How to Slow Down your Travels

Travelling has become a race. Who can visit the most places, take the best photos and hop around the world in as little time as possible. It’s time that we stepped back a pace and remembered why we loved to travel in the first place. Not for Instagram likes and to incite jealousy in others, but to explore new places and to see as much of the world as possible. Slow down your travels, and learn to see the world with fresh eyes.

Slowing down your travels isn’t supposed to be taken literally. It doesn’t mean driving at 30 miles an hour or hiking to your hotel. You can still enjoy a slow getaway if you hop on a plane and speed towards your chosen destination. It’s more to do with the mentality of how you approach the trip. You have to let go of the notion that you want to see as much as possible in a short period of time and let yourself be content with taking things slow.

To embrace a slower pace of travelling, you have to allow yourself the time to soak up the atmosphere of your location. Don’t rush down the main street with your head in a map, dawdle and allow yourself to get lost. Seek out the places where the locals congregate, throw away your guidebook and choose the restaurants that catch your eye, and (most importantly) don’t worry about what you are going to do next. Enjoy the moment.

 Photo: Benjamin Holtrop

Photo: Benjamin Holtrop

Accept that you can’t see everything in one trip and learn to enjoy the little moments that matter. Spend an afternoon sat outside a café watching the world go by. Linger over meals, savouring the taste and your company. Spend an entire day at the beach, reading a book and occasionally running into the ocean for a swim. Take time to create memories, rather than running around, trying to cram in as much as possible. 

Focus on quality over quantity. Don’t validate the success of your holiday based on how much you have seen, how much you have eaten or how busy your days have been. It’s the connection and the memories that you gain from more meaningful experiences that will stay with you long after you return home. This doesn’t mean that you can’t visit big tourist hot spots or spend your days taking photographs. If that is what you enjoy, then by all means do it - just don’t let your travels be consumed with rushing between places.

Think about how you usually feel when you return home from a busy holiday – likely in need of a few days of relaxation in order to recover. If you take things slow when travelling, you are more likely to step off the plane feeling relaxed, energised and filled with inspiration. 

Work out what it is about travelling that you most love– whether that is meeting new people, eating local cuisine or wandering around city streets. Prioritise these activities, rather than giving them time restraints. If you like to sit by the hotel pool, there is nothing wrong with that. Don’t force yourself to rush around visiting the ‘must-see’ landmarks if they don’t interest you. Remember that you are travelling for yourself, not for other people. Take what you need out of the experience and enjoy yourself.