WHY YOU SHOULD TRY SLOW TRAVEL

In a world where chasing growth and productivity gains is a requirement why not enjoy a holiday for what it should be, that is a time to relax, reflect, and connect with family, friends and perhaps even strangers? Interestingly though most of us these days want to make the most out of our holidays and so we plan with excitement itineraries that will look like a bucket list of busy, must-see places. The result? We rush from one place to the next, pound the pavement for hours and try to cram in as many experiences as possible within each day. A first world problem, no doubt but why not consider slow travel next time?

What is it?

Slow travel is not new and people started talking about it along with the concept of slow food which came to life in the 1980s when MacDonald’s came to conquer the European market. In response to fast food, the slow food movement was and still is about regional cuisine, local farming, and preserving traditional food preparation. As a result, both slow travel and slow food emphasise the need to connect with the land, traditions, culture, local people and family/friends.

Slow travel is not so much a concept as it is a mindset, it encourages you to immerse yourself with a particular culture, to explore more thoroughly a region and to keep time for yourself so you can enjoy the present moment. While most may think of slow travel as a fly/stay holiday, it can take many forms. River cruises, rail journeys, small yacht adventures, walking holidays are other ways to slowly engage with fellow travellers, locals and the land. Each of these options give you the opportunity to slow-down and even stop where you feel most comfortable before moving on when you feel ready.

Slow travel is generally best enjoyed outside of major fast paced urban centres, which means you are less likely to face overtourism, and pollution. Similarly, you are less likely to negatively impact the environment. As a slow traveller, you tend to travel less far, enjoy the occasional bike ride or walk. Some even argue that you are likely to consume and spend less but I am personally not convinced. In my world, there is generally so much food to taste, wine to test and cheese farms to visit that you might feel inclined to contribute to the local economy more than you expected.

Freed from the pressure of ‘seeing and doing everything’, you have more time to learn the local dialect and may find yourself getting to know the local baker. You will also find more time to engage in deep and meaningful conversations with your partner, family or friends.

Who is it for?

Obviously, it suits people that prefer to take it slow but beyond that I think slow travel will suit people that have enjoyed travelling in a particular country but were left with a desire to experience more. If that sounds like you then I recommend learning about the various regions within that country and evaluating what suits you best.

I also think slow travel is great for family reunions or multi-family holidays. Being part of a larger group of people gives you an opportunity to rent properties with a bit of history that will have you imagine what life may have been like as a local. You may also be able to afford a budget for the services of a local chef that will prepare degustation menus every day of the week using local produce, or even organise cooking classes… I can see myself there!

Where to go?

Slow travel arguably has its roots in Southern Europe and so Italy, France, Spain come to mind right away but that is not to say that Russia or India have nothing to offer. Places with a good choice of holiday rentals and historical heritage as well as attractions provide the best environment for a slow travel holiday.

Tuscany, Italy

The Tuscan region in Italy has a wide choice of stunning villas and other majestic properties sitting on a hillside and generally equipped with beautiful and family friendly pools. The cultural and culinary heritage is like no other and local craftsmanship provides for plenty of opportunities to learn more about woodwork, jewellery, etc. Go for a bike ride and finish with a coffee at local terrace while the rest of the family is poolside. Choices are endless.

 

 

Dordogne, France

The Dordogne Valley is arguably one of the most beautiful places to visit in France. Unlike the Loire Valley, the Dordogne’s portfolio of castles is limited. It feels more rural, isolated. Dordogne is not about manic sightseeing but rather picturesque villages… You will want to wander around the vertical village of Rocamadour, taste food at local village markets, hunt truffles and canoe down the Dordogne river, all within reason and without rushing it!

 

Basque country, Spain

The Basque Country is a small region across both South West France and North Spain. It is a unique region where locals consider themselves neither French or Spanish and where Euskara (the local language) is widely spoken. Strong culinary traditions, and a distinctive geographic and cultural landscape, fairy tale-like villages and modern architectural landmarks make it a beautiful place to visit. The Basque country is also known for its gastronomy, cider, surf and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Take it one day at a time!

   

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Natalie Amanda
Natalie Amanda
22:16 09 May 20
Highly recommended St Ives Travel. Competitive with price and above and beyond service. Will definitely use this local agency again.read more
LAURA GREGOR
LAURA GREGOR
00:46 08 May 20
I have used St Ives Travel for organising and booking many of my holidays over the past few years, and recently specifically with Emily. Due to the unfortunate circumstances surrounding Covid-19 and not being able to travel, we had to cancel two large overseas bookings we had made. This was very disappointing for us, however Emily made this process so smooth and trouble free for us, dealing with the cancellations/postponing of flights and hotels, so we didn't have to worry. I could not recommend her and the team at St Ives Travel enough!! We are truly grateful for the time and effort they put into making our experience easy!read more
rowena coleman
rowena coleman
10:14 26 Jan 20
Always have had fantastic holidays booked by Emily . Would not hesitate to recommend . The service and advice is very professional and attention to detail is outstanding . We love travelling and Emily provides a stream lined worry free experience . Well done !read more
Elizabeth Williams
Elizabeth Williams
08:58 05 Jan 20
When I went to China in 2019, I was given assistance by Adelina which was most helpful.I went to New Zealand in December and again was given all the help I needed cheerfully and courteously !! I recommend St Ives Travel and will definitely use them again.read more
Brian   Selby
Brian Selby
00:11 15 Dec 19
WE have used St Ives Travel, especially Genevieve Westgarth for well over 10 years. She has arranged many amazing holidays for us , both overseas and in Australia. We let her arrange our flights and holidays and have never had any problems. She is a lovely person to deal with and always comes back with quick replies if she does not know the answer. I would not hesitate to recommend St Ives Travel, especially Genevieve.read more
Alvaro Rivanera
Alvaro Rivanera
04:48 29 Nov 19
I'm a single parent, and had to organise travel for myself and my children travelling overseas to the US. Given I don't travel often, I chose the aid of a travel agent to assist with tickets, connections, etc.At St Ives Travel, I was treated with the utmost courtesy, given advice for things I had not even considered, and the service did not end there.Throughout the holiday, I had someone to contact in case of anything, and they assisted in making the flights over and back the most comfortable possible.The best experience I could have hoped for, and looking forward to the next trip!read more
Ian Beasley
Ian Beasley
21:14 18 Nov 19
We have planned trips with St Ives travel for more than 7 years. In that time we have had no issues. All our arrangements have progressed perfectly.Because of their expertise and meticulous attention to detail we would have no hesitation in giving them the highest recommendation. Ian and Barbara Beasleyread more
Sue Doherty
Sue Doherty
03:57 17 Nov 19
I assumed that going to a travel agent would be the best way to book a holiday but when booking a trip to the UK through Vietnam for my husband and myself the agent advise was wrong, we were told we didn’t need a visa during transit we did, we were told we needed a visa for our 2 day stop over, we were told this would have been provided by the Vietnam Airline also we didn’t have the room to use during our long stop over and the late check out on our way back. Not very impressive.read more
Fred Barton
Fred Barton
01:52 07 Nov 19
We are very happy with the service we have received in booking our upcoming holiday. The recommendations have been exactly what we want.read more
John Boughton
John Boughton
05:31 06 Nov 19
We have had nothing but complete satisfaction with St ives Travel over many years especially in our dealings with Adelina who provides excellent service. She has taken time to understand our travel preferences and many times offers up travel proposals that meet our expectations. Adelina is always a pleasure to deal with and at the same time is very thorough and highly reliable. We couldn't arrange our travel without her.John and Jenny Boughtonread more
LARRY BLAND
LARRY BLAND
04:26 05 Nov 19
St.Ives Travel have never let me down. I'm totally confident if I book a trip or flight it will be as ordered. I get back-up if things change and I trust my Personal consultant, Adelina Arancibia, in her professionalism, attention to details & commitment to my needs. Adelina crosses the "T"s & dots the "i"s in my travel plans.........if there is a better or cheaper alternative I am advised. Cruises are their specialty and I have enjoyed many. I have cruised 140 days, over 80 flights & visited 65 Countries, 650 Cities on 6 continents. I have seen Antarctica on a Holland America cruise which is the 7th continent. I have had upgrades & extra on-board incentives. I trust St. Ives Travel & in over 10 years and 20 tours I can recommend their personalised service and dedication to their customer's peace of mind and pleasurable travel experiences. I can't thank them enough!read more
Pat Plenge
Pat Plenge
09:20 18 Oct 19
I’m a Uni student in St ives and I booked my Europe tour with st ives travel. They knew everything about all the destinations and every little detail that may have caught me out if I didn’t see a travel agent. Would recommend booking here if your looking for well travelled and experienced consultants. Very happyread more
David Dubos
David Dubos
03:13 05 Oct 19
A travel agency normally lives and breathes flight bookings doesn't it and can do a quote in few seconds or minutes can't it?. I made a phone call Tuesday for a flights quote. Half a response with no options finally on Thursday. No further response by Saturday either to the other two flights requested or to a simple direct question regarding use of points.Pathetic. All I can think is maybe they don't make enough money off it so the service is rock bottom? Do you own - don't bother with this pathetic outfit!read more
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