Slow Travel in Palau - The Hollapinos
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(Last Updated On: October 1, 2020)

I came across an Instagram post with a caption that mentioned “Slow Travel”.

What is Slow Travel?

I got curious about slow travel and searched the word online.  Most of the search results are from blog posts.

Slow Travel in Palau - The Hollapinos
Slow Travel in Palau

Before clicking the links to these posts, I tried to search more from online informational resources what slow travel means. To my surprise, it was not there.

Still not convinced, I tried to search more in-depth and I came to an article linking it to the Slow Movement.

Slow Movement promotes slowing life’s pace. It originated after a petition against opening a McDonald’s in Rome.

They said the rush of modern life affected the Italian food culture of eating multiple course meals and overall healthy eating habits.

Nowadays, people are into everything in express. Sadly, it has started to affect how people travel.

Milky Way Palau - The Hollapinos
After rinsing the white mud in Milky Way, Koror, Palau

I am curious…

Have you felt that your vacation is as stressful as your day at work?

Have you tried running with your luggage either to catch the next train schedule to Italy or to make it to your flight to Paris?

Did you either rush eating lunch or order a takeaway meal in a fast food place so that you can keep up with your itinerary schedule?

Have you experienced a full day itinerary and had low energy the next day for another full day itinerary?

Have you returned from a vacation and felt so exhausted that you wanted an extra day off before going back to work?

Did you file a vacation from work for 3 days but ended up calling on the 4th day for a sick leave?

Have you posted a picture online and get so many likes but when you were asked about the place or culture, you can’t say that much?

Did you ever want to squeeze in your itinerary because you wanted to post in social media that you went all over Europe in 10 days?

For sure, most of us will say yes to some of the above questions. Yours truly will do.

Why I need to slow travel - The Hollapinos

What is slow travel?

Before coming across the term slow travel, Mike and I are already practicing this with our travels.

We always use these phrases “We just want to relax.”, “We just want to take our time.” or “We just want to rush.”.

Thank you to whoever made that Instagram post with slow travel in their caption, we now have a shorter term for what we do.

If the online informational resource sites don’t have the definition of slow travel, I will not try to establish a definite meaning to slow travel but I can give you a real-life scenario.

Cebu Canyoneering - The Hollapinos
Cebu Canyoneering

One example is our recent trip. We planned our vacation for 10 days to go to Moalboal in Cebu, Siquijor, and Dumaguete.

When some people heard about our trip, they asked: “Why don’t you go to Bohol too?”.  I replied that we wanted to take our time. We wanted 4 days and 3 nights for each location so we can enjoy the experience

Someone still insisted, “But you can still enjoy Bohol even for a day?”. I responded, “Believe me. It’s not our thing anymore.”. I guess that’s already slow travelling.

We could have planned our vacation to be longer but we still have jobs to keep.  We are lucky to be able to do long vacations.

Plus, we always go to Cebu as this place cannot be fully explored in 1 or 2 visits.  We can travel to Bohol the next time we visit Cebu again.

If not, we have enough memories in our travels on this island that will last a lifetime.

What will you get from slow travel?

Slow travel will make you content.

The thinking that you will only be in this place once in your lifetime is the killer.  It might be true, it might be not. 

If it’s true then so what? Are you not going to have fun in just one place?

Slow travel allows you to enjoy a place to the fullest in such a way that it is okay if this is the only place you travel to.

If it’s not, you are lucky.  But you are not missing out on anything if you only check six out of the best places to go in French Polynesia.

It’s just a matter of good choices. Keep in mind that not everyone can travel too.

YOLO is good.  Quality over quantity is better. A combination of both is the best.

The Louvre Museum in Paris - The Hollapinos
A quick tour at the Louvre Museum in Paris

You will give a deeper meaning to travel.

A few years ago, I travelled to Italy with friends for a dragon boat race.

Since it was our first time to travel in Europe and might be the last, we squeezed in our 10-day itinerary to race, to explore more of Italy, and to travel to Switzerland and Paris.

Unfortunately, we were only able to give Paris a day tour before going back to Manila.

If you will ask me how my trip to Paris was, I will tell you I had a picture outside the Notre-Dame and the Louvre Museum.

I also had a photo near the Eiffel Tower which wasn’t that good because we didn’t have time to go to where it looks good from a distance.

I did get a lot of likes when I posted my pictures on social media. But is this what we were spending our money on?

I wished we could have stayed in one place and explored deeper about that place than just collecting photos for our Instagram feeds.

You will connect more with the place.

A few years ago, I travelled solo to Palau for a week. I chose this destination because I don’t know anyone who has gone to Palau.

The experience of swimming with the jellyfish is one of a kind. I enjoyed hanging out with their lovely beaches.

Surprisingly, I discovered that there were a lot of Filipinos working in Palau.

They claimed their number was more than the citizens of Palau which seems to be true because I met a lot of Filipinos there.

Also, there are no cinemas, malls nor bars in Palau. Nature is your entertainment.

This place is pretty much laid back which made it perfect for slow travel.

Swimming with the jellyfish in Palau - The Hollapinos
Swimming with the jellyfish in Palau

About The Photo:

The Jellyfish Lake in Palau reminded me of the Kayangan Lake in Coron, Philippines. The landscape was similar except that the lake in Palau has jellyfish while the lake in Coron has needlefish.

You will have fun with the locals when you slow travel.

There were several amazing white beaches in Palau but some of the locals told me to visit a nice beach under the bridge. They said it was free to go there and most locals stay there during the weekend.

I went there and true enough, it was a nice beach. Some locals were hanging out there. I had an amazing chat with them.

A little girl hung out with me the whole day.  I asked her what she wants to be when she grows up.

She asked me instead “What do I need to be to earn a lot of money?”. I didn’t expect that from a child and up to now that memory gives a smile to my heart.

With slow travel, that ordinary beach became extraordinary because of the memories I had in that place.

You can take a pause.

One time I was walking and passed by a basketball court. My travel is so slow that I have time for anything. I stopped and watched a full game of the students.

The girls, who I am sitting along the bench with, didn’t even notice that I am not from there because I was cheering with them.

There was a day when locals invited me to a CrossFit class and a badminton session on another day. For sure, I am not ready for that because I did not pack the type of shoes needed for those activities but I gave it a go.

Unfortunately, I injured myself in that Crossfit session but it gave me another memory in Palau because I seldom injure myself.

There was also a day that before touring, I accompanied the hotel owner to the grocery. She told me that the people of Palau mainly depend on exports for their food.

She also mentioned that some exports come from the Philippines.

Because of that, I remember her every time I see a cargo ship with Palau label docked in Manila bay.

Rock Islands Palau
Rock Islands in Palau

Slow travel will make you discover more about yourself.

My travel to Palau made me more independent.  I was alone in a place where I didn’t know anyone and I had to make decisions on my own.

I also learned that I am the only one who is responsible to protect myself.

After that solo travel, I realized I like being alone most of the time. That I like doing things on my own, that I can be happy even if I am alone.

What did you discover about yourself when you travel?

You live like a local and save money when you slow travel.

Most of our accommodations are in homestays like when we travelled in Batanes, hostels like when we travelled in Seoul and Siquijor  or Airbnbs like when we travelled in California.

READ  Is It Safe To Fly Right Now?

We also stay in hotels in some of our travels but we prefer to stay in small businesses.

Aside from saving money, small business owners treat us as a guest in their home, not as a guest in their business. Interacting with our hosts gave us more knowledge about the place and we also enjoy the conversation.

When we had our trip to Cebu, going from the city to Moalboal will take about 3 to 4 hours depending on traffic and mode of transportation.

Our options are between renting a private car or riding a bus.

We wanted to do it like the locals so we took the bus and we saved 90% of the transportation cost.

Although Mike and I have not fully experienced the “Live like a local” concept as we have limited vacation days, we do what the locals do as much as we can.

If you can take a vacation for a long time, you can slow travel by staying in homestays.

You can buy food from the market and cook it in your homestay. This is a win-win situation as you help small businesses and save on your travel costs at the same time.

Then spend some time with the locals and discover so much about the place.  You will learn something new from the locals and they will learn from you too.

Sardines Run Moalboal - The Hollapinos
Sardines Run in Moalboal: Worth running for!

When you slow travel, you will learn to take your time and apply it to your lifestyle.

Mike and I agreed to take the day off when we arrived in Moalboal. We were tired from flying from Manila to Cebu then commuting going to Moalboal.

We just socialized with the owner and he made us coffee. After that, we walked to the nearby beach and chillax for a while then we went to dinner.

When we went back to our homestay, we met other travellers who just came back from touring. We learned that they arrived a few hours after we checked-in and they started their itinerary as soon as they arrive.

In my thoughts, that’s not for us!

After Cebu, we went to Siquijor then took a day off again from touring after we arrived and we did the same thing when we travelled from Siquijor to Dumaguete.

To slow travel, you should be okay to take a day off too. Just relax and connect with yourself and your travel companion.

You will notice that even in your daily life, you are okay not to rush and to take a day off when you get tired to allow yourself to recover.

Slow travel will make you see all the best details in a place.

Have you travelled to a place and booked a flight to a nearby country for a day just to say that you have gone there?

Italy offers a lot of amazing places to visit. But I know some people who booked a flight to Paris to stay there for a night and then went back to Italy.

Travelling in Europe is not cheap and booking flights to rush to get to places can skyrocket your travel budget.

When you slow travel, you will be able to explore more of Italy and save more on riding the train to other places than an overnight trip to Paris by plane.

Italy may not have the Eiffel Tower but it does offer several stunning places like Tuscany and Cinque Terre that will also take your breath away.

We have to learn that travelling is not just how many places you visited but how you felt about the experience.

Travel in Italy
The busy Grand Canal in Italy

You will be unique.

Mike and I went to French Polynesia on our honeymoon for 5 days.  Most people will explore Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, and other islands when they go to French Polynesia.

We decided to stay on one island only and get the most out of it after we did our research to compare the different islands of French Polynesia.

We both agreed to stay in Moorea as it is less crowded, less expensive, and offers both water and land activities compared to Bora Bora.

Some may comment that we should have not missed going to Bora Bora but we never felt that we missed out on anything.

JOMO is real.

During our honeymoon, we enjoyed running in Moorea in the morning to stay active and appreciate the landscapes.

Most people will rent a scooter or a car so they can quickly go around Moorea in a day or two then move to the next island.

On the contrary, we biked around Moorea

We biked on the main road, the pineapple plantation, and going up to the viewpoint of Mount Belvedere. It was not easy!

But since we were not rushing, we have time to rest after that.

There’s too much to explore in Moorea that we can’t imagine sharing our 5 days to Moorea and another island.

When you slow travel, you will not be stressed during your vacation.

Have you ever searched for a full day itinerary online?

If yes, what are the factors you consider when following an uploaded itinerary or creating your itinerary? Is it the budget or more places to go?

You are on the right track if you consider the budget.

If you choose more places to go, did you also consider the intervals of scheduled activities? Is it an itinerary where you are in one place today and on another the following day?

I hope it’s not going to make you run with your luggage either to catch the next train schedule or to make it to your flight. Some people like the adrenaline rush but are you ready for frustration when things go wrong.

Woman Running on Hallway
Woman Running on Hallway; Photo by Flickr

I hope it’s not going to make you run with your luggage either to catch the next train schedule or to make it to your flight. Some people like the adrenaline rush but are you ready for frustration when things go wrong.

I hope that itinerary will not make you rush just to keep up with the schedule like a day at work that you need to submit a report at the end of the day. You deserve to sit, relax and enjoy your meal or that good coffee in between travelling.

If you do a full-packed itinerary for multiple days, there will be days that you don’t have the same energy as the other day. Is that what you want?

You will go back ready for work.

Some people include an extra day in their leave at work just to rest from a vacation because they said they will be too tired after travelling.  If you expected it then you can also prevent it, right?

Others will call in sick at work after their vacation even if they were not sick but because they got so tired from their trip.

An itinerary is optional.

When you slow travel, you choose where you will go and take your time to explore and enjoy the place. Do your homework and plan your travel but do not overdo it.

Overplanning may lead you to put too many activities that you can handle in a day.

Or sometimes having no itinerary is a good thing too. Ask the locals and you will be guided.

You are in control of your own time when you slow travel.

Have you ever joined a group tour that has a full day itinerary? 

How did you feel when the group went to a garden with beautiful autumn foliage then the guide told you that you only have 30 minutes to go around because you still have other places to go?

Joining a group travel tour in South Korea
Joining a group tour in South Korea

When you slow travel, you are in control of how long you want to stay in a place.

We love group tours as this allows us to meet other travellers but your time is also affected by people who are not punctual.

We joined a group tour in El Nido and we waited for more than an hour because there was a big group who was not ready when the guide went to their hotel to pick them up.

The time we waited for them is the time that we could have extended our sleep or talked to each other longer during breakfast.

You may opt to DIY (Do It Yourself) your tours instead or book tour packages that do not cover that many items so you can stay longer in a place.

When we DIY our tours, we rent a bike or a scooter to go around places.

If a boat ride going to an island is too expensive, we ask the boatman to help us get other people to share the boat with us. Again, the locals can help you.

Should you slow travel?

Slow travel may not be for everyone. Some may find it boring or may not fit in their preference.

If you think it’s not for you, that’s okay. Everyone has their preference.

Are you already slow travelling? That’s good news! You will make the most out of your travel.

Are you curious but not sure if slow travel is for you? Just try it and see if you will like it.

Did you say yes to some or most of my questions at the start of this post? If you did, then share this post with your family and friends because you know they will say yes to those questions too.

Slow Travel in Palau - The Hollapinos
Slow Travel in Palau

PIN for later!

Slow Travel Pin

P.S. Don’t leave yet! You might like this post about Breaking 7 Travel Stereotypes and Making Travel Meaningful.


  1. Traveling can be really fun and can also be stressful at the same time specially if your time spent for travel is only limited. Even a week travel is not enough to satisfy you and not enough time to explore a certain country.

    1. Hi M-1 Visa! Thank you for taking the time to comment on our article. We couldn’t agree with more on how stressful travel can be. We’ve been there and done that more than once. Hopefully the insights we have provided will help make your next travel less stressful and more enjoyable. Take care.

  2. This is such a brilliant post, you make so many great points! You are right, often on holiday we rush around trying to cram everything in, not wanting to miss out on any experiences. When we slow down, we notice more, feel less stressed and come home feeling relaxed and recharged. My favourite thing to do on holiday is those long leisurely lunches where you take your time, enjoy the food, take in the scenery and soak up the sun. Thanks for sharing – lovely post! <3 xx

    Bexa |

    1. Hi Bexa! Thank you so much for your comment and taking the time to do so. We are so happy that you enjoyed our article and found the meaning and value in it. We couldn’t agree with you more in the benefits of feeling less stressed, feeling relaxed and recharged. Isn’t that the whole point of vacation travel? Enjoy your future “slow travels” and take care.

  3. What a brilliant post! I’ve never thought about it that way to be honest, although I ‘travel slow’ naturally haha. I do think people are indeed often too focused on the destination to notice they forget to enjoy the trip. Such a shame!

  4. I think the key is to travel at your own pace! While sometime we love to spend a few days at the same place, often we also love to have every day filled with activities. A good mix of both slow and fast travel is what works best for us : few days of slow travel, few days of fast travel!

  5. I’m a big fan of slow travelling too. I have had some packed schedules in the past and it never really worked out, I just love to get on a bus and wander around aimlessly!
    I think the only time I really had a tour de force and managed it was when we ended up in Disneyland in Paris for one day instead of two and I tried to get as much in as I could. We did nothing but rock up to a restaurant, eat lunch and take the Eurostar back the next day though, I don’t know why anyone would want to pack a schedule for more days in a row. Also, your photos are so beautiful, I really enjoyed them as much as your thoughts.

  6. I have become a big fan of you since I engaged with your fantastic blog, the way you write and spreed the information are absolutely fantastic, so great informative and well written down, we loved it.

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The Author

Katie is a Software Quality Assurance Analyst by profession. She is also a dragon boat paddler, a Crossfit athlete, and a weightlifter by passion. She has travelled within Asia, Europe, and Micronesia before meeting Mike.

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