Why “Slow Travel” Can Mean a More Vibrant Vacation

A vacation is supposed to be relaxing —  a break from hectic demands and stringent schedules. We travel to experience new places, fresh vistas, and a new perspective. And yet, so many of us wind up trading one set of stresses for another while traveling. We’ve all been there — hustling to get to the airport, rushing to make a check-in time, and then scrambling to keep an itinerary the whole time we’re supposed to be unwinding. By the end of it all, a return to a daily routine can almost seem like a welcome break. 

If you’ve ever found yourself thinking, “I need a vacation from my vacation,” then this article is for you. The emerging trend of “slow travel” is here to rescue you from the pressure of feeling like you aren’t getting your money’s worth if your trip isn’t absolutely bursting at the seams with non-stop activity. 

Take a deep breath, and read on… 

The Roots of Slow Travel

The slow travel movement finds its basis in another recreational realm: cuisine. In 1986, Italian Chef Carlo Petrini founded the “slow food” movement. It was intended to exist as a counterpoint to the burgers-and-fries-based fast-food culture. Slow food promotes sustainability, locally sourced ingredients, traditional cooking methods, and unhurried settings where flavors and experiences can truly be appreciated. The underlying philosophy being that if something is intended to be enjoyed, then why rush it? It was an idea that really took root. Today, the slow food movement persists worldwide.

So What Does That Mean for Vacations? 

When we travel, many of us fall prey to the idea that if we’re not hitting some top-ten list of “must-sees” at our chosen destination, then we’re somehow wasting our visit. And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with planning to see a given area’s highlights, that’s not the only way to escape. Slow travel proposes an alternative: Rather than rushing from attraction to attraction to snap a perfunctory Instagram photo or nab a souvenir, it may just make for a better getaway to drag our heels a little. Ditch the itinerary, smell the roses, and let the wind (and our whims) take us wherever they do.

Planning a No-Plan Escape

So how do we go about embracing the ethos of slow travel? While it may seem counterintuitive to plan an unstructured trip, we certainly can’t start from scratch. So beginning with a destination in mind is obviously necessary. As a hypothetical, let’s consider San Diego. Obviously, we have a clear preference for our hometown, but it’s certainly a good example. Even though there are some fantastic attractions here, it’s also tough to have a less-than-satisfying time anywhere you go in “America’s Finest City.” So landing here and then picking a direction to strike out in can’t help but yield magnificent results. Maybe your internal compass takes you to the laid-back shopping and dining of La Jolla. You may feel pulled in the direction of the laid-back waterfront communities of Pacific Beach. Or you could catch a glimpse of the bridge, wonder where it leads, and end up exploring Coronado Island. There’s really no wrong answer in this neck of the woods.      

Discover the Vibe

Regardless of the destination you’ve chosen, it’s bound to have many hidden wonders to explore and enjoy. Let your interests guide you. Identify as a foodie? Follow your nose and see where it takes you. Discover a fresh take on your favorite cuisine or try something entirely new. Fashionista? Stumbling upon a hidden boutique with an exceptional wardrobe addition tucked away in a corner can be a revelation. Love live music? Keep your eyes and ears open for interesting marquees or irresistible rhythms. Then drift in and allow yourself to be transported. No matter where you go, you’ll find an experience you couldn’t have planned for. When you embrace spontaneity, amazing aspects of incredible places can reveal themselves in real time.

Embrace Connection

Ultimately, the idea of slow travel is a combination of mindfulness and intention. It’s about giving yourself the opportunity to connect with a people, a place, a cuisine, and a culture in ways you may not be able to while adhering to a strict itinerary. Slow travel can help ensure that you leave a place feeling as though you’ve truly experienced it, hopefully with a heart full of memories and experiences rather than a suitcase full of trinkets.

Signing Up for Slow at Pacific Terrace

Looking for a home base from which to do your exploring? Pacific Terrace is the ideal spot to relax, unwind, and venture forth to discover all that San Diego has to offer. Our idyllic beachfront location, sumptuously comfortable rooms and suites, and abundance of amenities will more than set the stage for your laid-back, experiential travel adventure. Be sure to check out our Specials & Packages page and select the slow travel deal that’s right for you.