A common misconception about permanent travelers is that we spend a fortune on our travels, that we must be independently wealthy to find out globetrotting. This couldn’t be farther from the truth because actually slow travel is the cheapest way to travel! I could travel for a year on the same budget that some people set for a few single-week vacations. When you aren’t in a rush to see and do everything at a destination in your week off of work, it becomes a lot less expensive to travel. So for all of you who want to make travel a bigger part of your life, or just want to know how we do it, here are my 6 principles of slow travel.
The Principles of Slow Travel
1 | Choose the road less traveled
There are some destinations and regions of the world that lend themselves better to slow travel because they’re inherently cheaper. Consider traveling in Central America, Eastern Europe, or Southeast Asia, where slow travel and backpacking are more feasible. One of the most important principles of slow travel is to make your money last longer so you want to pick the less expensive destinations! By avoiding major tourist destinations, you can actually visit more places.
2 | Pick the slower transportation
Generally, the slower the transportation, the cheaper it is. Plus it’s more of an adventure! The slow traveler prefers hitchhiking, buses, and cargo ships, rather than planes, trains, and taxis. When you travel slow and time is on your side, it doesn’t matter that your trip takes twice as long because you’re in it for the adventure!
3 | Explore on your own
One of the main benefits of traveling on a tour with a tour guide is that you get to see everything at the destination quickly and efficiently. But when you travel slow and explore on your own, you’re not in a rush to see everything quickly. You can take a week to explore a city that others rush through in a day. And because you explore it on your own, you’ll find hidden gems that the others miss, and you make a better connection to every place you visit.
4 | Work along the way
Working along the way as you travel provides you with more funds for your travels and gives you a richer experience as you go. There are endless opportunities, like working at a hostel, working on at a farm with WWOOF, finding work with WorkAway, teaching English abroad, working on yachts, working as an au pair and more! With programs like these, you’ll often get housing and sometimes also get paid, so your travels will be cheaper and can continue to fund your next adventures. For more ideas on traveling for free, get my advice here.
5 | Sleep for free
As with the work exchange programs above, there are a lot of opportunities to exchange an it or work for a place to stay. You can participate in housesitting so you have a place to stay for free in your travels. You can go couchsurfing, which gives you the chance to stay for free and make some cool friends! And anytime you’re somewhere with decent weather, you have the opportunity to camp outside, which is usually free or cheap, and is a fun adventure in itself!
6 | Be creative
The principles of slow travel all require you to think outside the box of what travel traditionally is. Instead of hopping on a plane and staying at a fancy hotel for a week, your money will take you much further if you go for longer and explore some creative non-traditional travel options. The ideas I’ve given you here are just a starting point, and from here your travels can take you as far as your imagination will go! So be creative and consider the option of traveling slow!