The Debate: Slow Travel vs. Fast Travel
If you happened to catch Episode 2 of my podcast Unmapped, then you heard me chatting with my girl Lindsay Silberman, senior digital editor at Town & Country Magazine.
One of the topics we discussed was the pace in which we travel.
When I interviewed her, I asked if she was a fast or slow traveler. Her answer:
“I’m an unbelievable fast traveler, like to a fault. The way I look at it is I have such a limited amount of time and I want to see and experience as much as possible in as short a period of time as possible. My preference and priority is to have the knowledge [about multiple destinations] and speak intelligently about many different places.”
Same, girl. Working full-time means I have a set amount of days I can take off, so maximizing my PTO (paid time off) is always my priority – meaning I’m always traveling fast.
But I prefer that. To Lindsay’s point, I’d rather experience a couple of different places within ten days then spending all ten in the same city.
But I wondered what the rest of the traveling world prefered. Was anyone else an advocate for fast travel, or was “taking it slow” the norm?
So naturally I took to my favorite Facebook group, Girls vs. Globe, and posed the question:
Fast travel vs. Slow travel. Which do YOU prefer and why?
Here’s some of the resulting opinions:
Across the board, anyone who was for fast travel was pretty much like me. Working with a set amount of days to travel or just eager to see the world in whatever amount of time they can.
“As someone who works full-time, I am an advocate for fast travel solely for the purposes of maximizing my vacation days. If I could travel for longer periods of time I’d probably prefer slow travel, but I just don’t think it’s that practical for people who have full-time jobs and still want to travel several times a year.” – Kay of JetFarer
“I’d rather see a city for 2 days than not at all.” – Mia of Travel With Mia
“I’m team FAST travel all the way, mainly because of time off from work, but also because I’d like to see every country in the world (that’s my goal) and love being active when I travel. Obviously a relaxing holiday wouldn’t go amiss but I’m always itching to go explore.” – Rachel of The World in A Weekend
Slowly traveling through a country or city obviously has its own set of perks. You can get more familiarized with the people, the local culture, and have more chances to see things.
“As somebody who travels full-time (and has to work while traveling), I’m deep in the slow travel corner. When I read accounts of fast travel it often feels like a competition to tick off lists rather than visit a place. I also find that if I’m in a city and just do normal things – get my iced coffee at the corner, get my dinner by the side of the road, take normal walks (without destination or sightseeing) – I understand the city and country I’m in much better, which in turn makes me understand the sights better. Not to mention, that on many of these walks I’ll discover interesting sights that aren’t on lists.” – Carola of Notes On Traveling
“You get a chance to see more of the country than just the destination you chose before you came. That’s what makes travel magical for me!” – Amy, Page Traveller
“Slow travel camp! It’s cheaper staying in one place for longer, and you get to know a place better / have more opportunities to see things. So when an uber driver suggests a restaurant or attraction, you can have time to book it in!” – Nancy of Nifty Traveller“If I have the time, slow travel is the way to go for me. You get so much more of a feel for the place, and form genuine connections. Plus, as a blogger, I don’t feel like I can credibly give tips or advice on a place I only breezed through. But in today’s world, if you’re working full-time it’s near impossible to get enough time off, so fast travel becomes the default mode of travel.” – Michelle from MichWanderlust
So between fast travel and slow travel, the debate was pretty evenly tied!
A lot more people sided with fast travel than I expected, but both opinions were supported by very fair remarks. I’m a fast traveler by default, but I can totally see the benefits of slow travel as well.
If you feel like you’re somewhere in the middle, try sticking by one of my favorite travel rules: spend at least 3 days in a destination.
To me, three is enough for you to get a good sense of the place and explore (hopefully) a majority of the things you want to do. Any less is rushing. Any more, and you’ll cut into time you can spend in a different city.