Last weekend we took a short, local trip to visit with friends in BC’s interior. While there were moments of excitement, overall it was the perfect peaceful and relaxing getaway from the city. It got me thinking more about the benefits of slow travel, something I would like to do more of.
I have always loved traveling and have been lucky enough to have done a lot of it when I was younger. When I planned trips I would always make a list of all of the things I wanted to see and do while I was there. It’s fun and exciting to explore a new place, but it can also be exhausting to see and do so much in a limited amount of time.
Slow travel is a slightly different take on the way I’ve traditionally thought about ‘getting away’. To me, it means taking the time to soak in the experience and truly enjoy it, go somewhere else to just be, escape from routines, and fully relax. These are the things I now try to keep in mind while planning a trip. I still value traveling to a new and exciting place, but I really want to take my time there, live in the moment, and come back relaxed and refreshed. That said, here are some of my own tips that will really make it easier to stay mindful and relaxed while traveling.
1. Don’t stick to an itinerary.
It’s okay to have a wish list of things you want to do. But just like regular day-to-day life when you’re not on vacation, there will be times where you just don’t feel like doing something. It’s important to listen to your body and your own needs, and just sort of go with the flow. I prefer to have a few activities in mind that I would like to do, but I won’t schedule a specific day or time for them. Go out and explore when you feel like it, but also take time to recharge when you need it.
It might seem counterintuitive, because the way I’ve thought about it in the past was that I’m paying to be somewhere else, so I should make the most of it. But not scheduling in enough down time meant that I would be too rushed and tired, and wouldn’t fully enjoy my experience. Having a better balance between activities and rest actually helped me feel like I got more value out of my trip than rushing through a ton of to-do’s.
2. Plan ample time for activities.
Packing too much into one day can leave you exhausted while also making you feel like you didn’t get to fully immerse yourself in an experience and enjoy it. If you have planned an activity for the day, make sure you don’t have anything else right before or after so that you can really be in the moment and not worried about the next place you need to be.
3. Don’t set an alarm.
In my opinion, not having to wake up at a certain time is one of the best things about being on vacation! Take advantage of that and make sure you’re getting enough quality sleep. This will help you feel refreshed not only for an exciting day ahead, but also helps recharge your body for when you get back to your regular day-to-day routine.
4. Unplug as much as possible.
Mute your notifications, power down your laptop, etc. Those little distractions that come at us all day, every day can be so draining! It’s incredibly beneficial to take a break every now and then, whether you’re traveling or not. But especially on a trip, it’s good to limit those distractions and focus more on the moment and experience you’re living in.
5. Pack light.
This just makes everything easier when it comes to travel. Personally I feel a lot more freedom when I have less with me on a trip. Having too many bags is more expensive and makes it harder to get around. Personally, I would also worry more about the chances of losing it or something getting stolen. It’s amazing how little we really need to get by, and slow travel is a great way to test that theory out.
6. Keep it low cost.
I’m lucky enough to live somewhere that has plenty of good local travel options. While I do want to see more of the world and travel globally, if I just need a relaxing getaway, the best option is to keep it low-budget. This way I feel less pressure to experience so much in a short period of time. It’s also less stressful in general on your bank account!
I hope you’ve found these tips helpful and that you’re inspired to try one on your next trip. Comment down below with your own ideas or maybe a few places on your travel bucket list!
Thanks for reading,
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