venice italy slow travel
Slow Travel,  Travel

What Is Slow Travel?

Slow travel is all about putting quality over quantity, taking your time to explore and getting a taste of local everyday life.

I’m having a dirty martini at 1897 bar, a darkened lounge in New Cairo filled with leather couches and rugs, when a friend asks about my trip to Italy. I’ve just returned to Egypt after four days in Venice and my memories of the floating city are fresh enough to light up my face.

“It was fantastic,” I say.

I remember waking up every morning at a woody campsite just outside Venice, then taking a bus into the city and wandering for hours. I meandered down side streets where locals buy their vegetables and chat from balconies. Most of the time I had no idea where I was on the map.

Streets end in sprawling piazzas or watery dead ends. One leads to the edge of the city where the houses are poorer and less ornate, and where I get sprawling views of the Adriatic.

The wandering feels like a waltz with the city as my partner. I whirl in circles taking pleasure in a dance that’s ultimately directionless.

“You went to Venice, right?” my friend asks. “Where else did you go?”

“Just Venice,” I say. “I stayed there the whole time.”

“You didn’t go to Florence or Rome?” she asks. “I love Rome. And the food is the best!”

A slower vacation

I feel a tinge of regret and wonder if I’d done the right thing. My trip into Venice had been exhausting. I missed my train, ran out of change to buy another ticket, and got soaked in the rain. Had I just been too tired for a jaunt across Italy? Was I getting old?

But Venice was so gorgeous! I had wandered its side streets until it was time to catch the last bus back to the campsite. Later I vowed to return and stay longer.

slow travel venice italy

And I had technically been to Florence and Rome. After graduation, in a rush to grow up and be cosmopolitan, I took a few guided tours and checked Italy and Paris off my bucket list. I raced from one attraction to another in a haze I now remember only from photos.

And what had been the point? I’d seen Paris and Rome, but had the experience changed me? Did I get anything out of it besides photos and bragging rights?

The meaning of slow travel

In a culture where a good education means a well-paying job, and where money means comfort and security, travel can become just another commodity that’s held up as a status symbol. The Apple icon on the back of a golden phone, or the snapshot on Instagram from the trendiest summer vacation spot, are meant to tell others we’re living our best lives. Happy, fulfilled and successful.

Slow travel is as much a backlash against this kind of materialism as it is a slower pace and less hectic itinerary.

The term “slow travel” may conjure up images of quiet alleys in rural France with long lunches of organic cheeses. Or months in Bangkok steeped in the local culture. And it’s definitely about those kinds of immersive experiences.

But for me slow travel is an approach you take whether you’re spending a weekend in Paris or a summer in Provence.

Here’s how I see it:

Slow travel means knowing where you’re going.

The more you know about a country’s history, culture and customs, the more meaningful your trip will be. Learn a few phrases of the language to communicate with locals, and read up on the sites and local life you’re likely to encounter. Preparing and doing research also dulls culture shock and lets you integrate easier into your surroundings.

Before you arrive, reading novels by local authors or watching local films will get you excited for the trip and give places more significant when you visit.

venice italy slow travel

Slow travel means quality over quantity.

To really get to know a destination, give yourself time to wander and explore. Leave room for the spontaneous and keep your itinerary flexible. Get to know a city beyond its tourist attractions.

Walking is often the best way to discover a new place. The surprises along the way can turn vacations into adventures and meaningful journeys, while the slower pace allows you to be more mindful of your surroundings and notice things you’d miss from a speeding bus window.

It’s about knowing yourself and following your bliss.

Slow travel isn’t about skipping the major tourist attractions and spending your days wandering down quiet side streets. The iconic landmarks are famous for a reason and are often worth visiting. A bit of research can reveal which spots are overrated, however, and which are hidden gems.

Slow travel means being more selective and maximizing your time. It’s about following your gut and forgetting other people’s must-see lists – and writing your own.

It’s knowing yourself and being honest about what you love. If you’re a big Oscar Wilde fan, and there’s an exhibit of his works in Paris, then head there and skip the Louvre if you’re not excited about it.

Author Joshua Becker once said: “Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it.”

So it’s not about missing out on anything because you’re going at a slower pace. Slow travel is about focusing on the things you’re excited about and skipping anything that feels like an obligation.

venice italy building vines

It means getting a taste of local, everyday life.

The best way to understand a new culture is to immerse yourself in local life. This can mean staying at an Airbnb on a residential street, eating at a restaurant that doesn’t cater to tourists, or taking a walk through a local park.

Asking locals for recommendations is a great way to discover authentic food and hidden gems that are off the beaten tourist path.

Getting involved in the local communities you’re visiting can be a great way to quickly integrate yourself in a foreign city. Sign up for a cooking class, volunteer, take a walking tour or spend an evening at a local concert or theater.

Being responsible, and protecting the environment.

Slow travel is as an offshoot of the slow food movement that began in Italy in 1986 to resist the opening of a McDonald’s near the Spanish Steps in Rome. The slow food movement emphasizes local food and traditional cooking over mass-produced, homogeneous fast food.

And in the same way, slow travel emphasizes a visitor’s connection to local communities over mass tourism and one-size-fits-all itineraries.

This also means supporting local artisans and traditional handcrafts, as well as supporting local businesses whenever possible. Cheap, mass-produced mementos that are made in China have put too many skilled craftsman out of business.

It means staying at eco-friendly hotels, not littering, buying fair trade whenever possible, and not taking part in the exploitation of people, animals or the environment.

venice italy slow travel

Enjoying the ride.

The process of getting from point A to point B can be just as enjoyable as the destination. Slow travel can mean travel by boat, bike or train, or anything that lets you take in your surroundings.

Road trips are perfect examples of slow travel because they’re all about the experiences along the way.

Slow travel isn’t for everyone. But for me it’s the best way to understand a culture, relax, enjoy a place and explore deeper.

venice italy slow travel

Some of the best spots for slow travel are off the tourist itinerary. Read how to travel off the beaten path.

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venice italy piazza san marco slow travel

213 Comments

  • thewonderer86

    We’re on the same page. For me, slow travel is the only way to go, and slow travel means all the things you say. It’s so rewarding and it imprints itself on you because it has to do with feeling. It registers on the inside. I look at people taking photos and wonder if they really see and what they remember. Venice is so beautiful, isn’t it?

    • Dee

      We do have the same idea, and I always love reading your posts from when you’re staying in one spot for awhile – and the insights that gives you into local life. It’s a completely different experience than rushing through on a city tour.

      • thewonderer86

        Thank you so much! For me, travelling is no longer about seeing sights – it’s about sitting and watching, talking to people, doing the small stuff. That’s when I get a feel for a place.

  • nikkidiscovers

    Such a brilliant post I haven’t always been able to go the slow travel route. But I prefer it. Racing from tourist site to tourist site to cram everything in isn’t my idea of fun.

  • Photo Richard Canada

    Hey there Dee. Sounds like you had a wonderful time! Venice is so beautiful. Your post hits home in that you say “quality over quantity”. I agree. Your comment makes me laugh and remember when my brother returned from Europe and felt so happy that he was able to 9 countries in 10 days!!! How absurd. I look forward with anticipation to your next blog post.

    • Dee

      Thank you, Richard! Nine countries in 10 days sounds like a nightmare to me as well.. I can only imagine how many of those nights must have been spent trying to get some sleep crammed on a bus or an airplane.

  • kagould17

    Good post Dee. Some people see the world, without really seeing it. Oh, they’ve been a lot of places, but they have just skimmed the surface. So much better to live like a local, shop where the locals shop, eat where the locals eat, take public transit, ride the trains or get around as a pedestrian. Along the way, you will bump into the neatest little surprises, that make for lasting memories. This is why I do not have a bucket list. If I put a quantity out here, I will lose the quality in a race to see it all before I die.

    • Dee

      Exactly! I don’t have a bucket list either, and the list of countries that I’m most eager to see changes as my tastes change.. It did feel like I skimmed the surface when I visited Florence and Rome with a tour group. I’m sure if I went back and spent more time there, it would feel like I’m discovering a completely new place.

  • chartwellnz

    I spent just a couple of days in Venice, away from the bustle of the neverending trail of tourists and their cameras! You are spot-on about the slow lazy rides through the ‘back-canals’ where the guided gondolas don’t go in those terrible traffic-jam convoys. I too, enjoyed seeing those views.
    Your pictures are great – good insight to the “real” Venice.

  • Two Somewhat Different Epigrams

    I completely agree! I have to fight myself not to overload my schedule when I get a chance to travel. Iโ€™ve learned over the years that quality time in one place does so much more for me than quantity of places traveled. I try to spend at least a week in every location and do things like see a movie, shop at local grocery stores, and eat at neighborhood restaurants. It always makes for a better experience.

    • Dee

      It isn’t always easy to resist the temptation to just jam-pack your itinerary, especially when you’re visiting a place for the first time – or when you realise you may not get to return later.. I try to stay flexible and mix a bit of planning with a bit of wandering and exploring.

    • Dee

      It isn’t always easy to find people who like to travel at the same pace we do.. A lot of my trips are solo, or else with those who don’t mind leaving the planning to me ๐Ÿ™‚

  • awtytravels

    One of the saddest things in travel I see these days are those groups – mostly Asian but they haven’t got the exclusive – that, in a week, cram in the whole of Western Europe. I really see myself in this post because, ever since I learned to appreciate that I might not see the entirety of a place, I’ve started enjoying my travels more. We specifically added 2-3 days here and there to Southern Sri Lanka, without venturing in the ‘cultural triangle’, and it was well worth it. We stayed 4 days in Val D’Orcia, Tuscany, without setting foot in Firenze, and it was great. Well done!

    • Dee

      Slow travel is such a game-changer, and it’s given me an entirely different perspective on why I travel in the first place. It takes a lot of the pressure and anxiety out of travel as well when you set more realistic expectations.. Tuscany and Sri Lanka sound like gorgeous spots to linger.

  • Dee

    Hi Ben, thanks for sharing your thoughts! I do love getting a taste of the country I’m about to visit before the actual trip – for me it adds to the anticipation, and ultimately deepens my experience because I’m not starting with little knowledge when I arrive. It doesn’t really feel like homework: listening to a bit of the country’s music, watching a film or reading a novel are pure pleasures and I don’t think they take anything away from life or spontaneity. I’ve always been a bookworm so I love to read at all stages of the journey.

    When it comes to “culture shock,” it’s a negative phenomenon by definition, and often described as including feelings of anxiety, disorientation and loneliness. While I do want to experience excitement, discovery and wonder when I travel, I don’t want to be “shocked” when things are different than they are at home.

    Travel for me is a lot about finding common ground and connecting with people, and I’ve found the more I’ve travelled the less “culture shock” I’ve experienced anywhere. Differences between cultures are often blown up and dramatized, and travel has taught me to be open-minded and take a lot of such differences in stride.

    I’m so happy I stayed in Venice as well! I hope you and Peta get to revisit there soon.

  • judyannet

    Really lovely & informative post. My kind of travel. Being more conscious of my interaction with the people and the environment in the places I visit is something I am doing more and more now. Thank you for this post!

  • Dax

    Liked your post.

    I totally believe in experiences vs. things and slow travel is more about experiences than bragging rights. Unfortunately, not a lot of people can take off for thirty days at a time. If your work does not hold you down to a location, that would be perfect…

    • Dee

      Thank you! I don’t think it’s necessarily all about time – I’ve never had a month-long vacation anywhere.. I see slow travel as more of an approach and a way of making the most of whatever time you do have.

  • Chelsey

    Love this! Slow travel is definitely my favorite kind of travel. I love waking up, wandering down streets and just seeing where I wake up – allowing myself to be immersed in whatever is happening in the city/town around me. <3

    • Dee

      Thank you, Chelsey! I love to wander as well.. I think once you give slow travel a try, it’s hard to go back to anything else ๐Ÿ™‚

  • seraphsun

    I absolutely agree. I usually just tick off a few places I would love to visit, and then the rest is just blind walking that leads me to beautiful and interesting places I never read about. I have never really tried that whole reading a local novel or watching local films before traveling though sounds like a fun idea.

    • Dee

      Blind walking is one of the few things that really makes you feel like a modern-day explorer.. And I love the idea of reading local novels too! I actually got it from @kelag_wanderlust on Instagram. She’s currently travelling around the world, and often reads novels by local authors as she goes along.

  • skyandflops

    Nice post <3 Sometimes, I just want to visit as many places as possible. But the more I travel, the more I want to explore (just) few places, but deeper exploration. Act as a local is indeed an 'eye-opening' experience.

    • Dee

      Thank you! I’ve definitely slowed down as well the more I’ve travelled. I think it’s about learning from experience and finding the style that works best for you.

    • Dee

      Thank you, Annalise! I love Italy and dream about making it to Sicily someday.. Traffic is crazy too here in Cairo and definitely something you have to get used to ๐Ÿ™‚

  • wheretopeanut

    I love everything about this. Whenever I travel, I try to soak up the things that resonate the most to me rather than whirling through a place. It takes time to soak the essence of a city or country up, to feel like you understand it โ€” if just from your outside point of view. And if organic cheese is involved, all the better!!

    • Dee

      Thank you, Nicole! Cheese is always a plus, and I love your approach to going after what resonates (and which may or may not be on the “must-see” lists).

  • David Dillon

    Thanks Dee! I am currently on day 27 of the Camino del Norte with my 13 year old son, and weโ€™re a little more than half way through. Our hope has been to experience the Spanish culture on the Camino, not simply blow through to get to the end the fastest – no regrets!

    • Dee

      That sounds like such an epic trip, and the coastal views must be incredible! I’m sure your son will never forget this adventure ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Viola Bleu

    As others have said, a brilliant post and for me – poignant.
    Iโ€™ve started travelling and exploring far more since my children have grown up and the simple act of pausing to sit and watch the world go by is truly rewarding.
    Even people watching in a crowded station accepting a delayed train departure, can be surprisingly therapeutic.
    Venice is on my list of somwhere to visit as my next book plot is set there!!
    Thank you for sharing such beautiful photos and Iโ€™m glad you returned to Italy and took your time ?

    • Dee

      Thank you, Viola! My way of travelling has definitely evolved as well, and it’s completely different than how I travelled in my teens.. Venice is such a gorgeous setting for a book! I hope you get to visit soon. In the meantime, have you read Venice by Jan Morris? I picked it up recently and it’s hailed as one of the best travel books ever written – and might be useful for your research.

  • teachesphoto

    Beautifully written. I teach travel photography and I often find the greatest hurdle for my students is to restrict the amount of terrain they cover in a single trip. As you say, you can stop in London, Paris and Rome in three days, but you have yet to see Europe. Great post!

    • Dee

      Thank you for the kind words! I think this generation is a lot more in tune with the idea of experiences being more valuable than things, but there’s still that drive to hurry and get all the photo ops for social media!

  • largerthanlifeblog

    Hey Dee
    Thank you for stopping by my post ๐Ÿ™‚ I could connect with everything you mentioned about traveling like a traveler. Exploring a new place and slowly seeping into it’s food, culture, and language is absolutely fascinating. We learn so much so easily and enjoy every moment of such travel. Loved how you penned down the essence of slow travel through your travel anecdotes and the vibrant photographs. Glad I found your lovely blog ๐Ÿ™‚

    Cheers!
    Sayori

    • Dee

      Thank you, Sayori! What a great compliment.. I definitely have an entirely different perspective now on foreign cultures, and I think slow travel also makes you less ethnocentric and open to the world vs. the typical speedy tours.

  • Ramona

    I dream of a slow adventure in Venice for years now. I’ve only been there once and stayed for half day… I made photos but I somehow acidentally messed up the camera settings and all the photos came out so crappy that I can’t ever look at them. ๐Ÿ˜›

    • Dee

      I hope you make it back someday, Ramona! It’s a completely different city when you take it slow and deserves at least a few days to really get to know it.

  • jessethammond

    Great article, you put into words how I myself enjoy travelling. The ability to find the hidden gems and not be overtly touristy is how I see slow travelling. When you said you camped outside of Venice, I thought that was a fantastic way to stay and both natural as well as unique. Walking is also the best way to see any place. Having the opportunity to go on foot, stopping for coffee or lunch and wandering on your whim is wondrous in my opinion. I’ll be following your blog to hear more about your slow travels.

    • Dee

      Thank you, Jesse! The campsite outside Venice was just me trying to save a bit of money so I could stay in Italy longer, but it actually turned out to be a wonderful experience in itself. I stayed in a little wooden cabin surrounded by trees, and each morning I took a short bus ride into the city where we crossed huge stretches of water.. I love walking as well! It’s a great way to let yourself be spontaneous and flexible.

  • The Snow Melts Somewhere

    Interesting thoughts… You’re right that reading a novel or watching a movie set at your destination before you travel can get you in the right mood and make it more meaningful and memorable when you see the places in real life. I like watching movies afterwards, actually, it’s fun to be able to recognize some of the places, the way they drink their coffee and catch some phrases in their language. As for going to see an artist I’m interested in rather than follow the masses to the “must-see” places, that’s always been a given for me… I’ve always thought that when I travel somewhere, I don’t need to try to see it all. I can always come back, or just leave some things undone.

    • Dee

      Thank you! Sevilla seems like the perfect place for slow travel, too.. It’s not too overwhelming, and not too small.

  • BABYBOOMER johanna van zanten

    Hi Dee,
    thank you for the “like” on my blog. I completely agree with your style of enjoying a place and really getting to know it, and the people especially. Good for you for rowing against the current. Travel is not a competition. Keep it up. Venice is one of my all-time favourite places. It might soon be shutting down, as over-tourism is killing it.

    • Dee

      Hi Johanna, when I was there, the streets would very often be flooded – and I’ve heard that’s something that happened very rarely in the past.. Apparently now they’ve banned the larger cruise boats from going too near the piazza, but I really hope they do more.

  • travellingbells

    I can’t tell you how related i feel! I was actually just in venice for my honeymoon and applied slow travelling to it’s MAX. When people ask me what i loved more about venice, i feel they expect “Piazza San Marco”, or “Bassilica San Marco”, or “Murano”… What I actually loved most was getting lost in the small streets (almost alleys), and all the quirky bookshops, cafรฉs, & cicceterias i found along my way!

    • Dee

      That sounds like such a beautiful honeymoon! And yes, it was surprising how you sometimes only had to go a few minutes off the beaten path to find those hidden treasures.

  • goprogal

    So, So, so love this post. I’ve just come back from Israel and I feel a twinge of regret at the fact I took a day off and stayed in Jerusalem to see it more relaxed. Could have used that time to go to Bethlehem, to Yad Vashem, anything to see more in a sense. But like you said, is it just a tick and a potential insta pic? After travelling for a time it’s definitely better to take the slow road ?

    • Dee

      Thank you! It’s definitely tempting to pack in more destinations, and then afterwards it can be hard to not feel regret and wonder about what might have been.. I think like with many things in life, it comes down to appreciating the experiences you did have, and being grateful instead of wanting more, if that makes sense ๐Ÿ™‚

  • learnchineseinqingdao

    Fascinating article. But we agree with you. Wandering around a place you are visiting is one of the best ways to discover and travel. While walking you are not too fast (like when you are in the car, bike or bus) to look over things. You can simply stop and get all a place has to offer. Also the immersion and the preparation for the trip is important. The more you know and go along with the culture the more you will remember and love the trip. If you are a bit prepared it might help you how some actions or processes work in the country…

    • Dee

      Thank you! I think preparing for a trip and that anticipation you feel before you go is one of the best things about travel.. And I know what you mean about walking! It can get tiring, but it allows you so much freedom to be spontaneous and explore.

  • Hours and Miles

    This is SO important. It’s crazy to think that taking the time to pause and learn something about where you’re staying and how the people there actually live and think is a sort of counter-culture. I totally agree with this!

    • Dee

      Yes! I think anything that goes against the “more more more” approach is counter-culture, because it’s basically putting experiences over the mindless consumption that we’re constantly pushed towards.

  • sentimental sputnik

    I can understand the charm of a slow travel? even though I haven’t done this before, I really want to go somewhere and spend quite a long time there, be like a local, and just simply experience the place… this is a lovely post, thank you for sharing.

  • Terez Szabo

    I can relate to this. I do like to see many things and travel around, but you do need at least a few days in a city to really get a feel for it and get to know it. While some cities are better suited for this, others can be done in just a day or so. Especially big cities have so much to offer that you either have to spend a lot of time or come back multiple times.
    Also I can relate to wanting to see what you want to see. Some tourist attractions are worth it, others are not. Some you might want to spend hours at, others you can just see to say you have seen it. But just wandering around can sometimes mean finding the best places that only few get to see.

    • Dee

      Exactly! With bigger cities, particular neighbourhoods often all have their unique flavors so it’s definitely worth spending awhile or returning to explore further.

    • Dee

      Thank you! Sailing is in so many ways the embodiment of slow travel.. I’m looking forward to following your adventures as well!

    • Dee

      It depends on how much time you have, but I’d say at least 3 or 4 days if you really want to relax and enjoy the place.

  • kbiina

    I love this post. I dreamt of having longer stays in different places, immerse in their culture and learn their ways of living. I wish I could get to do those things soon! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Dee

      Thank you! There’s not always the time and money for slow travel, but I believe it’s an approach you can take with whatever you’ve got ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Shamin

    “To really get to know a destination, you have to give yourself time to wander and explore. Leave room for the spontaneous and keep your itinerary flexible.”

    Couldn’t have said it better. Tourist traps, running from one place to another just so you can tick a box is like binge-watching TV. Bet to just sit quietly and observe everything around you.

    • Dee

      I agree! Those kinds of “vacations” often just leave me overwhelmed and tired, yet at the same time thirsting for more..

  • Dreamsvoyager

    Love reading your article! I can relate to the idea of “slow travel” and I have myself trying to enjoy the real taste of it. Its more important the feel the vibe of the city, to actually enjoy it and maybe even discover new off beat places, and not just counting the no. of countries or simply touching the places. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I have been to Rome and Milan, still have to see Venice! but next time I visit Italy, I am chasing more offbeat destinations this time!

  • Stacie

    Thank you for this….I’m leaving in November for another trip to europe and I usually have anxiety about all of the things I want to do combined with minimal amount of time. I need to slow down and enjoy…thank you!

    • Dee

      I know that feeling! Sometimes you just want to pack everything in – especially when you’re not sure if you’ll ever get to return for a second time.. But Europe is a great place for slow travel. Lots of winding streets and history to explore. I hope you have a great trip!

  • Tayla Harter

    I completely agree! For a lot of my travels Iโ€™ve been on working visas as apposed to tourist visas just so I can stay in a desired place while making income and really living like a local as apposed to a tourist. Itโ€™s been much more rewarding this way, Iโ€™ve made wonderful friends, beautiful memories and a soft spots for the places Iโ€™ve now lived in abroad!

  • seeking wonderful

    I couldn’t agree more. Taking your time to really be there and see the place during different times of the day and week can make a huge difference in how you feel about this trip at the end. Ans Venice are so beautiful they deserve to be seen and get lost there. It is surely a place where returning is a must. Can’t wait to go back this year.

  • KatieGoesTo

    Great post! Loooove slow travel! It’s so magical, and you get to meet so many new people and really get a good insight into the culture!

    • Dee

      Exactly! And sometimes when you go too fast, you can’t even remember where exactly you’ve been when you’re looking back on the trip.

    • Dee

      Thank you! I’m happy you enjoyed it. I don’t think slow travel is always about having lots and lots of time in one destination, though that definitely helps.

    • Dee

      There are no rules as to how many days you have to spend in a particular place to qualify the experience as slow travel.. It’s more about your attitude and approach to travel.

    • Dee

      Thanks for reading! It can get expensive, but in this case I actually saved money because I stayed in Venice the entire time (so no transportation costs) and my campsite was much less than hotels in the city.

  • cjwaterfieldart

    I’ve done epic sightseeing and slow travel. Whenever I mention I’m going to stay just in one place I hear the usual oh but why, you should go see this sight and this sight etc. As you said so well, sights give you photo opportunities and good memories, but it is the beating heart of a place, its day to day life and its people that I really enjoy.

    • Dee

      Exactly! I think everyone has their own style of travel – and that’s how it should be – but it’s often difficult for some people to understand the less common approaches like slow travel or travelling solo.

  • Constant Explorers

    Yes, yes, yes! The best part of travel is the experience of actually being somewhere and seeing how people live differently from you. Rushing through activity after activity really detracts from the experience, in my opinion.

  • Saru Adhikari

    Thanks for such kind of post. Awesome content. Is it your own experience. I am also thinking to start writing a travel blog about places I visited. Do you have any suggestions for me?

    • Dee

      I’m happy you liked it, Saru! My best advice would be to just get started – don’t worry about being perfect, because that’s something we’re always working towards.

  • peselai

    I can relate to what you express so eloquently in your post. I like walking aimlessly, just absorbing the energy and air of my destination.

    Oftentimes when others ask me what did I do in a place, when I answer nothing much, they look at me like I’m an alien.

    • Dee

      It can be hard to explain yourself to others whose way of travel is completely different.. I think we all have our own way of doing things and slow travel may not be right for everybody, though. Aimless wanderings are my favourite part of any trip!

  • sandymancan

    Yes, we American are big on the status I like the concept of slow travel, I myself right now I am engaged in life travel presently I have no permanent residence. I live where I happen to be at the time for as long as I happen to be there. So far 3 months in Thailand, 6 months Malaysia presently 1 month in Vietnam with 2 more to go. Where next and for how long? hasn’t been decided yet life on the move with no regrets.

    • Dee

      That sounds like an amazing adventure! I would love to explore SE Asia someday and really take my time wandering around countries like Vietnam.. Enjoy the experience, and the food.

    • Dee

      Yes, I know that feeling! Sometimes when I only have a few days, I like to mix it up: take a tour in the afternoon, then leave a bit of time in the evening for wandering around. But it’s always a process.

  • The N

    I LOVE SLOW TRAVEL!
    lol. writing it in caps because everybody else i knw tend to lump as much destinations as possible during a single trip!

    • Dee

      Me too! I don’t know that many people in real life who travel this way, but I’m happy that I’ve found a lot of likeminded travellers online.

  • CK Grasset

    Yeah, responsible, sustainable eco tourism! And read read read but then do what you ‘feel’ like doing when you get there. Love it!

  • debraboucher

    I loved this. As someone who grew up collecting places, like those little spoons in road side shops. Learning to slow down, think well, and plan have been both challenging and live giving in terms of travel. Like you, I no longer want to check things off my list but rather allow new places and experiences to change me. Thank you!

    • Dee

      Thank you, Debra! I’m glad it’s resonated.. While much of slow travel should be spontaneous, I’ve also found it very helpful and time-saving to research and plan ahead.

  • CBoardingGroup - Business Travel Blog

    This post is so great! I travel for work most of the time and it’s always about getting their fast, quickly and painlessly. Then getting home at the same pace. I often don’t stop to take it all in when I go. When I then travel for pleasure I have to work really hard not to move at the same pace out of sheer habit. Great reminders in here. Love it!!

    • Dee

      That’s a great point about business travel and getting into that habit of always rushing. Slow travel can sometimes feel like a completely alien experience when our lives these days are always so fast-paced, and there’s sometimes guilt about how we’re being “lazy” or not making the most of our vacation when we slow down. Definitely a lot to think about – maybe there’s another post in there!

    • Dee

      Thank you, I’m happy you enjoyed the article! It definitely takes a lot of planning ahead, and responsibilities to work around.

  • grace

    Oh wow! Love your writings. I feel like this approach to travelling fits me very well – someday I’d love to go somewhere and really experience their culture and history!

    • Dee

      Thank you! It’s an entirely different way of travelling that makes even short trips much more meaningful. I hope you’ll get to have those experiences soon!

  • Lisa | LetsGoSomewhereMcKinney

    Nice read. We are still in the phase of see as much as you can while you can since we donโ€™t have very long vacation periods but I do like all things you have discussed. It is nice to get to know the culture and the people! Hopefully some day we can travel at our own pace!

    • Dee

      Thank you! I sometimes travel on limited time and agree it’s hard to slow down when you just want to see so many things.. For me, a combination of slow and traditional travel works well on those occasions. So, some sightseeing, but also making some free time to wander..

  • david campbell

    Venice Has always been one of my favourite locations in Europe, Definitely planning on going back. so much to see and do!

  • Hintsforhappyliving

    Hey Dee!
    You have explained it so beautifully. I believe slow travel can completely change the vibe of the place. I went to Udaipur, India couple of years ago and was more interested in just checking off the items from my list. I didn’t liked that place, maybe, because I was in such a hurry that I actually didn’t get time to see it for real . But I got chance to visit that place last year and this time I made it a point to slow travel. Walking down the lanes and talking to locals, actually made me sink in the vibe of the place. It was such a wonderful experience that now this place is one of favourite place. This whole experience really made me realise the importance of slow travel and now, I prefer slow travel!

    • Dee

      That’s such an amazing story! And it’s pretty much what happened to me with Venice.. I did the rushed tourist tour when I first went and I think we covered the entire city in a day. Then, years later, I had a business trip in the region and wasn’t even that excited about it because I didn’t think I liked Italy so much. But I decided to extend my stay anyway and spent a few days just wandering the city without an itinerary. Now I’m convinced Venice is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and definitely my favourite. Isn’t it amazing how your experience can completely shape your opinion of the place? India is definitely another destination that’s perfect for slow travel, and your trip to Udaipur sounds incredible.

  • browney237

    I loved your description of Slow Travel. It is as you say a mindset and can apply to a weekend away or lengthy trip.
    Itโ€™s something we discovered at the end of my professional career when we at last had time. Flying only in daylight. Not having to drive but catching public transport because if the bus doesnโ€™t come on time it doesnโ€™t really matter. Just walking the streets. We had 7 weeks in Syracuse, Sicily. I think I walked every street it was wonderful.

    • Dee

      Thank you! Seven weeks in Sicily sounds like a dream, and I’ll be looking forward to reading your blog.. Slow travel is definitely something I wish I’d done sooner, but maybe in some ways you need to go through those rushed, mass-produced tours first to really know its value.

  • Lisa

    I love this idea, as I feel like I jam pack so much into my travels that I miss a lot. I think it’s really important to take as much of a destination in as you can, and love the idea of exploring without a plan. This is a way of travel that I definitely need to implement. Thanks for sharing Lisa @lovefromlisa.com

    • Dee

      Thank you, Lisa! I think it’s best to aim for a combination of the two approaches when you’re just starting out with slow travel – so, making an itinerary of everything you’d love to see, but also leaving some time for wandering or improvisation ๐Ÿ™‚

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