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Personal finance

Slow down to travel better

March 9, 2023

You return home with a nice tan, suitcases full of souvenirs and your Instagram profile plastered with epic photos. EVERYTHING got crossed off your list … except maybe some "R&R"? If you sometimes feel like you need a vacation to recover from your vacation, it may be time to travel differently. 

What is slow travel?

Slow travel (or slow tourism) is a travel philosophy inspired by the slow movement, which encourages people to slow the pace of life down, lighten up and enjoy the simple things. 

When it comes to activities and sites to see, it's quality over quantity. 

Take time to soak up the beauty of your surroundings. Meet the local people and merchants. Discover a place's customs and uncover its secret. Take in every moment.

There's no need to cross items off a list of destinations crammed into a tight schedule. This reimagined way of travelling is spontaneous and improvised. There's no particular framework and no "official guide for the perfect slow traveller" to follow. 

Some employers allow remote work from abroad. So, why not telework all winter from an apartment in Lima, Peru? Or spend a month experiencing the Loire Valley grape harvest? Better yet, why not enjoy a long weekend at a cabin relaxing in nature on Simon Lake? Discover the area at a slow pace with openness and mindfulness.

Slow travel saves money

This slow and different way of travelling is relaxing and budget-friendly. 

  • By moving away from city centres, you support small-scale producers and merchants instead of paying high prices in tourist hubs. It also means consuming sustainably External link. This link will open in a new window. by supporting local suppliers and businesses.
  • By limiting the number of activities and the distance between them, you save on entrance fees and travel costs.
  • Staying in one place longer means better rates on accommodation and rentals.
  • This pace of life naturally lends itself to buying groceries and cooking your own meals at a lower cost instead of eating out 3 times a day. 
  • By centralizing your activities in one city or region, you can more easily get around on foot, by bike or by public transit instead of having to rent a car.

Eco-friendly travelling

Slow travel also embraces certain eco-responsible values for those who adopt it. It encourages active travel (like biking and walking) and carpooling to use less gas, as well as a general reduction in consumption. For longer trips, choose trains (less polluting than planes) as you have plenty of time to enjoy the scenery. To learn more about this topic, a podcast External link. This link will open in a new window. (in French only) hosted by Karl Hardy from our Table Rase series highlights a number of eco-friendly alternatives to travel more ethically without compromising on fun! 

Save up to get away

You want a trip's enriching experiences and authentic moments etched in your memory for a lifetime—not necessarily on your credit card statement. 

Here's an easy way to do it: 

  1. Estimate a trip's cost. For example, $4,000.
  2. Set a timeline. When do you want to get away? For example, in a year.
  3. Determine how much you need to set aside weekly, every 2 weeks or monthly to accumulate enough money by then. For example, $77 per week for a year.
  4. Set up automatic transfers External link. This link will open in a new window. to a dedicated account to save without a second thought.

Saving for slow travel—especially if you're going away for a long period—helps you relax knowing you already have a financial cushion for just that purpose.

If you have unused contribution room, a tax-free savings account (TFSA) External link. This link will open in a new window. is a good vehicle to transfer your savings for these types of projects. The money generates tax-free returns and withdrawals aren't taxable.

> 4 ways to reach your savings goals

Travel with peace of mind

When the big moment arrives that you've been patiently saving for, you want to enjoy it to the fullest. Although you've carefully planned your humanitarian aid trip to Chad or your climb of Mount Makalu on the border between China and Nepal, things may not go exactly as planned. Getting customized travel insurance External link. This link will open in a new window. is a prudent way to prevent a cancellation, health problems or lost luggage from ruining your plans.

So, where to?

Slow travel is a wild card. It's an invitation to plan and take a different kind of trip, without pressure and crowds, while saving money and reducing your environmental footprint. All you need to start dreaming (and planning) about it is an idea...