One thing that Costa Rica has taught me is the art of taking things slowly. So now when I plan a trip to a tourist place, I do not keep too many things in my itinerary. Especially if I am going to a beach town. I have learned to enjoy the moment, immerse myself in the surroundings, and appreciate the local culture. I have learned to indulge in slow travel.
What is slow travel?
Slow travel is slowing down. It involves spending more time in one place in order to form a connection with the people, culture, and food of the place. It emphasizes creating moments and life experiences. Slow travel promotes sustainability and environment-friendly practices.
Benefits of Slow Travel
1. Good for the environment
When you travel slowly, you stay at an Airbnb or a local lodge for a longer duration. You thereby reduce the consumption of complimentary toiletries that are provided to you on checking in and hence less wastage.
Moreover, traveling fast means you have to take flights to your destination so that you can cut down commuting time. Everyone knows how airplanes are contributing to greenhouse emissions. On the other hand, traveling slowly frees you from time constraints and allows you to take a bus or train.
2. Allows you to explore the place fully
Let’s take the example of Monteverde. If you are visiting Monteverde only for 2 days, you will probably go ziplining and maybe to the hanging bridges the next day. But if you stay for a longer time in Monteverde, you will realize that there is much more to do than just ziplining and hanging bridges. Like night walks, coffee tours, the bat jungle, cloud forests, butterfly gardens, and much more.
3. Helps you appreciate and immerse yourself in the surroundings
Slow travel allows you the opportunity to marvel at the wonders nature has to offer. You can simply sit and gaze at the beauty for hours without having to worry about leaving. You get a chance to experience sunsets, sunrises, rains, and different cloud formations, and may even spot different species of birds (which Costa Rica is quite known for).
4. Gives you more time for yourself
Slow travel is also a good opportunity to spend time reflecting and contemplating things. Whether it is something you are stressed about, something at work, or an estranged relationship with someone, this is a good time to let go of things and understand that nothing is permanent.
5. Helps you save money
When you hop from one destination to another very quickly, you spend more money on transportation and accommodation. Each time you move to a new town, you pay for tickets and transport to and from the airport or bus/train station. You also end up paying more for the accommodation as the host will charge you more to cover cleaning fees. Airbnb offers cheaper long-term stays (per night charge) than what you pay for 3-4 nights.
6. Helps you connect with the local culture, people, and cuisine
When you stay longer in one place, you interact with locals and hear their stories. You eat local cuisine and may even learn about its origin. You meet like-minded travelers and make connections! This is not possible when you are spending very little time at one destination.
7. You can work while traveling
Slow travel gives you a chance of working remotely. You can make the most of your free time while still earning a regular income. After the pandemic, most companies have gone fully remote and this has given employees a chance to work while traveling. Which of course is not possible if you have too many places to cover in a period.
8. Less planning is required
When you pack a lot of destinations on your short trip, you have to make arrangements for that many hotels, travel tickets, and itineraries. This may make you feel burdened and eventually burnt out. On the other hand, when you travel slowly, you need not plan much in advance and can have the luxury of figuring out things while on the go.
It’s okay to not have a tight itinerary. And it is also okay to not be able to cover all tourist spots in a particular town or country. What is more important is that you feel recharged, relaxed, and rejuvenated after the vacation. So next time you are planning a vacation, try to keep the above points in mind and go on a slow vacation. Cheers!