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Check out this simple slow travel guide to help get you started on your slow travel journey…

Are you already thinking about your 2024 holiday plans? Before you book anything, consider whether slow travel could be the way to go. It’s the latest travel trend; one that’s rapidly growing in popularity. And it may just change the way you think about going on holiday for good.

The cost-of-living crisis, climate emergency, and the scourge of “overtourism” – there are many good reasons for hitting the reset button on our travel habits. Slow travel is one such antidote. So, how can you go about taking this more tranquil approach to traveling?

Take a train - slow travel guide tips

How To Embrace Slow Travel: A Slow Travel Guide

Limit Your Locations

We’ve all heard of those “30 countries before 30” or “ultimate travel bucket list” challenges. It’s an attitude that puts pressure on tourists to pack as much into a holiday as possible. And at the same time, those popular destinations are straining to cope under the weight of so many people coming to visit.

Cerro Brujo beach is my favorite of the Galapagos beaches

Instead, adopt a mindset that scales back the number of places you’ll visit.

Don’t scratch at the surface of five, six, or seven destinations. Take the time to get to know one or two places intimately. Get off the beaten track and indulge in the local culture. There are so many incredible offbeat destinations you should consider like these offbeat West Coast National Parks and these offbeat islands.

Great Basin National Park

Drop the Bucket List

It can be tempting to draw up a bucket list covering multiple experiences and destinations, but sometimes with these lists, you end up rushing around and don’t really see the forest for the trees.

Your vacation shouldn’t be exhausting, you need to give yourself time to just be in a place, to soak it all up, rather than just rushing around to tick things off your bucket list.

Tower Bridge in London. Slow Travel Guide

Don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Have a few things you want to do in a place but stay longer and give yourself time to enjoy just being there, to experience the culture, to walk around aimlessly. The days when you don’t have any plans often end up being the most rewarding and memorable.

Explore More on Foot

Roads and railways can be an effective means of getting from A to B – or for exploring a place in detail. Even better, however, is swapping cars and carriages for bikes and hikes.

After all, it’s easier to get much closer to nature and breathtaking scenery by using a less-invasive method of getting around. It’s a form of travel that’s on your own terms at all times too.

Walk from Manly to Shelly Beach

In addition, hiking and biking are effective ways to support local communities who don’t live in tourist areas – swapping hotels for homestays and chain restaurants for native cuisine.

Take To the Sea

Going off-grid can be great for your emotional well-being. Few places are better for doing it than on the water – embracing the gentle swish of the waves. It also lets you explore a coastline like never before. It could be on a stand-up paddleboard, in a kayak, or aboard a boat.

Boat on Cadlao Island in El Nido, Palawan. Slow Travel Guide.

If you do take to the water, always be aware of the risks and sailing conditions – not least when on the open sea. Take care to watch the weather, consider protecting your vessel with a comprehensive boat insurance policy, and go out with guides if you are unsure of the area.

However slow you plan to travel, safety comes first with water sports.

Make New Friendships

Building new bonds with like-minded travelers and local communities is one of the ultimate joys of slow travel. We are, after all, social creatures. Even tiny interactions with others are hugely beneficial to well-being, so why not make the effort to talk to locals?

With locals celebrating Jodhpur Holi

You may not be a master of the language, but just a little effort can go a long way to being appreciated. By creating new relationships, you have the chance to learn about new cultures. Not only that, but it can open up a world of cuisine, traditions, and experiences you’d never known existed.

Support Local Businesses

As you are traveling slower, you will have more time to explore local businesses during your travels. Find your favorite cafe, frequent your local market, and buy local clothes from an independently-owned boutique. This is all part of slow travel and you are also making sustainable and responsible travel choices.

Downtown Telluride in summer

These simple tips in this slow travel guide will get you started on the way to an enriching slow travel vacation. And I think once you experience slow travel, you may never go back to how you traveled before. It is the future of travel.

If you enjoyed this post, check out some of my other travel tips:

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