challenging aspects of slow travel, but practice makes perfect. 

#3 Challenge your boundaries

Make yourself uncomfortable. We know it sounds odd but this is the only way to become a true slow traveller. Become a yes-sayer, embrace the discomfort and kick your comfort zone's arse.

#4 Make it a way of (everyday) life

Slow travel should be a mindset used whenever and wherever. In your hometown, on the way to school, when commuting to work. Some might say it sounds like mumbo jumbo but it all comes down to changing your perspective on travelling. It's not about how fast you can get to a place, it's about experiences along the way.

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