This style of travel is becoming increasingly popular with the over 50s and can offer a richer and more relaxing experience

By Ed and Cynthia Staton

Slow travel emphasizes staying in one place long enough to connect with the local people, culture, food and music.

This article is reprinted with permission from

Travel for most of us falls into two categories: vacations and road trips.

Vacations are when your daily life is at its most stressful, so you arrive at your destination to relax and do as little as possible the entire time you’re there.

Travel is when you think you might only be in a special place once in your life, so you rush around trying to cram in as many activities, excursions and photos as possible.

Each approach comes with its own problems. Vacationers often spend the first few days of their free time unwinding, and the last few days mulling over problems awaiting their return. People on package tours who don’t miss anything can be so exhausted by the last day that they feel they need a break.

What is slow travel?

The good news is that there is a new form of travel popular with the over-50s that strikes a happy medium between these two extremes. It’s called slow travel.

Inspired by the slow food movement that began in Italy in the 1980s as a reaction to the proliferation of fast food restaurants, slow travel started, well, slowly. It has accelerated significantly since the COVID pandemic upended travel and Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne, the world’s first hospitality school, expects to grow by 10% annually.

Slow travel emphasizes staying in one place long enough to connect personally with the local people, culture, food and even music. Although purists recommend avoiding tourist spots in favor of places that are off the beaten path, there are no hard and fast rules. You decide where, how and for what period of time to apply these basic principles:

Don’t miss: This 82-year-old woman ended up traveling alone in France for 3 weeks and it turned out pretty awesome

Why consider slow travel

How to be a slow traveler

As full-time travelers for the past few years, we’ve practiced slow travel without knowing it was a “thing.” The benefits were evident during a recent visit to Europe when we spent two weeks each in Lisbon, Madrid, Bordeaux and Paris.

The more relaxed pace in these popular cities with tons of attractions allowed us to see all the sights, randomly wander through interesting neighborhoods, and guilt-free do nothing on the days we should have rested. Sometimes we planned our own outings, but when it made more sense, we didn’t hesitate to book a guided tour. We are not purists!

If slow travel sounds intriguing, here are some ideas to get you started:

See: Off-season travel can save you money, but there’s more to consider than just the weather

A different approach

Twenty years ago, “1000 places to see before you die” sounded like a great idea. However, many of us have concluded that collecting passport stamps is too exhausting a hobby to continue pursuing.

Slow travel focuses more on personalized travel design. It’s really a metaphor for a different approach to life: Take your time. Be present. Connect with your surroundings. Practice environmental awareness. Create meaningful moments.

Read next: Don’t let tech issues ruin your trip abroad: Here’s a list of travel tech dos and don’ts

If you’re ready to make your future adventures more memorable, relaxed and enjoyable, join us on the slow road.

Ed and Cynthia Staton write about retirement, living abroad, health and wellness. They are the authors of three bestsellers and the creators of Retirement Reimagined!, an online program to help people considering a retirement move abroad. Visit them at

This article is reprinted with permission from, (c)2023 Twin Cities Public Television, Inc. All rights reserved.

More from Next Avenue:


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

02-02-23 0502ET

Copyright (c) 2023 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *