What Is ‘Slow Traveling?’
By Bianca Lambert
Traveling, in some ways, has become more about flexing for our followers and less about learning and growing on your adventure.
Imagine traveling with no itinerary, no Instagram, and not hitting the hot spots recommended to you by one of our lists. Yeah, we know, it sounds a bit scary, but that is what slow traveling is all about — staying in the moment, interacting with the locals, and being mindful of how you impact the city’s environment.
Slow travel became the go-to way of traveling for some in 1986 after McDonald’s tried to open a restaurant near the Spanish Steps in Rome. Locals were concerned that popping an American fast food restaurant into their city would disrupt the local economy not just monetarily, but also take away from the culture of the town.
With the growth of technology, faster flights, and the need to share what we’re doing 24/7, the idea of traveling slow seems dated, but here are a few ways to try slow traveling the next time you’re taking off to a new city.
Travel Like The Locals
One of the best ways to make memories in a new city is to eat and travel like the locals. If the locals take the train, skip the cab fare and grab a map (or an app). If you’re anything like me, you’ll likely get lost, but hey, that’s a part of learning a new place. Next up, get rid of that list of hot spots in your notes app and ask your Airbnb host, concierge, or person you met throughout your day where they enjoy eating. You’ll likely end up having a great meal at a place you may have never found on your internet search.
Let Go Of Your Itinerary (And Put Down Your Phone)
Remember, it’s not just about saying you visited places, but actually taking the time to wander through the Louvre without checking the time or sitting down to enjoy a meal seaside without worrying about dashing off to the next place. Also, put down your phone. Since the average person checks their phone 80 times day, this might be tough, but Instagram will be there. Take photos and upload them after your day is over to enjoy making memories in real time.
Learn Something New
Give Something Back
Most of us travel to a city with the idea that we want to take in everything it has to offer — that’s what traveling is all about, but what about being mindful of what we give back? Supporting the local economy is one of the easiest ways to give back. Staying at Airbnb, sharing a meal at a locally owned restaurant, and taking time to volunteer are all a part of the ideology of traveling slowly.