Slow Travel vs. Fast Travel: What are they & Which do you prefer?

Everybody has their own travel preferences. Some people when they go to a new destination really want to take their time to really experience all that a destination has to offer. Other people want to see and do as much as they can in a short amount of time then move on and do it all over again. And some people love to do both.

If you're on social media nowadays (which of course you are), then you may have heard people start to use the terms "slow travel" and "fast travel" to classify the trips they're taking. You'll especially hear these terms if you've been watching some Instagram Reels.

In this blog, we'll cover what these two terms — slow travel and fast travel — are and help you determine which one you prefer.

What is Slow Travel and Fast Travel?

Let's break them down... starting with: 

Fast Travel

Fast travel is when you move quickly from one destination to the next. You will often only spend a day, a few days, a week, or maybe even a few weeks in a location. There really isn't a cutoff for timing of fast travel, but for me personally, I would consider it anything less than a month. You really don't have a lot of time to spend in one location, so you have to make the most of it. And how you do that is really another preference to think of.

A fast travel trip can be as spontaneous or as planned as you want it to be. Some people prefer to create travel itineraries for their trips so they know exactly what they want to do and when. And some like to do whatever their heart desires after they wake up. A lot of people fall somewhere in-between.

In general, I would consider any vacation-style trip to fall into this category of travel, whether or not you only travel to one destination or go to many.

My Experience with Fast Travel

Besides all of the vacations I've been on in my life, I actually do have a digital nomad experience that I would consider a "fast travel" trip, which would be when I traveled around Europe for 3 months. For the majority of the trip, I moved from location to location every 4 to 8 days, with one destination only being 2 days. In general, that trip really changed my travel preferences.

Slow Travel

Slow travel is when you spend a longer amount of time in one destination, often for about a month or two of time or even longer. This type of travel would be more like living in a location for a set amount of time, all with just a couple bags packed to go with you. 

Keep in mind this would still be moving around without the intent to more permanently move there (although I can't say you won't want to!). You aren't necessarily packing up your entire apartment or home each time you move around. 

My Experience with Slow Travel

Much of my time as a digital nomad I would consider has been slow travel. I spent about 45 days in Toronto, 70 days in Cancun, 10 weeks in Tucson, 8 weeks in Philadelphia, and 38 days in Puerto Rico.

While I was in Tucson, I started to think that I wanted to slim down how long I stayed in a location before moving to the next. But after my fast travel trip across Europe, I've actually started to feel that I want to spend even longer in destinations.

I don't want to feel rushed when I'm in a location to explore everything. Plus I also don't want to leave a location feeling like I didn't get to see everything I wanted to. I started to feel this way with Puerto Rico, as there were other parts of the island I wanted to explore but didn't find the time over the weekends to do.

So Which Do I Prefer?

Now that you know what these two things are, it's time to find out which I prefer, which is...

Slow Travel!

I much prefer to go to a location and spend a lengthy amount of time there to really learn about the history and the culture of the area. With each new slow travel destination, I try to do my research before booking the destination to find out how much there is to do in that destination and if I feel those are things I want to do while I'm there.

And once I book a new destination, I start a document with what all is in the area I want to do and try to prioritize which are the must-do items to knock out first, then have additional ideas if time allows.

I don't want to feel the need that I have to be doing more. I want to still try to live a fairly normal life even as a digital nomad, and that doesn't mean I have to explore every single day. Slow travel gives me just that.

 

In all honesty, you can really fall into liking fast travel, slow travel, or both. You don't have to prefer one over the other, and you can do both and be perfectly happy. You could also like both but lean more towards liking one. Your travel preferences are your own to choose and change as you see fit.

Comment below with which type of travel you prefer and why it appeals to you!

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