What is slow travel all about?
There are a thousand ways to travel, but those glossy guidebooks want to lead us down the same old paths. Take a look at these slow travel tips and discover what else is out there, beyond the top tens and walking maps.
Find a Home
Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? City centre hotels are perfect for being in the thick of the action, but they don’t usually add much authenticity. Try a home stay, Airbnb rental or self-catering apartment and be a part of the local community. If you're prepared to do a little digging, you could land yourself a canal boat in London, a treehouse in LA or a castle in rural Scotland. Get it right and it is one of the best ways to see your destination from the outside, in.
Jumping on and off big red busses might seem fun for a bit, but you might miss out on what makes the place tick. Walk as much as you can, hire a bicycle, find a your own routes instead. The buzz from making an awesome discovery that's away from the crowds and tourist maps is unbeatable.
The general advice is that the big hitters on the tourist map just can’t be missed...or can they? Read local blogs and interact with the bloggers about what might not have much coverage, search social media for the people who love where they live and follow them. Go creative before you travel and you will be surprised at what else you can do.
Eat Like a Local
FOOD. Street food and local cafés can be a cheap way to earn your stripes when it comes to trying a new cuisine, so have a look at local specialities and favourites (blogs are a goldmine for this sort of stuff!) Take the chance to self cater and taste all that tempting produce at the farmers market, rather that just posting an awesome Instagram shot! One new way to go all in is Airdine, an app that allows locals to turn their houses in to mini restaurants and invite anybody to dinner. Sure, the new Japanese place might be pulling in the crowds, but is that the reason you came to Budapest? Probably not, so get out and find yourself a pot of hot steaming goulash!
‘Hola!’ might not seem so crucial, but it can get you a long way. Learn some phrases and be brave, because getting to know a local is about as good as it gets if you want a chest of gold nugget shaped tips on what to do, where to drink and how to be less of a tourist.
There are two types of traveller out there. The spreadsheet enthusiast, who has an hour to hour agenda that’s as impenetrable as Fort Knox, will want to squeeze in as much as the big red busses will allow. Then, there are those who don’t plan further than their morning coffee, happy to let whatever happens, happen. It’s easy to understand why we want to pack in as much as we can, especially if we have a decent number of weeks to travel in a country or region. The last thing slow travel is about is stress though, so step away from that itinerary
If you want to see how the other half live, then join in. Getting to know a culture through its local events can often give you a window in to why people do what they do. Whether it is a through cooking, dance or sport, having a go will almost definitely add something unique to your trip.