If you read the title to this and wondered, WTH is slow travel? Welcome to the club. The first time I heard this was when Josh pitched the idea for this journey we’re currently on. “Babe, we’re not there to see all the popular sights and stay in hotels,” he stated, “it’s going to be like living there, traveling slooooowly.”At the time, I was heading into the largest event of my job (and quite possibly my life) and I could not even retain the words he was trying to speak to me let alone comprehend this idea of slow travel.
WHAT IS SLOW TRAVEL
Turns out a lot of people have done this. I read a few blogs from these like-minded people and said to myself, hmm, if they can do it then surely we can do this. Have you ever felt that feeling of pure, blind ambition? For me, it was like watching a few episodes of The Voice and being so motivated I signed up for an open mic night. Had I ever sang on stage before that moment? Nope (said with the confidence of a natural attention hog), but it can’t be that hard.Well, once reality set in I gathered my senses and understood that to travel slow wouldn’t be hard however it will take some planning. So, we picked a few countries; Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. These countries we have traveled to before and we decided to stay in a different city than last time. We would rent an apartment for 2 weeks to a month and live there. We planned to do the same things we normally did living in Sydney or Adelaide or Canberra such as going to cafes, finding a market, cooking dinner together, seeing a movie, all our normal things. We also kept an open mind about participating in the local scenes and meeting new (hopefully like-minded) people.Whilst there is a lot of different approaches to slow travel and living like a local, here are some hacks we did that were helpful to us finding those unique experiences that we love.
PLAN FOR A REASONABLE BUDGET
Impulse buying is real people. For me, every decision I make is an impulse when I’m on holiday. Since we decide to slow travel, my urges for random purchases needed to be reigned in. It’s unrealistic to think that you’ll be traveling and not want to see and do anything so we recommend building a budget that is reasonable and takes into consideration your accommodation, eating out, doing a few tours, and transportation. Another thing we like to budget for is an exit fund. In case of emergency, do you know how much it will take to get you out of the jungle?
STAY IN ONE PLACE FOR LONGER
This is kind of the main point of slow travel. Staying longer in one area gives you the chance to get a routine, enjoy the area and get involved with the community. We have been mostly staying in apartments we found on Airbnb. Recently we found that the host will offer 20-40% discounts if you choose to stay longer at their place. This was super helpful to keeping to our budget because housing costs tend to be our largest expense.To pay by cash, you will want to change the payment method before you click Book GrabCar. Conversely, if you don’t want to pay by cash, double-check your payment method is your credit card before you click Book GrabCar.
FIND A PLACE NEAR PUBLIC TRANSPORT
Wherever possible but especially in big cities living near public transport is super beneficial for slow travel. Most times it’s cheaper and you can usually always get to where you want or need to go. When we arrived in Bangkok we decided to get to our apartment by train. I won’t admit it was easy but once we got settled in the the area, being able to jump on the train or the rail made it easy to be independent whilst saving some baht!
BRING YOUR CREATURE COMFORTS
Yes, we have an electric toothbrush and we’re proud of it. We also have a mason jar, our scrabble set, a Bluetooth speaker and my entire skincare regimen. Whatever you need to make you feel more at home bring it along. There have been days when I just wanted to have a sense of home and if I had brought along my favorite pirate pillow maybe I would’ve helped me.
FOLLOW LOCAL PEOPLE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Josh says this is a bit creepy but I think we’re all creeps if we’re on social media. Following a local person (that you vibe with) may find you the places and people that you are actually interested in. We found a cute little coffee shop and produce market in Denpasar this way.