All images on this page by the talented Yasmin Mund
To us, Slow Travel means basing yourself in one place and becoming part of the local culture. This can include eating where locals eat, talking to the townsfolk; exploring via foot, bicycle or public transport; and staying in homestays.
The Slow Food movement began in Italy in the 1980s as a protest against the opening of a McDonald’s in Rome. In contrast to fast food, Slow Food values regional cuisine, local farming, traditional meal preparation methods and communal dining rather than eating on the go. Slow Food advocates for food that is “Good, Clean and Fair” and encourages us to consider our daily meal choices. This can mean shopping at farmer’s markets and eating at restaurants that offer locally grown, seasonal food on the menu.
Often, it's the people that make a place special. Connecting with people takes time.
Forfeit the fancy, foreign-owned hotels and opt for some good old-fashioned local hospitality with a B&B or homestay. If you own your own home, you may even want to try a home exchange! Check out these websites:
Local Festivals & Sports
Going to local festivals is a great way to celebrate the unique flavours and traditions of a place. The quirkier the festival, the better! Some of our favourites include the UK's Yorkshire Pudding Boat Race (what could be more British than Yorkshire Pudding?) and Mexico's Noche de los Rabanos (Night of the Radishes) when radish growers from Oaxaca gather together to carve radishes into elaborate sculptures that depict historical scenes.
Likewise, sitting amongst a sea of people at a sporting event is another great way to marinate in the local atmosphere (and possibly learn a few expletives in another language!)
Support artisans by purchasing locally made souvenirs. Ask questions about where/how goods are manufactured. Markets are a great place for handicrafts and to immerse in the local culture.
Explore your immediate surroundings in greater depth. It's difficult to connect with a place you're speeding straight through it. Try non-motorised mobility options such as walking, kayaking, or riding a bike. To connect with locals while they go about their everyday transit, try ride-sharing or public transport options such as a bus or train.
In our current era of planes, fast-trains and automobiles, it can sometimes feel like the romanticism of the journey has been forgotten about. Many folks are now looking for the fastest way possible to their destination. Why not slow down and enjoy the journey by taking a ferry, slow train or (if you can allocate more time) walking or cycling.
"Land travel takes its time, but that slowness has its advantages. It gets you outside the major cities and really interacting with the local people." Tyral Dalitz
Advantages of Slow Travel
- Meaningful memories: You’re likely to create more enriching experiences than if you were following the standard ‘tourist trail’.
- Personal growth: By getting out of your comfort zone you’ll become a more confident person and you may learn new skills.
- Increased awareness: By learning about new cultures you’ll be better able to challenge stereotypes.
- Social consciousness: You will be contributing more to the local economy.
- Saving money: Slow travel experiences are often cheap or free.
7 Ways to Slow Down your Vacation
- Learn the language – even a few phrases can go a long way.
- Stay with a local or home exchange
- Seek out a local restaurant with no English menu.
- Cycle around different neighbourhoods or through the countryside.
- Take a course – painting, cooking, salsa dancing, whatever you are interested in.
- Attend a local event, such as a gallery opening or a popular local sport match.