The need for deceleration and conscious experiences is becoming ever greater, especially in hectic and fast-paced times. „Slow travel“ has established itself here as a new travel trend that deliberately glorifies the slow way of traveling. It is at the same time a travel method that focuses on sustainability, mindfulness as well as gaining cultural experiences. „Slow travel“ is therefore much more profound than the traditional recreational vacation.
Instead of focusing only on the local sights, „Slow Travel“ places great emphasis on the country and its people, as well as relaxation for the soul. The slow way of traveling, by the way, already starts with the arrival. Preference is given here to sustainable means of transport, such as the bicycle, local public transport or carpooling. „Slow travel“ is therefore by no means comparable with mass tourism, but is very individual.
Many people are unable to categorize the new trend term „Slow Travel“. The following article should explain „Slow Travel“ therefore once comprehensively. In addition to a detailed definition of the term, information on the origin of the word, how it works and common practices on the subject of „Slow Travel“ will also be provided.
Definition of „Slow Travel“
The word „slow travel“ originates from English and is composed of the adjective „slow“ and the noun „travel“. Combined, „slow travel“ can therefore be roughly translated as „slow travel“ or „decelerated travel“.
What is meant by this is a conscious way of traveling in which value is placed on a slow, sustainable and impressive journey. Package tours with predetermined arrival conditions and pre-booked hotels and excursions are out of the question. Rather, spontaneity, individuality and chance are the focus. „The way is the goal“ – this is how „Slow Travel“ could be described quite well with a German proverb.
Slow Travel“ is not a protected brand name. The type and form of „Slow Travel“ is therefore up to each individual. The only important thing is that „Slow Travel“ stands out from conventional mass tourism and represents an alternative form of travel.
Origin and origin of the word „Slow Travel“
The term „Slow Travel“ probably originated in the 1990s as a reaction to the then increasing mass tourism. Inspired by the „slow food movement“, people were also increasingly focusing on conscious enjoyment and the collection of impressions when traveling. The idea arose that the hectic pace of our modern lifestyle meant that many impressions were no longer perceived during (all-inclusive) travel. The increasing globalization did the rest. „Slow Travel“ therefore focuses on a concept that places more emphasis on quality, deep experiences and mindfulness during travel. So instead of traveling in a hurry, superficially and pre-planned, „Slow Travel“ sees itself more as a spontaneous, random and social way to travel.
How does „Slow Travel“ work?
„Slow Travel“ is not in itself a rigid method, but represents a flexible concept. However, the following approaches have proven effective:
- Reduce travel speed (for example, by using slower or more social modes of transportation)
- Targeting fewer destinations (but more intensively)
- Spending more time in one place and interacting with local people
- Writing a travel diary
- Taste local specialties
- Choose sustainable accommodations
- Reduce stress
„Slow Travel“ therefore works in a way that is quite different from what one is used to with package tourism, for example, and offers more room for individual development.
Popular practices for „Slow Travel“
How „Slow Travel“ works has already been explained in the previous section. In the following subsections, however, a few concrete practices for the implementation of this type of travel will be mentioned. These are the following, quite popular practices in conjunction with „Slow Travel“:
- Choosing alternative destinations
- Integrate into the culture and community
- Choosing sustainable local accommodations
„Slow Travel“ involves seeking out hidden treasures and remote regions. Charming villages, unspoiled landscapes as well as culturally diverse cities also represent popular destinations. It is important that the potential travel destinations are alternative, authentic and inspiring. At the same time, they should allow interaction with the local population. The goal behind this is to obtain more intense travel experiences away from the mainstream.
Integration into culture and community
Another important aspect of „Slow Travel“ is the integration into the local culture as well as community. Rather than just appearing as the transient visitor as in package tourism, the „Slow Travel“ traveler is immersed in the lifestyles and customs of local communities. Namely, in terms of lifestyle, living, eating and sleeping habits. In this way, the goal is to create a unique experience that is very different from the traveler’s usual daily routine, allowing for deep, spiritual experiences.
Another common practice in „slow travel“ is choosing sustainable accommodations, such as Airbnb’s or eco-friendly hotels. Farms or family-run inns are also popular. Other important aspects of slow travel for travelers are environmental protection, energy efficiency and waste reduction. In many places, travelers are even committed to local environmental protection. „Slow Travel“ thus focuses on treating the environment to which one travels as sustainably as possible.
Criticisms of „Slow Travel“
Although „Slow Travel“ is more sustainable and more meaningful than conventional mass tourism, critics of this alternative concept of travel are frequently voiced. It is criticized that „Slow Travel“ is in itself a luxury that not every traveler could always afford. Furthermore, „Slow Travel“ is not feasible for all types of travel. Especially for business trips or only very short stays or stopovers, „Slow Travel“ is much too costly.
Conclusion on the subject of „Slow Travel“
The bottom line is that „Slow Travel“ has now established itself as an alternative way of traveling. In this concept, emphasis is placed on sustainable and spiritually deeper travel. At the same time, culture and community play an important role in which the potential traveler tries to immerse himself in the best possible way. „Slow Travel“ is suspected of enhancing individual well-being and promoting stress reduction.
Related to the term „Slow Travel“ are, for example, the terms „Mindful Travel“, „Sustainable Travel“ and „Concious Travel“. All three of these terms are basically just alternative names for „slow travel“. Especially in the German language, the saying „the way is the goal“ is often used.