Psssst… Hey you… Yes, the good-looking one. Yes, of course you! Come here… I want to let you in on a little secret, which I’ll spell out in the Slow Travel manifesto below. Some have heard of it, but it’s a good bet many people you know haven’t caught on yet. But they will, eventually. Here it is:
Vacations are out, Slow Travel is in.
More people are seeking personalized vacations that ever before, not pay to be herded like cattle by tour operators. If the latest travel trends are accurate, a growing number of people want to book their own flights, plan their own itineraries and arrange their travel schedule how they see fit. And help the environment and travel consciously to boot!
Flickr @ Jelle
Travelers want to connect and interact with the culture, not feel as if they’re being paraded through a zoo, which, by the way, locals don’t appreciate either.
If you’re ready to make the switch from tourist to traveler, here are ten great suggestions – a Slow Travel manifesto of sorts – on what you can do to make that happen.
[widgets_on_pages id=”Mag Signup”]
A Slow Travel Manifesto
10. Slow down
How much you absorb of the local landscape is inversely correlated to the speed at which you travel. Slow travelers enjoy walking, tourists put up with flying. Only one group knows what the other is missing out on.
9. Blend In
Tourists often stick out wherever they go. A slow traveler has been in place long enough to know how to blend in. If you consistently turn heads when you walk by, it may not be because of your outrageous handsomeness. Just putting it out there.
Travel, like taste in music, is highly personal. You don’t let Billboard’s Top 10 dictate what music you should listen to, do you? Why let travel review websites define your travel experience?
7. Seek Authenticity
Sitting down at a foreign McDonald’s to scarf down their interpretation of local cuisine is… sad. It is as much as a novelty item for the locals as it is for tourists. Except the locals know it.
You can learn a lot about cultural nuances by the way the locals communicate. Slow travel is the best way I know one can fully immerse and quickly become fluent in another language.
5. Live Like a Local
Slow Travel is much more budget-friendly than being a tourist. Would you rather pay $50 a night at a cheap hotel, or have a private furnished apartment for $500 a month? Besides, a hotel is for meeting other travelers, not locals.
4. Shop Like a Local
Shop where the locals shop, not where tourists shop. Not only will you get a better deal, but you’ll meet locals with a wealth of information to offer.
Slow Travel allows you to connect with the locals. Stay long enough and you may end up forging connections and friendships that will last a lifetime. It’s much easier to interact with the locals when you let them welcome you into their neighborhood.
Try using the original and best travel search engine. Ask a local.
While it may seem that way, the world has yet to be entirely indexed and cataloged by Google and corporate travel websites. There’s a surprising amount of world still left to explore. All you need is a bit of patience and curiosity to explore the narrow streets that are a world away from the hustle and bustle of tourist traffic.
Know someone who returned from a vacation
more tired than before they left? Pass this on ;)