What is Slow Travel? – A new way of traveling

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In this article we are going to discover what is slow travel. Traveling is probably one of the most joyful and rewarding experiences one can feel, or at least that’s what I thought. When traveling, you connect with new people, immerse in the local culture, experience new places, see new things, and by the time you come back from your trip, you should feel energized and rejuvenated. However, have you felt the reverse when you came back from your travel? Instead of feeling rested, energized, rejuvenated, refreshed, you feel exhausted and in need of a vacation from the vacation. Often, I came back from a vacation feeling like that, and I realized I’m not cut out for the normal traveling style.

What is slow travel
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Not many people discuss slow travel. What in the world does that even mean? A lot of people think that you need a certain amount of time to do slow travel, say a week in one place, and if you’re like most people who have a limited amount of leave days, this certainly seems unachievable. Allow me to share my view that slow travel is not about how many days you spend in one place. It’s about a mindset, traveling on your own pace, and not rushing to see all the things you think you should see. Instead, you prioritize what you want to experience, what interests you, and you allow yourself to take in the environment, people, and culture consciously.

Each person has their own definition of slow travel and there’s no right or wrong here. I just wanted to clarify that even if you only have 3 days in one place, you can totally travel “slow” without feeling that you see too little things or you haven’t done enough. Traveling with my parents when I was younger made me realize that I don’t like the “usual” type of traveling, where they usually packed as many places and attractions to see in one day. Recently (in 2019 bc: before corona), I take them to travel slowly, and I’m glad to say that they’ve enjoyed it thoroughly, came back from the vacation feeling rested, more curious, and IN LOVE with the places they saw.

  • Albert Cuyptmarkt in Amsterdam
  • Amsterdam City Zoo
  • Windows with flowers in Marseille
  • Fontana di Trevi without Water

Here are my personal slow travel tips to get you started:

Research in advance and plan details the day before

This is not saying that I don’t plan my travel route, in fact, I do. I do research and plan the route, the town or city to visit far in advance. However, I only plan what to see, eat, and experience when I have reached the place or one day before I reached the place. I do this because it allows me to follow my “feeling” or “mood” for the day, it helped me to sort out what I want to experience that day, am I feeling curious and want to see the historical sights today, or do I want to enjoy a slow walk, relax in the park or piazza and discover local food. Doing this also leaves rooms for some spontaneity

Not relying on online reviews

This doesn’t mean that I travel without technology. I rely heavily on google map for navigation, google translate, and perhaps online reviews of Asian restaurants if I crave Asian cuisine during my travel. But for local food, I usually just wander around and see which place has a nice and affordable menu. I avoid restaurants situated right across or in front of tourists attraction. If they have the menu in English only, I bail. I prefer to visit restaurants in the back alleys, see menus in their original language and google translate it with my phone, or chat with the waiter or waitress to ask their recommendation (also with the help of google translate but usually the younger staff can speak English).

Visit local markets and grocery stores

I love seeing their local produce and observe what people buy. This also helps me to experience “living” there, pretending to be one of the locals by buying raw ingredients and cooking my own meal in the air BnB for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Leave rooms for spontaneity

I don’t set a strict target of how many sites I should see per day.
In order to balance doing too much or too little during my travel, I set an overall goal of what do I want to see in 3 days. Say I wanted to see 12 places in 3 days, I can split it as 5, 5 and 2 places in 3 days or if the places happen to be near to each other, I can visit 7 places a day if I feel super energetic and totally take it slow for the other 2 days and visit the rest of the places slowly, allowing myself to get lost in between as well. Again there’s no right or wrong in this, you just have to find your own priority and pace that you’re happy with!

Check out my post about slow living

Have you tried slow traveling? I’d love to hear your experiences or tips in the comment section below!


  1. Hi antoinette,

    i am doing this for years although i have never called it “slow travel”, lol.

    I do have to confess however that i do occasionally try to cram in as much as i can too: i am a bit of a “culture vulture” but most of the time is at my own pace.

    Fab photos!!!

    • Hi Sabina! I’m sure the concept has been around since forever, just that nowadays people are coming back to the “slow” movement (from food, lifestyle, travel, you name it they have it labeled) because we are living in a hyper-speed world. I also just discovered this movement some years back and started implementing it slowly. Some days I would also cram as much as I want to see when I travel and recuperate after (ups!). We all have some guilty pleasures, as long as it works for you then it is good! I’m a firm believer of everything in moderation 😀 Thanks for sharing your thought and experiences!

    • I’m glad you love the idea. I think people are more conscious when traveling nowadays, so it’s great!

  2. I agree that traveling is joyful and rewarding experience for me too, we love to travel as a family. Never done slow travel, or spend 3 days in 1 place except in Walt Disney World where we have spent up to 10 days but that’s because of the different theme parks! Great post

  3. Growing up my mom was always the one to try to pack as many things as possible into one trip, it always made the trip less enjoyable because I was just so exhausted by the end of it and generally I would end up getting sick towards the end too! Now that I am traveling on my own I find it so much more fun and rewarding when I can take my time and do things at my own pace. Great post!

    • I can relate. My parents used to be the same, but now that the role is reversed, I enjoyed traveling with them more (since I’m the one planning) and to be honest, I think they enjoy traveling when it’s slower too! It makes a big difference when you know your own pace and your in tune with your mood, priority and interests.

  4. I love this so much!! A lot of the time, I am NOT a slow traveler. I usually approach it from the standpoint of “I only get a few days here and I want to see everything”!! Thanks for sharing this!

    • That’s so relatable, especially when we have limited leave days. Slow travel is a mindset, as long as you’re enjoying your time and not coming back from the vacation needing another vacation, then you’re fine!

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