Why you should try slow travel at least once

Why You Should Try Slow Travel At Least Once In Your Life

I used to travel with a set itinerary, full to the brim with places I need to see and things I need to do. It was quite exhausting. I came back more tired than before. I’ve seen a lot but remembered less. Left with a lot of photos but not memorable experiences. Time is a precious commodity for most of us so I do get the rush. The feeling of wanting to cram everything in the limited vacation time. Being back in the corporate world, I can now only mostly travel during weekends. And that’s why I really want to experience slow travel again.

Why try slow travel?

Here are some of the reasons why slow travel can be better.

Quality vs quantity

It’s not how many countries you managed to see in a few days, or how many passport stamps you’ve collected, or how many tourist spots you’ve seen. It’s more about the quality of experience you’ve had in that place. And good things take time.

With slow travel, less is definitely more. So take your time to savor a place and immerse yourself in that country’s culture. Take the time to relax and recharge. Take the time to enjoy.

Remember, traveling is not a competition. Not unless you’re a contestant in a race, don’t make it like one.

Bagan sunrise Myanmar

One of the highlights of my two week Myanmar trip – waking up for the sunrise atop a temple in Bagan overlooking the temple plains.

Related post: Why Filipinos can’t just quit their job to travel the world

Travel deeper

Slow travel allows you to experience a place by gaining a deeper appreciation and understanding of it. It’s about seeing a country or a place in depth. Making memorable experiences and not just visiting. And also please do yourself a service and don’t travel just for the sake of having to post something on social media.

Connecting with people is something that you can’t do when you’re going to and fro with a whirlwind itinerary. You’ll see that no matter how we look different, we are also the same.

Most of my memorable travel experiences involve people. And being an introvert, connecting with people is sometimes challenging for me. There will be times when I don’t like talking to people. And that’s okay. Because I make up for it during the times when I have the energy for it. Connecting can be simple as asking a local for directions or where they like to eat. It can also be by volunteering with a local community. Or even meetups through social networking sites like FB groups or Couchsurfing meetups.

Instead of staying in hostels or hotels, try staying in homestays. Or try renting an apartment, room or house so you’ll know what’s it like to live in that country. You can also try Housesitting or Couchsurfing.

You can even travel your way through food since food is a big part of a nation’s heritage and soul. Eat where the locals eat or explore the local markets.

slow travel sleeper train

Try traveling slow, literally. This is what the sleeper train looked like when I traveled from Butterworth to Bangkok.

Get rid of your #FOMO

“What if I miss out on a popular place?”

Accept the fact that you’re not going to be able to see everything. And once you’ve accepted that fact, your mindset will shift. Don’t be afraid of not seeing all the tourist spots. Even the most traveled person hasn’t seen everything.

Instead of taking the taxi, why not take the local transportation like buses or trains. Or if you want to take it further, walk a lot. Or even wander aimlessly. This allows you to see more while also having the opportunity to connect with locals.

I walk a lot during my travels. This gives me glimpses into their daily lives and gives me the opportunity to discover more.

melaka street art riverside

I got lost in Melaka on the way back to my hostel and stumbled into this by the riverside. Cool find!

Slow travel opens you up for the unknown

“What if I get bored?”

Do away with the guidebooks and the packed itinerary. Instead, be flexible and adaptable. Sometimes going with the flow or sometimes going out with a rough plan. Be not afraid of messing up your plans and changing your mind mid-way. Don’t be afraid to get lost along the way.

Allow yourself to be open for the unknown. For the unexpected. For the good, the bad, and ugly of traveling.  Fall in love. Meet new friends. Feel uncomfortable. Experience being scammed. Get sick. Conquer your fears. Get out of your comfort zone. Most of these things you don’t get to experience when you travel at breakneck speeds.

slow travel singapore crew

Best part of traveling slow? Meeting new people! Went around with my newfound German friends with a Singaporean local.

Slow travel is not the only way to travel. And you don’t need to be a full-time traveler to experience it. Heck, there are no guidelines to slow travel. But it starts with a mindset – of spending more time and creating more fulfilling experiences in one place.

So only if you’re not following Leave No Trace principles or committing crimes against humanity, I say go travel as you want and as you see fit. All I’m asking you, aside from being a responsible traveler, is to give slow travel a chance. Try it even just once in your life.

I know for some it may be hard to achieve, but then again, we make time for things we truly want. If you were to ask me two years ago, I would have never even thought that traveling for two months alone in Southeast Asia was possible for me. You actually don’t need to go far to try it. Try somewhere within your country.

So go ahead, plan and research the bare necessities and travel for at least a week in one place. Better if it’s more. Travel slowly, travel deeper. Who knows, I might even change your mind about slow travel. 😉

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Have you tried slow travel? What do you think? 

Darlene is currently on the road again and traveling full-time after being an expat/overseas Filipino worker in Qatar. She's rediscovering what it means to travel solo and in her 30s while working on her blogs.


  • I’ll surely to do this one of these days. I just want to get lost somewhere & won’t mind any set schedule.?

  • In Montenegro there is a phrase for this—samo polako. It is a life value encouraging people to take life slowly. Enjoy the journey, slowly.

  • I completely agree with you that “traveling is not a competition”. When I’m traveling on my business trips I meet a lot of people and visit many places, but little of that stays in my memory. And when I go at vacation just for me, homestays are the best solution for knowing the surrounding better. Local people are friendlier than staff into hotels, because you get an opportunity to meet their real life and mentality and to get some friends for life.

  • I love to travel and discover places, Travelling makes your mind more open. It’s also a good thing for couples it strengthens relationship, Lovely post by the way ^^


  • Im a big believer and lover of slow travel! We usually try to stay in an area for a month so we can balance the whole exploring while working lifestyle that we have. Slow travel has allowed us to fully get to know and experience a place. Glad you enjoy it as well!

  • I found myself nodding while reading your post. We have embraced slow traveling after my camera was stolen. We rushed to see all of the sites to take pictures of each of them all over again. I realized later, that our second visit made me see the place in a completely different light compared to the first time. Since then, we started to travel in a much slower pace without rushing to see everything . Like you mentioned, it was a shift in mindset that I may miss some sites but it’s okay. It’s another reason to return.

  • morgan

    I agree! definitely need to slow down when traveling! that way you take more in! the sights, the smells, the atmosphere! i definitely agree on what Marge has posted. especially the line ” Because slow traveling is the only way one can truly appreciate or fall in love with a place he visits.” I love your blog.

  • I totally agree with this post. Slow travel is the way to go. I know sometimes we have to make due with the time we have, but I’d take slow travel over rushed and crammed any day. It is truly amazing when you can slow down and really be present and not thinking about what tourist site you have to get to next. Great post!

  • Absolutely True! I am a slow traveler, and although I do not encourage everyone on this, I also am willing to share what’s the advantage of it. Great Post Dada!

  • Christina

    Yes, definitely this is the goal. It would be nice to truly experience a place and get to know the people. This is what I imagine slow travel would be like. Hope we have a chance to do it someday.

  • Very recently I did a slow travel with my mother. We were exploring the cave temples of South India. My mother being very patient was a perfect companion. I could relate your article so much! Yes slow travel will help you get quality time, deeper understanding of the destination and it is relief that you don’t need to rush through the itinerary. We even ended up visiting some place to get a good look at sunrise and sunset. I enjoyed your write up. Thank you.

  • This is so true! I appreciate slow travel because it allows you to really get to know a place, instead of just skimming through. Great points 🙂

  • Thanks for the tip.
    I do think it’s nice to try new things – a.k.a. travel in different ways, fast/slow, alone/with family & friends, luxury/budget – and everytime there would be different encounters, different experience and different feelings – @knycx.journeying

  • Alesha @ NOMADasaurus

    Great article Darlene. Slow travel is the best way (we think also) and like you said it opens you up to the unknown. We spent 7 months in Vietnam, 4 months riding a motorbike and 3 months living in Phong Nha. We had the most beautiful experiences that have made Vietnam our favourite country. I know if we travelled fast through these areas, we would never have met the people we did and gone to the places we did. It is very good for your budget too. Thanks for sharing.

  • I feel the same way. I actually wrote a similar article, but it’s still sitting in my pile of drafts. I’m not into jam-packed itineraries where you’re rushing to see everything. I don’t like going to a place simply to take photos as well. I like to immerse myself in the scenery, the people, the culture. 🙂 I think most travelers make this transition, from being too eager to see everything to wanting to take things slow.

  • hannah

    I prefer slow travelling over everything so I totally agree with this article!

  • I like the idea of slow travel, especially now that I’m more in tune to what kind of experiences I’d want from every trip. I love staying in, say, a town for three days, and walking around, eating from carinderia and sitting down with locals. I know travelers these days do it for the photos. This is so obvious, wouldn’t you agree, Dada? I used you to be one of those “racers”. Now, I travel at my own pace. As I like to put it: the only measure that matters is the one you define. Thank you for affirming this mindset. It’s always awesome when you find like-minded travelers. 🙂

  • What an interesting concept, I’d love to try it out if I had enough time off work

  • I think we need to slow travel more. Most of the time we are in a hurry to cram as may places as possible within the available time. This loses the wonderful experience of savouring each moment slowly.

  • I think all travelers start with wanting to see the tourist spots. Slow traveling is an appreciation, like an acquired taste. It doesn’t happen overnight, when a person has traveled a lot, only then will he realized that there is beauty in taking his sweet time to discovering new places. That’s when he makes the distinction between traveling to be seen versus traveling to see (slow travel). But if we can convince anyone, especially the new travelers to learn this soon, it would be so much better and I do hope that’s what this post of yours achieves. Because slow traveling is the only way one can truly appreciate or fall in love with a place he visits.

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