So you’ve heard of slow food, right? Slow food is all about eating fresh, local, sustainable food – thinking about what you eat and how your choices affect the environment and support farmers and businesses. It’s a great way to shop and eat, and it’s rewarding too – knowing that you’re eating thoughtfully, and making a difference.
But have you ever thought of applying similar rules to how you holiday? We jet off to foreign climes, race around theme parks and whizz around on jet skis (and yes, as a frequent traveller I certainly have guilt about my own carbon footprint), but it’s not just about the environment – how about considering a slower holiday?
Cycling is a wonderful way to really immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of your holiday destination. Many holiday companies will arrange for decent bikes to be available on arrival, and will either provide a guide, or plan routes and provide maps so you can make your own way around, arranging for manageable rides between hotels (you can choose how far and how challenging the ride will be – perfect if you’re travelling with kids), and transferring your luggage along the way, meaning that you can travel at your own page. Routes are well thought out and stick to quieter roads and country lanes wherever possible.
I love the idea of cycling around the Loire Valley, taking in vineyards (with a little wine tasting thrown in, obviously) and châteaux along the way (try Inntravel for cycling holidays like this).
If you imagine a walking holiday to be a nightmarish daily trudge from one hotel to another, you’re quite a way away from the reality. Walks are planned for you in advance, with routes and maps provided, and again you can choose the level of walk you’re comfortable with. Centred walking holidays focus on one or two base hotels, with planned walks of different grades provided from your base location(s) so you can explore the local area. In Croatia (an area I’ve always wanted to visit), you can explore the Dalmatian coast with walks that take in Croatia’s beautiful olive groves and medieval towns, as well as plenty of time to relax by the sea.
Now I’m not exactly known for my love of camping, but there is a lot to be said for getting back to nature on holiday. Even getting out on a walk or bike ride is somehow a detox from the pace of normal life.
In a Campsites.co.uk survey a while back, people overwhelmingly said that slowing down and reconnecting with nature was their favourite thing about camping. And we could all do with disconnecting a bit more often!
As you can see, I’m not suggesting that we all give up flying. I know that’s never going to happen, but cycling, walking and camping holidays can be a fabulous way to really slow things down once you reach your destination, take it easy and soak up more of the area you’re visiting.