When I think of peak relaxation, my mind goes to two things: breakfast in bed and lounging in a chair on the beach. Both sound pretty nice, right? Well, those two little luxuries encompass the concept of slow travel, a trend that’s wildly popular right now in the vacation space. If you’re dreaming of a getaway that prioritizes rest and relaxation over sightseeing and a jam-packed itinerary, then this way of traveling is just for you.
According to Pinterest’s annual trend predictions for 2024, more and more people are planning vacations with R&R in mind. The report noted that travelers will retreat to “laid-back locales” and that more people will plan trips that “take it extra slow.” Here, we’re sharing exactly what this trend entails, why it’s so desirable, and tips for planning a similar getaway.
What Is Slow Travel?
When you start planning a vacation, you likely consider all the activities and logistics that need to be mapped out before you leave. Slow travel takes this stress out of the picture. It prioritizes time for rest and creates space for travelers to truly unwind and be in the moment.
Consider the last vacation you took. Unless it was a true beach or resort getaway, I’d guess that the bulk of it was centered around must-see and must-do activities. You likely created an itinerary with bucket-list items, like dining at the best restaurants and checking out the destination’s hottest tourist attractions, but by the end of the trip, you likely felt like you needed a vacation from that vacation. Why? Because rest wasn’t at the forefront.
Slow travel is all about doing less, so that you can take in more of what’s around you. It offers up space for you to unplug and think—without the hustle and bustle of everyday life. For example, slow travel would swap a night out on the town for a slow morning of journaling or a day filled with sightseeing for a day at the spa.
The idea is that by moving at a slower pace, you can not only enjoy the destination you’re visiting but also feel a sense of peace after you return from your trip.
How to Plan a Slow Travel Trip
It’s natural to feel the need to make the most of everything your destination has to offer, but remember that in this case, doing less is when the true magic happens. Here’s how to fully embrace slow travel on your next trip—and trust me—you’ll come back feeling more refreshed and energized because of it.
1. Start by picking the vibe you’re going for.
While an oceanside vacation or a remote cottage rental might innately be more relaxing than a city getaway, the important thing is that you choose a destination where you’ll feel comfortable and at ease. If you can kick back and unwind in an urban setting, then by all means, book a hotel room in the city of your choice and plan on catching up on your Zs. Need something a bit more intimate? Opt for a house rental in a small town or a boutique hotel that has a swanky pool and spa. Ultimately, the atmosphere will impact the overall success of your slow travel experience, so be sure to pick something that supports the way you like to relax.
2. Choose your primary mode of relaxation.
Are you hoping to spend the bulk of your time lounging poolside? Would you prefer to hide out in a luxurious hotel room and order room service? Do you want a wellness-focused getaway full of rejuvenating spa treatments? If you’re stuck trying to decide on a destination, asking yourself how you plan to unwind will help you narrow in on what type of trip will best suit your needs.
3. Indulge in the small things.
During your trip, use the leisurely pace of things to your advantage. So many of us face demanding jobs, busy social schedules, and loads of day-to-day responsibilities, making it hard to catch our breath on a regular basis. Use the time during your trip to enjoy the art of doing nothing. Turn your phone on do-not-disturb, sleep in, spend an hour just sipping your coffee and enjoying the view from your hotel room. By simply staying put and doing the bare minimum, you might learn something about yourself or the place around you.
4. Look forward to a few activities.
If you’re truly in the mood to do nothing but kick back in a comfy bed, more power to you. However, after a day or two, that can start to feel a bit unfulfilling. Keep in mind that while slow travel is all about, well, slowing down, it doesn’t mean that you have to do nothing but sleep during your trip. The idea is to stick with small and approachable activities rather than big, bucket-list items. Things like onsite yoga at a hotel property, morning walks outside, or reading a book on the front porch of your rental are some examples of how you can spend your time while still honoring the concept of a slow-cation.
Slow Travel Destination Ideas
Need some inspo for your next trip? While each of these destinations has a unique charm, they all make for a chill spot to take things slowly.
- Bend, Oregon
- Charleston, South Carolina
- Finger Lakes, New York
- Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
- Kauai, Hawaii
- Malibu, California
- Middleburg, Virginia
- Nantucket, Massachusetts
- Napa, California
- Palm Beach, Florida
- San Diego, California
- Santa Fe, New Mexico
- Scottsdale, Arizona
- Sedona, Arizona
- Stowe, Vermont
- Vail, Colorado
- Watch Hill, Rhode Island