On Sunday, Rueben and I sat in a very busy Starbucks in the middle of Mexico City and enjoyed hearing nothing but Spanish while drinking our iced beverages. On Monday, we sat at another coffee shop, BlendStation, and listened to nothing but English speakers on conference calls while eating our sandwiches.
While we haven’t done a ton of exploring yet, we feel totally okay with it. One reason is that we were in Mexico City a couple of months ago and we explored, but another reason is that we have time. Since we’re traveling long-term now, it takes the pressure off of having to cram all our activities into one week.
A big part of our decision to sell our belongings and move out of our apartment (instead of just visiting places) was that we didn’t want to limit ourselves. If we want to spend a month in one locale, we can. If we don’t like it and want to move on, we can! Right now we don’t have plans for November, and that’s ok. We’ll figure something out since we have time.
So what are other benefits of slow travel I’ve noticed so far?
- Slow travel has helped with my anxiety. Instead of having jam packed days where we go from one place to another trying to see it all, we’re taking our time and relaxing. We’ve slept in, sat down to eat almost every meal (we walked while eating pastries for breakfast today), and have been sitting in cafes or restaurants just people watching or doing our daily tasks. We’re living like locals, which was our goal. Sure, we’re going to do touristy things, but we’re also going to go about our days like we’re still in the states, just with new scenery.
- Traveling slowly allows you to really see the area you’re visiting. We’ve gone to a lot of different neighborhoods, and all of them have their own feel and secret gems. We booked an apartment on Airbnb for $21/night in a neighborhood totally new to us, and it’s been great finding places to eat (like the awesome taco place next to the awesome bakery at the end of our block) and stores to get snacks and water. You also have more time to visit museums, national monuments, and other noted sites that you may not get to otherwise.
- Having more time in one place really gets you immersed in your surroundings. We’re learning more Spanish, saying hola to more people since we see them often, and really getting used to the culture. Sure, we set up our Chromecast and watched Netflix, but that made it feel like less of a vacation (which we aren’t on) and more like ‘home’.
- Another reason it feels more like home – you can cook meals when you stay in one place for awhile. Experience new grocery stores and markets, buy new products, and save money while doing it!
- On the saving money train, slow traveling means you’ll spend less on transportation expenses. When you’re trying to do a lot in your given 7-10 days of vacation, you’ll most likely buy a train ticket or plane ticket to another location. If you slow travel, you’ll spend more time in one place and have ample time to research pricing on hotels and airfare to your next location. We’re staying put in Puerto Escondido for a month not just because we love it, but because we wanted to get to know the people and the city more. We were there for a week in June and only got to see a fraction of what the coastal town has to offer, so we’re looking forward to doing and seeing more. Plus, staying in one Airbnb for a month definitely gets you a discount!
a beautiful sight on one of our walks in Mexico City
Rueben said the other day, ‘we can go anywhere we want to’, and it kind of blew my mind. No, we aren’t rich and able to afford going anywhere at any time, but we can work from wherever we’d like, and budget travel like we have been. We stay at hotels or Airbnbs that cost less daily than our old apartment in Austin costs, and try not to spend more than $15-20 per meal total. We’re also walking more as to not spend money on ride shares (which are cheap and very tempting). Rueben has a whole travel budget spreadsheet that I’ll share soon.
Slow travel benefits are plentiful, and I shared a few that have strongly stood out to me. Tell me your favorite things about slow travel!