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The Main Principles of Slow Travel

Slow travel is not only about the destination: it's about the journey. Read about how to have a more relaxed and fulfilling way to experience the world.

A person enjoying a view of the ocean with a sunset.

by Sylvia Marie

1 de jul de 2023

For many people, the word "travel" often brings to mind the exhausting rush of jam-packed itineraries, all in the name of avoiding that dreaded FOMO (the fear of missing out). Ironically, all that planning is exactly how you miss out on the countless hidden gems and authentic experiences along the way. While you diligently follow your group tours and priorly chosen restaurants from TripAdvisor, you miss out on the deliciously authentic ma & pa eatery and the impromptu artisan’s market in the local community centre. 

In comes the beauty of slow travel: it’s about the journey, not just the destination. 

Slow travel encapsulates the essence of the Italian expression "la dolce vita", applied to travel. It implies that travel should be less about the crammed bucket lists and expensive hotels, and more about connecting with the locals, delving into their culture, and finding your own place in the tapestry of it all. 

Read on to learn about the main principles of slow travel.

Embrace an unhurried rhythm

Unless your sole purpose in life is to look good on your social media feed, travel should never be about chasing after a checklist of destinations. Find the beauty in simply wandering, allowing for unplanned experiences along your path. It's in these unscripted moments that the true beauty of travel unfolds. Who knows, you might even get in touch with the more grounded side of yourself.

Get to know the local culture

The true essence of slow travel lies in immersing yourself in the local culture, traditions, and way of life. Interact with the locals, try their typical dishes, and if possible, participate in community activities to gain a richer understanding of your destination and the wonderful people who shape its identity. Let the story of their heritage envelop you, and you'll unveil a world of enchantment that guidebooks alone can never reveal. 

Less is more 

In a world driven by a thirst for quantity, slow travel encourages a different approach. Instead of trying to visit as many places as possible, focus on a few special places and explore them thoroughly, slowly, maybe even venture off the old beaten path a little bit and embrace the unknown. Instead of chasing after the picture-perfect spots that saturate social media, seek out the authentic treasures that exude genuine character. Dedicate more time to truly experience the essence of each place. 

Stay in locally-owned accommodations

Do you really need a lavish jacuzzi in a humble Brazilian jungle hut, or a luxurious home cinema room in your traditional Balinese dwelling? Support the local economy by staying in small, family-owned hotels, guesthouses, or vacation rentals. By selecting these local gems, you embark on a journey of connection and reciprocity, creating a harmonious travel experience that leaves a lasting positive impact on the places you cherish. 

Practice mindful travel

Be present in the moment and appreciate the beauty of your surroundings. Really. Slow travel encourages mindfulness and encourages you to fully engage with the environment that surrounds you, to literally stop and smell the exotic roses. Take the time to absorb it all: every sight, sound, and scent that dances in the air. Whether it's the vibrant colors of a bustling market or the gentle rustling of leaves in a serene garden, allow yourself to be captivated by the present moment. 

Limit digital distractions

Photos and videos are a great way to remember your travels but don’t forget to actively live them in real-time. Slow travel advocates for disconnecting from constant connectivity. Take breaks from technology, spend time in nature, and focus on human connections and experiences. Even if you're a digital nomad, find moments each day to set aside the digital part and reconnect with the nomadic wanderer. 

Embrace spontaneity 

Allow room for flexibility and let your plans evolve organically as you go. Be open to unexpected detours, serendipitous encounters, and spontaneous adventures that may arise during your journey. It's in these moments of spontaneity that the true magic of travel reveals itself. Simply follow your instincts and see where they take you. Chances are, you will be pleasantly surprised. 

Travel off the beaten path

Venture beyond the popular tourist hotspots and uncover what lies below the mapped-out surface. Slow travel invites you to be curious about the lesser-known destinations, where authenticity and untouched beauty await your discovery. Step a little bit away from the tourist box and create your own path. 

Learn the local language 

Make an effort to learn basic phrases and greetings in the local language and watch as smiles illuminate faces, hearts open, and unique opportunities unfold. From simple exchanges with street vendors to heartfelt conversations with newfound friends, your willingness to understand the local language becomes a powerful catalyst for authentic experiences. 

Document your experiences thoughtfully

Keep a travel journal or write reflective notes to document your experiences and emotions. Trust me, you will love reading them a few months or years later and remembering the details that might have slipped your mind. You can also share your travel stories here on The Vagabond Gazette and be a part of this collective travelogue and community of like-minded vagabonds. 


So next time you set off towards the unknown, dare to tread the path less traveled and surrender to the rhythmic cadence of discovery. Embrace the beauty of simplicity, the joy of authentic connections, and the awe-inspiring wonders that await you. Let the journey become more than just a series of destinations and let the world unveil itself, one exquisite moment at a time. 

“The difference between a tourist and a traveler is that a tourist doesn’t know where he’s been, and a traveler doesn’t know where he’s going.” – Unknown

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