5 Little Things That Happen When You Slow Travel

June 15, 2024

By Kayla Ihrig of Writing From Nowhere

Nothing fuels wanderlust like seeing influencers posting pictures of gorgeous highlight after highlight, making it seem like they’re skipping across the world experiencing everything.

The photos are amazing, but we all know that it’s an illusion: no one is everywhere. Photo sessions are batched, and the jet-setting lifestyle isn’t as experiential as it looks. There’s a better way to see everything: it’s called slow travel, and it’s the answer to all of your travel goals.

Slow travel allows you to travel longer and get to know the culture of your location on a much deeper level. At the heart of slow travel is the urge to see more of less and travel longer.

There are also 5 little perks that will make slow travel the most memorable type of travel you experience.

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5 Little Things That Happen When You Slow Travel

1. You Benefit The Local Community More

Fast travel demands a certain level of convenience that isn’t required of slow travel. For example, you’ll never see a slow traveler stay at a chain hotel just because it’s nearby the airport, or eating McDonald’s because they didn’t have time to research the local specialties.

You have time to do your research, support the local community, and even support special people within the community.

When you stay in one location for weeks or months instead of a few days, you naturally pick up tidbits about the town:

“That ice cream shop only hires people who were incarcerated to help them build up their resume and supports their whole family.”

“Book your tour from the place with the yellow door, it’s owned by the people who give you the tours.”

“The cafe around the corner helps mentor kids in the community who have lost their parents.”

Slow travel gives you the special gift of being able to give back to the community you visit on a deeper level.

With a little more time to research in 2017, I chose to attend Spanish school in Guatemala at a school that gave back to the local community immensely.

The Spanish school is what brought me to San Pedro, and it is one of my favorite travel destinations of all time. I also met my husband at that school! We spent the next several months backpacking through Latin America together. That experience was only possible because of slow travel.

2. You Find Hidden Gems

One of the best meals of my life was on an island in the Mexican Caribbean at an unnamed restaurant. Truth be told, I’m not even sure it was a formal restaurant.

There was no sign, no formal menu and no way I would’ve found its door without friends from my hostel who discovered it before me.

Hidden gems like unforgettable restaurants, undisclosed waterfalls and live music jams are like a currency amongst travelers. Take it slow and cash in!

3. Highlights Are Really Just Highlights

During short trips, you don’t have the luxury of time to stop and see the entire bouquet of attractions that a region has. You’re forced to pick the highlights, and you likely won’t have anything to compare them to.

On the other hand, slow travel grants you the freedom to see every viewpoint and attraction that you wish to see. This will change the way you experience a country drastically.

When I was backpacking in Peru, I received advice from another backpacker to go to Machu Picchu last. Peru is full of ancient sites to explore, and Machu Picchu is naturally the biggest and therefore the most well-known, but it’s just one of many stops you can make.

Stopping at the highlights first will cast the rest of the regional experiences into a different light. Slow travel gives you context and shows you that these are truly the highlights of the region. Heck, in many books, Machu Picchu is listed as the #1 highlight of the entire continent!

When you slow travel, you realize that these are truly just highlights. No 1 highlight represents an entire region, culture or trip.

4. Your Environmental Footprint Is Reduced

Jet-setting from city to city might look gram-worthy, but flying is very damaging to the environment.

Flying between continents is difficult to avoid, but thankfully slow travel allows for travel by bus, train or even manual travel (such as walking or bicycling) in between big moves.

This is a type of travel that you can only do when you have time, but it’s well worth it to take the time.

You’ll see more of the country you’re visiting and have areas that aren’t located around major airports open up to you.

5. Slow Travel Allows For More Adventure

Detailed itineraries aren’t necessary for slow travelers, and that leaves room for even more adventurous travel and spontaneity.

After all, the most memorable travel stories usually aren’t picked out of a brochure.

They happened naturally, spur of the moment and come with a touch of that travel magic that we all live for on the road.

Slow Travel Final Thoughts

Have you been inspired to slow things down on your next trip? There’s a whole host of memories waiting to be made when you slow travel.

If traveling slower and longer calls to you, consider becoming a digital nomad: you can work online and travel full-time, as slowly as you wish.

Happy travels, my friend!

Kayla is a remote work and digital nomad blogger at Writing From Nowhere. She encourages readers to leave convention behind and find their bliss working online and seeing the world. On Writing From Nowhere, readers can find help with leaving their 9-5, thriving at remote work, running an online business and more.

Setting Intentions for a Trip

One recurring theme in travel coaching (and across the Travel Coach Network), is the idea of setting intentions for a trip.

Slow travel is just one way travelers are traveling with more intention.

In this interview with Tiffany Musick, we discuss why it’s so important to travel with intention – and how we can instill that in travelers as travel coaches.

Listen to the Travel Coach Network Podcast

If you love listening to, learning about, and discussing topics like these in the travel industry, then you’ll love this show!

You can find it on any major podcast player.

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