What is ‘slow travel’ and why should you try it?

Font Size:

Ticking off as many tourist attractions as you can in a short amount of time used to be a prerequisite of a good holiday. However, all the rushing around often meant you’d come home more exhausted than when you’d left. It’s at this point right here that slow travel becomes your lifeline, saving you from the depths of chaos and bringing you up for air. So, what is slow travel and how do you master it?

We asked Brooke Smith from The Global Work & Travel Co for all the answers.

woman walking along a boardwalk into wetlands

What is slow travel?
Encouraging you to bask in your surroundings as opposed to rushing your way around the world, slow travel is the answer to the dreaded tourist burnout. In a tale as old as time, travellers are often overheard wishing they’d spent more time in a specific place throughout their latest and greatest overseas voyage. There’s always that one beach they never lay on, that one restaurant they never tried and that one walking trail they never took. And oftentimes, those ‘nevers’ will forever remain. But what if we told you that slow travel encourages you to never say never? If you dream of being able to take each day as it comes on your travels – going to your local farmers’ market to pick out the best of the local produce, walking peacefully along a river with your drink of choice in hand and ending your day taking in a glorious sunset from the comfort of your dinner table – then slow travel is the style of travel for you. Why travel fast when you can travel slow?

How can you master it?
To ensure that you don’t self-sabotage a relaxing trip, accommodation, meals, socialisation and transport are all essential to mastering the art of slow travel.

When embracing slow travel, it’s always suggested that you rent a place for the duration of your travels, rather than booking into a hotel. Why? Not only is this a cost-saving measure, but it also guarantees you’ll be immersed in your surroundings from the get-go.

Food is one of the best ways to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Why not fully embrace all the cuisine your destination of choice has to offer? Do your research before you leave and be sure to book into any local restaurants you have the desire to dine at. Want to stay in? Head down to your local farmers’ market and pick up all the fresh produce your heart desires before spending the afternoon cooking up a storm in the kitchen – wine in hand, of course.

Before you leave, ask yourself what your hobbies and interests are, or do you have the desire to acquire a new skill you wouldn’t have the time to explore in the real world? The list doesn’t need to be long, just one or two things and you’re good to go. Jump online, find and book into any tours or classes relevant to your interests. Whilst there, talk to everyone participating – you’re literally surrounded by people who share a common interest with you! If it’s a painting class, organise to go painting with a few classmates another day on your trip. If you’re on a food tour, why not organise to get breakfast with a few foodies the next morning? People can be the deciding factor on the success of any trip, take it from a slow travelling pro, working holidaymaker Tyla Mansergh.

“People really do make or break your whole experience and I’m very lucky to have met only amazing people on my trips,” said Tyla.

The words ‘Uber’ and ‘Taxi’ are not listed in the Dictionary of Slow Travel. This is so you fully embrace and take in your surroundings. Independence and exploration are literally forced upon you. Catch a train, hire a car, jump on a bus. Whatever you do, take in all you see. Question it, photograph it, admire it, write about it. Slow travel is all about the journey, not the destination.


The Global Work & Travel Co offer a wide range of working holidays and volunteering trips all around the world. For more information, please visit www.globalworkandtravel.com

How do you prefer to travel? Do you rush around and see as much as you can? Or do you take your time and soak up a destination?

If you enjoy our content, don’t keep it to yourself. Share our free eNews with your friends and encourage them to sign up.

Join YourLifeChoices today
and get this free eBook!

By joining YourLifeChoices you consent that you have read and agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy


Iconic outback experiences

From Autumn to early Spring is the best time to visit Lake Eyre

Discovering Delos: Mykonos’ best-kept secret

Greece's most significant historic, mythological, sacred, archaeological site sits right next

Eat your way around Barcelona

Here's how to make the most of Barcelona, one bite at a time.


Total Comments: 11
  1. 0

    We believe we travel slow, we book our flights to Europe each year , usually for May, June July and our itinerary is two line “departure date and return date” We pick up our Motorhome and head of to where the sun is shining Our house on wheels has everything we want and with a couple of push bikes on the rear we are set. I collect pocket knives which are small and providing the overall length does not exceed 300mm they are legal to bring back to Australia Collecting knives give us a chance to explore small villages, back streets and markets , if we want to explore more we stay longer.

  2. 0

    Slow, solo and budget. For me it’s definitely the only way to go. I’m in my 70’s and not very fit so I definitely avoid the ‘tours’. Well, just once I went on a group tour and it was a disaster !
    In Bali I rented a small villa in the mountains for a month where I did a painting class, a batik class, and generally relaxed while I got to know many of the locals and customs. Wonderful. Other destinations like China I was determined to see many of the special places so I traveled around a lot. However I covered a large part of the country by train, and booked with sites like booking.com so I could be flexible. If I really liked a place I could stay longer, or move on quickly if I preferred.
    Vietnam was so enjoyable I went several times, stayed in the same cheap place, and got to know the people there so well they held a birthday party for me, complete with decorated cake. All my travels have been in the last six years.
    I highly recommend ‘slow’ travel for all ages, but particularly for older people like me who might find it difficult otherwise.

  3. 0

    Slow travel? I suspect my wife and I are experts. The list:

    1. rent a house for as long as you can see everything in a region. The longer you rent the cheaper it gets. Airbnb is good for this sort of thing.
    2. rent a car. Again the longer the cheaper it gets. We rent a car for a month and get long term rates. Got a flash car in France which was almost new and set us back just over $700. Oh yes…we used our travel insurance credit card to avoid the expensive add on insurance. To add insult to injury the vehicle was a diesel which used very little fuel.
    3. Plan what you intend to see and write it down. Try to follow the format but expect the unexpected wonderful places you you have missed. H’Autcombe Abbey in France was one of those gems which we stumbled upon. Amazing history with only half a dozen tourists there. Don’t tell anybody about this one as we’re going back next time we’re in France.
    4. We rarely ate out. Going to the local supermarket is a treat and a half as you see the different foods, most of them much much cheaper than equivalent food in Oz, and most of all you see the people who live in the location going about their business. Priceless!
    5. Tours are overpriced, rushed and you miss the real flavour as well not visiting places you’d never realise you missed. Also expense is multiple of what you would spend even if you ate every night at a flash over priced restaurant.

    What more can I say. One more thing: PLAN your trip starting 1 year ahead. It’ll take at least 6 months of finding, editing and programming locations and destinations to fit your trip. The price of not doing this part is a second rate over priced trip.

    We’ve done the above a number of times. Believe me when I say IT WORKS. Your choice. How does a cost of under $4000 for two people sound all inclusive for a month of travel including the car? Go for it.

  4. 0

    We have done it for over 30 years, rented cottages and apartments all over the world, hired cars, shop in the local markets & supermarkets, eat in the village square cafes, pubs and bistros. Why pay $thousands for a few days cruise down a European river and be herded with 400 others for an hour into places you haven’t chosen when for much less you can rent an apartment, drive along the river, stop where you want, eat in quaint villages and return to your apartment and sit on the balcony with a glass off local beer or wine. Last year we chose four small towns in Europe, hired a car and stayed in each place for two weeks exploring the local country. Fly into one country and out of another. For Christmas an apartment with a balcony overlooking the lake and mountains in Queenstown NZ, the best Christmas for years since we did the same thing in a small farming village in the French Alps where the supermarkets, food scenery, atmosphere and skiing are first rate.
    The benefits: cheaper, more relaxing, see more of what you want to see; live like and meet the locals not like a goldfish in a glass bowl; get up, eat and go where and when you want. A real holiday and real experience!



continue reading


Mozzies biting? Here's how to choose a repellent - and how to use it

Mozzies biting? Here's how to choose a repellent (and how to use it for the best protection) Shutterstock Cameron Webb,...


Sir Bob Geldof on grief, fame and getting through it all

I've hardly started questioning Sir Bob Geldof before he is off on a long, sweary rant about everything he thinks...


Abandon Australia Day and choose the history we want to celebrate?

Australia Day is the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet in Australia. On 26 January 1788, 11 convict...


Speaking up for the disappearing art of listening

Columnist Peter Leith is 91 and describes himself as "half-deaf and half-blind". But he sees and hears a lot and...


Hyperpigmentation: How to tackle those tricky dark patches on your ski

There are plenty of great things about summer - sunshine, picnics and fruity cocktails immediately spring to mind - but...


Enthralling, dystopian, sublime: NGV Triennial has a huge 'wow' factor

Refik Anadol: Quantum memories 2020 (render) custom software, quantum computing, generative algorithm with artificial intelligence (AI), real time digital animation...


Where to eat, drink and play on Kangaroo Island

Australia's third largest island is an oasis of pristine wilderness, premium produce and hidden secrets ripe for discovery. Easily accessible...


Will you need a vaccination to visit Australian venues?

State premiers have suggested that once vaccinations begin in Australia, those without vaccinations may be banned from visiting some venues...