At TransferTravel.com, we love a spontaneous weekend break. There's nothing more exciting than going to a brand-new country for just a few days without having to use up your precious annual leave or take too much time out of your busy schedule. However, we think that slow travel is massively underrated – in particular, slow transportation.
There has been an increase in the number of attempts by aircraft engineers to create planes which can fly further non-stop, which can carry more people, or which can halve the total travel time. These technological advancements have succeeded over the years, from Concord and beyond, meaning in a matter of hours, you can be in a country on the other side of the world.
Speed and efficiency are often key parts of planning your trip; you want to get from A to B as quickly as possible so you can start to enjoy your time away. We’re suggesting you make the journey just as important as the destination. As in literally, not philosophically – this isn’t a Miley Cyrus song.
Train journeys have long been a romanticised part of literature and film. The world is going by your window as you sit and watch; it’s a place for contemplation. Some people can really tap into that mindset and enjoy the train journey Orient Express-style. For others, it’s a slow way of getting to your destination. Like planes, there have been developments to make high-speed trains, particularly in some parts of Europe, in order to increase the efficiency of your travel.
Let us introduce you to ‘Slow Travel’, a phrase you may have heard before in the sphere of sustainability and eco-travel.
What is Slow Travel?
Slow travellers advocate for pausing to take in your surroundings, fully absorbing where you are and appreciating it. This is partly due to the environmental and local impacts of fast tourism, and partly a personal preference. “Fast travel” or “fast tourism” are products of tick-list-travel where people try to cram as much as they can into a short space of time. It’s the opposite of jet-setting and sight-seeing in the traditional sense; often, people compare fast tourism to fast food, so think of slow travel as the proposed antithesis of that. You can read more about that in our Medium post about bucket lists and why you should scrap yours.
We think that slow travel is something we should all try to incorporate into our travels. Of course, this isn’t always possible if you’ve got children, work or other commitments to return to after your trip. However, there are some easy ways to make slow travel a natural part of how your vacation time.
Trains and buses
Public transport for many is just a means of commuting. It’s a cheap and somewhat reliable way of getting to and from work, far from the romance of adventure. But have you considered using it as part of your next journey? It’s a simple way of incorporating a more eco-friendly form of travel into your next vacation; get the train through Italy to see the countryside between cities, or you could use the AMtrak to turn a potential road trip into a fun rail trip.
Not convinced? Buses and trains may not scream of the glamour that comes with flying across the world or boarding a luxury cruise. However, let us try to convince you otherwise.
1) They make last minute plans so much more feasible. You can hop on the next bus or train and be somewhere new in a few hours without having to pay an extortionate last-minute fee as you would with a plane journey.
2) Take a moment to imagine a life without airport security. Peaceful, stress-free and significantly less irritating. This is a huge part of what slow travel is all about – making the actual travelling part of your trip as important as the place you’re going. For solo travellers, this is the perfect time to relax and reflect on your journey so far.
3) When you are hopping from one sight to another, you barely have time to breathe before you see the next spectacle. There’s no time to process during “fast travel”. Sitting on a bus or train means you are still moving forward, but you can allow your brain to be idle. You have more time to think about where you’re going as you see the landscape change with you.
4) A lot of people are seeking an “authentic” experience when they visit somewhere new, but you often miss some of the best parts as you chase experiences and destination. Trains and buses like these are used for locals’ commutes; you’ll be delving right into the daily culture of wherever you’re visiting, whether it’s just a new town or a completely new country.