How Vacation Rentals Help Promote Slow Travel

Article by Noreen Kompanik

I‘ve heard the term “slow travel” tossed around the travel world for a while. It’s intriguing, and I had to find out what it means and how it impacts both our choices and quality of vacationing. Slow travel is just a way to slow down your vacation. It means looking for meaningful, quality-filled travel experiences instead of the fast-paced run everywhere; do everything, cram-it-all-in mentality of today.

Choosing the Right Place to Stay
We love vacation rentals. First, they’re all-inclusive in the sense that everything is there for you. And, you can find one in practically every destination in the world. Whether you’re a lover of the beach, mountains, desert, tropics or the frozen tundra, there’s a vacation rental out there waiting for you. Choosing the right one can bring in a bounty of wonderful experiences along with it.

Creating Memorable Moments
We’ve greeted the sunrise on an idyllic bay in San Diego, and over the desert of Tucson, Arizona. We toasted the sunset over the Sea of Cortez on a pool deck in Cabo San Lucas. And, we’ll always remember looking up at an amazing star-studded night sky in an outdoor Jacuzzi in California Wine Country while watching a shooting star pass overhead. Every one of these moments was unforgettable because the location we chose allowed us to take in all these natural wonders.

“Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it.” – Soren Kierkegaard

And we didn’t have to share these intimate experiences with mobs of tourists.

Convenience of Home Away from Home
What does the convenience of a vacation rental have to do with slow travel? A lot.

On our most recent visit to Hawaii’s Big Island, we woke each morning to a pot of freshly brewed Kona coffee. We took our morning cuppa’ Joe to our outdoor lanai that overlooked the sparkling cerulean waters of the Pacific, and started out our day slowly, at the pace we decided.

Our living room became the place where the family gathered after a day of hiking and exploring. With a fully-furnished kitchen we had some dinners in, and then sat on our balcony and celebrated the sunset without the hustle and bustle of a crowded restaurant. We went native, visiting the local farmer’s markets and brought back a myriad of fruits and vegetables, not to mention the daily fresh-caught seafood.

Vacation rentals encourage a more relaxed pace to the overall vacation experience. One feels more like they’re “living” vs. just “staying” at a destination. And that’s a huge difference.

Connection to the Destination
Traveling at a slower pace allows you to form a stronger connection to the place you’re visiting.

We find that having a vacation rental helps us do that in a number of ways. First of all, if the rental is themed to the area, we felt the connection the moment we walked inside.

For example, we love traveling to Mexico. Our magnificent seaside vacation rental celebrated Mexican culture and,

embraced Old World Spanish architecture with handcrafted textiles and furnishings from Guadalajara. Its warm earth-tones set a peaceful ambience; so, it wasn’t hard to begin connecting with the destination.

The villa owners provided a helpful notebook with dining suggestions. Whether it was traditional Mexican or Baja-inspired seafood dishes, it gave us the inside track on the best choices. And they were.

We found the best beaches, some known only by locals. Walking along the ocean’s edge, the footprints on the beach were ours and ours alone.

Connection to the People
Getting to know the locals in a destination can only improve the whole vacation experience-immersing ourselves in their language, culture, regional cuisine, and enjoying sights that make each place unique.

A friend of mine rented a vacation home in Bali with an option to include a chef that came to the villa and cooked local specialties for them. My friend loves to cook, and one evening the chef invited her to join him in the kitchen. She said it was one of the best experiences of that trip. The chef not only explained the cuisine, he included stories about its history and cultural relevance.

On a trip to the fishing town of Zihautanejo, Mexico several years ago, we were walking the beach one afternoon and ran into a friendly local named Moses. He held a tattered notebook with faded photos and gleefully, yet humbly, offered us a trip in his nephew’s boat to a remote island for snorkeling.

Not only did we take that day trip which was almost indescribable, but, it included a full seafood lunch on the beach with shrimp and lobster at a friend’s restaurant accompanied with tropical drinks. The cost of that day’s adventure? A mere $100 for two of us!

You can bet that when Moses offered us another excursion, this time to a wildlife preserve, we jumped.

 The Moral of the Story? 
The moral of the story here is that had we never booked a stay at a beach vacation home, we would never have had this opportunity. Soren Kierkegaard in his dissertation on existentialism said “Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it.” How nice to find a way when traveling to truly slow it down and embrace the pleasure.


Noreen L. Kompanik is a Registered Nurse and published freelance travel writer and photographer based in San Diego, California. Traveling with her husband, children and grandchildren is her absolute favorite pastime. Her articles include inspirational writing, sustainable, healthy living, family travel, history, wine and food. She is a member of the International Travel Writers and Photographer’s Association and International Food and Wine Travel Writers Association. She maintains a Facebook page What’s In Your Suitcase? where readers can find her published articles.



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