When I was 19 I was lucky enough to get in a program that allowed me to live and study in the Basque Country for 6 months. In Easter Week, I used my vacation to go and visit other places in Europe and I ended up spending more time on buses and trains than really staying in one place. I was young and I wanted to see it all.
That is definitely something that I knew would not do again. So when I decided to become a full-time traveller and embrace the nomad life, one of the few things I was sure about, was that I wanted to travel slow. And damn I was right! Now I know this is not only how I want to travel but as I want to live.
So here are my 5 reasons why I think you should try it on your next trip.
1. Fewer places but more experiences
The further away from home, the more destinations we want to include in our itinerary. Of course, we are excited, we are finally going where we always dreamed to go and we want to see all, visit each corner and have tons of pictures to post on Instagram. And it might be great. But when you are moving all the time sometimes is easy to forget to stop and just connect with the place without thinking in the next hostel reservation or booking the right train ticket.
When you stay longer in a place there are more chances to make friends, to meet locals, to repeat dinner at that place that you liked and try a different dish on the menu. To learn the name of the lady that sells you iced coffee and to know more about local food, culture, and people. And without the rush and the pressure of the calendar, you can even have the flexibility of changing your plan if the weather is bad or you were just tired and wanted to take a nap, instead of checking places out of the to-do list.
2. It’s cheaper!
The less you move, the less you spend. That’s a fact. When I check my expenses in almost 2 years traveling, I realize that the most expensive days are the transportation days. And it’s not only about the bus, train or plane ticket. It’s the taxi to the station, the food in the airports where is way more expensive, the taxi arriving at the new place. And even pricey visas when you are changing countries.
So if you are on a tight budget, you definitely should try to focus on staying in one area and move less. That way, you will have many more experiences for much less money.
3. Less carbon print
The only way of moving from one place to another without an impact on the scary climate change is if you are cycling or walking. If not, any kind of transportation that you use from your hostel at A point to your hostel at B point is going to have a huge impact on our environment. Especially because when you want to see many places in a short time, you will be more likely to use planes to move around.
When you stay longer in one place you have more time so you can walk and cycle more to visit the surroundings. And having fewer trips on trains, buses or planes, the final environmental impact of your whole trip will be much less.
4. More time to give back to the community
Another good thing about traveling slow is that you can invest some of your time in one place to give back to the community in some way. Spend the day cleaning up the beach, volunteering at an animal shelter or practicing English with some students in the park. Anything you choose it will not only be a great way to repay what the community is giving you but also to learn and have a more local experience and end up your trip with many new friends.
5. Less stress and more time to enjoy
When I see those complicated itineraries not open to any change that never stop more than 2 days at one place I get stressed only looking at them. I love living on the move, but the most stressful days for me, are always the ones I move from one place to another. And while planning your trip sitting on your desk it’s easy to underestimate the things that go wrong, the much slower trips than you expected and your own body resistance to be on the move the whole day.
If your holidays are short it would be much more relaxing focusing on the experiences that you can have in fewer places than dealing every day with bus, train or airport hassle. Trust me, you will need some energy left to deal with the post-trip sadness when you get back to work.
Would you try slow traveling? Tell me more!