Slow travel vs fast travel

Slow travel vs fast travel

Have you heard the phrase “slow travel” recently? What does it mean and how does this compare to “fast travel”? Lets talk more about slow travel vs fast travel. What do they mean? What are the pros of each type? What are the cons of each? Let’s talk about slow travel vs fast travel for a few minutes!

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Slow travel vs fast travel

What is fast travel

Slow travel is a more recent term that’s been going around. But have you heard of fast travel?

Fast travel is basically when you do everything you can possible on your trip. It’s when you book as many things as possible because you might never visit that place again.

Fast travel is when you wake up one morning in Florence, go to L’Accademia to see the Statue of David, join a walking tour, eat at the super busy spot for lunch, then go shopping on the Ponte Vecchio in the afternoon before finding a wine tasting before dinner, which is before you stay out late dancing.

Then you wake up the morning and take the train to Rome to see as much as you can over the next couple of days in Rome.

I may be exaggerating a little here, but you get the point!

What is slow travel

Slow travel is just what it sounds like. It’s the opposite of fast travel.

Slow travel is when you sleep in, take your time drinking an espresso on your hotel balcony (or at a cafe), walking around the vineyards in Tuscany, get some groceries in a local hill town, and then end your day sipping wine as the breeze blows through your hair.

This may also be exaggerating, but I hope it paints a picture.

If slow travel is more your style, you may book one activity/excursion every two-three days. Slow travel leaves open lots of space for rest, wandering, and doing nothing.

Benefits of fast travel

Fast travel is good if you have limited time in a place and want to see as much as possible.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but fast travel may actually be cheaper.


Because it may allow you to stay fewer nights in a place in order to see it all. For example, you could spend only two nights in Prague and see as much as possible. While you may be paying more for excursions or activities, you may actually save on the cost of accommodation.

Fast travel will allow you to cross off more on your bucket list. For example, if you’re in New Zealand and you’ve always wanted to skydive, bungee jump, and whitewater raft, fast travel may allow you to cross three things off your bucket list within a day or two!

With fast travel, you are probably more likely to leave feeling like you “saw a lot”!

Benefits of slow travel

On the other hand, slow travel is more likely to be relaxing. Have you ever come home from a trip and felt like “I need a vacation after my vacation”?

Slow travel may actually restore you and relax you. You might go back home actually restored and ready to go back to work.

Slow travel may actually allow you to integrate more. Although you may not be “doing” as much, it may actually allow you to absorb the culture, have conversations with people, or live a day as a local.

When it comes to slow travel vs fast travel, slow travel will give you space and time to process the place you’re in.

Cons of fast travel

When it comes to fast travel, some of the cons are that depending on your personality, you may be exhausted and tired.

You might come home feeling like you need another few days off before you go to work.

In my opinion, traveling “too fast” may not allow you to process the place. It can get too focused on crossing things off the list.

Cons of slow travel

For people that like to be busy, slow travel may be a bit boring.

Slow travel may be more expensive because often it means staying in a place for longer periods of time. Although you may not be paying as much for experiences or you may even be cooking more, you will likely be paying more for accommodation (and the number of nights).

What is the right type of travel for you?

When it comes to slow travel vs fast travel what is the right type for you? I like to think of them on a spectrum. And it might be that you travel with a different style depending on the trip. OR parts of your trip may be fast travel and parts may be slow travel.

For example, on our recent trip to Portugal, we had limited time there. I would actually say we were more on the “fast travel” spectrum in the cities of Porto and Lisbon. But then, our stay in the Douro Valley was slow travel. For a couple nights we slept in, sipped wine, walked around the gorgeous property, and enjoyed long dinners.

With this said, I typically enjoy more of the slower travel spectrum. For me the beauty of travel is feeling somewhat immersed in a place. It’s more about the mornings people watching and exploring the local grocery store than it is about seeing all the sights.

The right type of travel will depend on your personality, your budget, how much time you have, and what you want to accomplish. If you have a limited budget, can only afford to spend two nights in Mexico City, but have always wanted to go, it might be more of a fast travel type of trip.

On the other hand if you have six weeks of vacation built up, a significant budget, and have dreamt of learning about South Africa, you might do more of a slow travel type of trip. Imagine, going on safari for a few nights, walking around Cape Town for a few weeks, and learning about wine in the Cape Winelands for a couple weeks.

A misconception is that fast travel is for extraverts and slow travel is for introverts. I don’t completely agree with this. Slow travel doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t be social. For example, you may actually have a few in-depth conversations with people throughout the day, and end the day feeling energized by the social connections. But the point is that you weren’t running around all day.

I hope this helps break down slow travel vs fast travel for you. Everyone may have a different preference, but I do think everyone should enjoy each type at least once while traveling.


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