During a recent and rather whirlwind weekend trip to Vienna, I realised once again why I am so fond of travelling slowly. The truth is, I find travelling quickly stressful, and if, as in my case, you mix limited time in a destination with a persistent and uncomfortable cold, you end up with a zombie-like traveller walking the streets of Vienna in pain because she just can’t bear the thought of staying at her accommodation and resting when she’s flying home in two days.
Of course, I know very well that there are as many travelling styles as there are travellers out there, and while many bloggers have made the point (which I agree with), that one should do what makes one happy and people should not criticise other people’s travel style, I do believe that while there is no right or wrong way to travel, there are benefits and disadvantages to every style. In my case, today I would like to share what I think the benefits of Slow Travel are.
-It usually works out cheaper in the end. Some things are pretty obvious. Staying in one place, region or country in one period of time instead of flying to three is obviously less expensive, as is, say, settling in one area of the European continent for longer and exploring it more fully as opposed to rushing all over Europe via train. Accommodation also often works out cheaper if you stay for a while, and vacation rentals often offer cheaper rates if you stay for one week or one month. Staying longer in a place also means that you don’t need to book yourself on group tours because travelling around independently would make you lose precious time, and instead you can use the extra money to dive more fully in the food, life and culture of a place. Staying in one place longer also means that you will soon know where to get the best things for the cheapest price, instead of simply heading to the closest spots for convenience’s sake.
Can you think of any other ways in which travelling slowly can save you money?
-You move from seeing to experiencing. Heading to a very famous touristic site, walking a bit around it, taking a few pictures and then heading on to the next for me sounds like ‘seeing’ a place. Sitting down and watching how locals and travellers interact which such a place, and somehow interacting with it yourself apart from just taking its photo then becomes ‘experiencing’.
-It allows you more time to stray away from your schedule and plans. So you’re somewhere and you find that you have to choose between seeing a couple more sites or spending an hour lazily enjoying a cup of coffee and a slice of cake in a local cafe as you watch life go by on the street. You have to make a choice because you haven’t got time for both, and whatever choice you make you’ll feel like you’re missing out. I had to make such a choice during my weekend in Vienna AND I HATED it! I want to have time for everything (Or at least, almost), but this time I just didn’t.
-It’s ethical. It creates less pollution and less refuse than faster travel, and it gives us the chance to move around with more environmentally-friendly means of transport. Hey, we’re even more likely to walk around because we have time, instead of using motorised transport. Plus, the longer we stay in a place the more likely are we to to treat it as our home and therefore to take care of it, the more time will we have to seek recycling bins for our trash or avoid take-away meals with lots of packaging, for example.
-It’s actually relaxing. I don’t know about you, but I can only manage a small amount of hours per day running around seeing sites. After a while, I get hungry, tired, grumpy, and my shoulders muscles start to burn. When this moment comes, I want to go back to my accommodation and relax, or have a cup of coffee in a cafe and hang around for hours reading about the destination I’m visiting. I actually like to make sure I have time to eat healthy and sleep a long, restful sleep.
-I just find it immensely more fulfilling, because it gives me time to understand a place. In Hungary, while I had plenty of time to explore beautiful Budapest, I also spent a week at Boyfriend’s parents’ house down by lake Balaton doing very very little because it was very cold. However, I got to see how Hungarians live, where they shop and where they eat. In Korea, I spent one month practically only in Seoul, trying to understand the difficulties faced by the younger generation of Koreans who long to have more freedom but are still inextricably tied to tradition. I visited the same places over and over again and just watched locals interact with them, so that by the time I left I had at least some form of understanding of what it means to be a Seoulite.
-As a travel blogger, I believe it gives me much more insightful material to share with you lovely readers, and for me, that’s extremely important.
Can you think of other benefits of travelling slowly?
Editor’s note: This is a sponsored post written by yours truly as lovingly and objectively as a standard post.
-Text by Denise Pulis, photos via Flickr (click on images for attribution) @ www.theartofslowtravel.com