Do you find yourself reading another incredible travel story?
Dreaming of visiting new travel destinations?
But wondering how can you see the world even with your financial commitments?
Then we have a solution for you.
- Rather than ticking off a huge bucket list of travel destinations in a 2-week vacation
- Always feeling you need more vacation time
- And returning home to large credit card bills.
This type of travel is exhausting and expensive.
And it doesn’t have to be this way.
Thankfully, there is an alternative.
Slow Travel is growing in popularity as an authentic way to travel.
When you embrace slow travel, you understand how it changes your mindset. And you learn it’s a rewarding way to see the world. Whether taking three weeks, three months or three years to see the world.
Just imagine yourself living in a small French village.
What is meant by Slow Travel?
To understand Slow Travel is to understand its origins.
Some say it started as an offshoot of the slow food movement in the 80s when a group of beautiful Italians protested in Rome against opening a McDonald’s franchise.
They did not like how fast food destroyed the fabric of family mealtimes.
So, with Slow Travel, it’s about you choosing fewer places to explore and enjoy. Instead of taking your two or four weeks’ vacation and speeding through five cities and four countries.
Take it slow.
When you find yourself continuously unpacking and repacking, this is how you can become disillusioned with travel.
The alternative is to immerse yourself and connect with the local community. Spend your time learning more about the culture, the food, the language and everyday living.
It’s when you begin to understand why slow travel is a more relaxing and rewarding experience for you.
Is it True Slow Travel requires a Different Mindset
Slow travel is a decision we came to after a blur of travel in our twenties to tick off European cities and countries.
We rarely spent two nights in the same city. And after two months, we were exhausted and couldn’t say we got to know any place very well.
This time around, we wanted to experience life in the town or city we found ourselves staying in.
We had a change in mindset.
Slow Travel became the inspiration for how we wanted to see the world.
We wanted to live like locals by staying longer. To get to know our community, their language, and their lifestyle.
Now you may be thinking hippies and grey nomads. And I can assure you we aren’t hippies. We are older, in our 50’s but not grey yet.
Slow Travel has shown us an authentic travel alternative to find out what it’s like to experience a new culture of a different place and country.
And what an education it is.
What’s the Basis of Slow Travel?
The key to Slow Travel is to make the most of each place you visit by staying longer.
Don’t stay one night; stay three nights. Instead of a week, stay for three weeks. Thinking of a one-month stay for three months. I think you get the picture.
And it doesn’t mean staying away from the large cities.
You can still be a Slow Traveller in London, Paris or Rome. Or you can slow travel in countries with a lower cost of living.
Heck, you can even Slow Travel in your own country.
The choice is yours.
With planning, you can find accommodation to suit your budget, and with careful planning, Slow Travel can even become a lifestyle choice.
When you Slow Travel, allow yourself the time to relax, experience the best of your stay and keep more money in your pocket.
How do I start Slow Traveling?
We have found Slow Travel isn’t just about staying in one place and travelling between places. It’s about:
• How to get between destinations
• How to live in a destination
1. Slow Travel Between Destinations
Getting between destinations can be stressful and tiring. But with slow travel, you have more options.
Take the Train
Instead of sitting in airport terminals and spending what feels like most of the day for just a 2-hour flight. Take the train.
Check out Loco2 for train travel information.
It’s a lot less hassle and enjoyable.
You already have your ticket, maybe a seat reservation, so you find the train platform, and you’re off. You are transported directly into the centre of a town or city with a snack or restaurant car.
Hire Yourself a Car
If you are driving, take the secondary roads instead of competing with speed and trucks on the motorways. As well as avoiding hefty tolls on French and Italian motorways.
We can’t count the number of times we have come across a beautiful village by taking secondary roads. Just like in Italy.
Take the Ferry
You can find ferry services to islands and countries along the Mediterranean coast.
If you are considering seeing more of Croatia, an alternative is to travel from Italy down the coast of Croatia.
Or, if in Spain, take the ferry to Morocco. From Sicily to Tunisia.
There are always other ways to see places other than conventional flights.
Take a Bus
One of the best trips we took in Asia was getting from Singapore to Malacca, Malaysia.
It wasn’t scary; the bus was clean, we had plenty of snacks, and the trip gave us another view of both countries.
In Europe, you have FlixBus or Oui Bus. Both are reasonably priced and reliable services.
2. Living in a Destination
Again, you have options within an affordable budget.
Slowing down and staying for a week or more will help you connect to the place you are exploring.
Embrace House Sitting
Our favourite is house sitting.
Staying in a small medieval French village in 2016, we were sold on living like a local. The interaction with the lovely homeowners had us return every year to care for their beautiful dogs.
The benefit of house sitting is the introduction to village life through the homeowner’s knowledge of the area, from interaction with their contacts and your discovery around the city.
Since 2016 we have been house-sitting full-time and can help you get started.
For a 25% discount on a TrustedHousesitters membership, click below.
Airbnb for Long-Term Rentals
When we aren’t house-sitting, we use Airbnb for mini-breaks by booking apartments or houses for a month or more. The cost of accommodation drastically reduces.
If you book from a Super Host, the Host will, on most occasions, provide you with great information and make themselves available for questions.
Try a House Swap
Exchange your house with another homeowner is another consideration for Slow Travel. With many membership sites like Love House Swap, homeowners in villages, cities, and countries can list their homes to swap for another.
It is a great solution and a win for homeowners to swap their homes in different countries to reduce accommodation costs.
While it’s not for everyone, volunteering is a gift of your time, skills, and yourself in helping others with learning and support.
Consequently, the rewards of becoming part of a community can be life-changing, but more importantly, you spend your time connected within one place.
Consider Work Away
This concept is for you if you love to keep busy and help people. You can receive accommodation and three meals a day in exchange for your time.
The assignments are with homeowners requiring help on their properties. Often the homeowners are from the area, but other times you will be working with ex-pats.
Either way, it can be one of the best ways to learn a new language.
Check out Workaway with a variety of options offered by hosts.
The Key to Slow Travel is to Take Your Time
Slow Travel is about taking your time. Your precious time to feel and delight in the experience.
Take a week instead of taking 2-5 hours to get to a destination.
Instead of taking one week, take a month or three or more to stay in a town or village in beautiful places like Hoi-An, Vietnam, Frigiliana, Spain, Italy, or France …
Slowing down to make the most of your time. To connect with the place you find yourself staying and enjoying the slow pace experience.
Can You Benefit from Slow Travel?
The answer is Yes.
Especially when the number one benefit is less stress.
Typically when you have a booked your vacation destination, you are already planning to whizz around all the famous landmarks.
You find yourself checking reviews for the best restaurants and making lists to cram in the must-see sites from morning to evening.
And use your time to find local tips on places to visit, places to eat, and where to find the best bakery or coffee.
What you’ll find is Slow Travel stretches the budget and makes the experience affordable.
Isn’t Slow Travel Just a Cop-out for Budget Travellers
What Slow Travel gives you is permission to take it easy.
Slow Travel doesn’t judge your circumstances, only how you choose to travel.
It seems we have lost this connection in our daily lives. Taking it easy can sometimes even be frowned upon.
It’s one of the reasons we love France, Italy and Spain, where family life is essential to nurture.
Watching people heading home for a midday lunch together. Children take time off school at midday to spend lunch with their parents.
The bureaucracy in France can be slow, but it’s fair for all.
You may have to wait in a Spanish supermarket queue while ladies converse.
Or wait behind a car in a narrow Italian street while someone collects items from the house.
When you are willing to embrace a simple life, changing how you were taught to live, then Slow Travel is easier than you think.
Who Said You Can’t Slow Travel in London
Knowing what we know now, the list is endless.
House sitting is our primary resource for slow travel, and our car for road trips. Allowing us to live in some surprising places we would never even have thought was possible.
Like four weeks in London for the past three years with housesitting.
Sometimes is just knowing How to Get Started in House Sitting.
We have lived in places we didn’t even know anything about.
Explored places on the recommendation of a village friend.
And had invitations to stay again.
It’s not just the 20-somethings who find Asia a cheaper place to live. It’s also us mid-lifers.
Our initial four months through Asia were at a slower pace. We told ourselves that we couldn’t see everything, but we’ll enjoy it by not rushing where we do stay.
Compared to Europe, the prices of accommodations, food and transport in Asia are relatively low. Here you can stay at a lower cost and travel throughout Asia for longer.
Consider Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe offers spectacular scenery and fascinating history.
Accommodation and transport are more affordable than in other Western European destinations, as are food and drink.
So choose countries like Bulgaria, Romania and Poland as great Slow Travel options.
Watch this space for more information as we head there again this year to explore options for living like a local.
You need to pick your country and investigate living in larger cities.
Generally, if you start in Colombia, Ecuador, and even Bolivia and Peru, living costs are comfortable and won’t break the bank.
Travelling and living in Argentina and Brazil can be more expensive, especially in large cities. But like Chile and Uruguay, you can find places away from the main towns to live like a local.
How Can You Afford to Slow Travel?
Maybe you have become disillusioned with travel as you try to make the best of the vacation time you have to see as much as possible.
When it seems like you spend your waking hours and sometimes your sleeping hours wondering how to get more time for “you.”
What with the 9-5 after-hours meetings, looking after older parents, or getting children to events?
Limiting your travel time and not seeing every tourist attraction is the best way to make slow travel affordable.
Find a week or month’s accommodation to stop and enjoy your surroundings.
It’s how you will find the best prices.
Embrace your slow travel experience and the language, and make friends along the way.
Get Inspired to Slow Travel
If you are willing to change your thinking, then anything is possible. If you are still reading, you need more information to help you get started.
We didn’t start this overnight.
We planned to wholly embrace slow travel by selling a home and a business to free ourselves of financial commitment.
It was a new mindset for us. And five years later, we still love the lifestyle.
Where to start? What resources did we need?
There wasn’t a lot of information available. Even today, we are always asked:
- “How did you get started?”
- “How do you do it?”
And luckily, we have learnt more over the last five years to help us turn our Slow Travel into a lifestyle.
So when you find yourself reading another incredible travel story or dreaming of taking it easy in a new destination.
Think Slow Travel so you can enjoy the experience.
And give yourself a break to see more incredible destinations with Slow Travel.