MANILA, PHILIPPINES — With busier schedules, low-cost flights, great accommodation deals and technology at our fingertips, we have become used to hopscotching through our travel bucket lists. But as the world gradually re-opens its borders and restrictions are slowly being lifted, wouldn’t you want to take things slower and really immerse yourself when your finally get to go on your next trip?
As we take our first steps in the outside world again, we will be cognizant of the longest lockdown in modern history. With the accessibility of international travel, we sometimes forget the undiscovered treasures closer to home, but that’s changing, and especially for the over 35-years old age group.
According to digital travel platform Agoda’s Next Decade Travel survey, travelers in the 35-44 and over 55-year old age groups are most likely to want to explore more of their own countries and territories (40% and 42% respectively), with travelers from China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, The Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, US, and Vietnam choosing domestic destinations within their top three wishlist choices for the coming decade.
Embrace a different pace
While taking a short-haul flight off to neighboring countries has become the norm, an alternative travel movement has been taking shape, helping travelers to slow down the pace and enjoy the ride. Taking a relaxing tram, train, bus, ferry journey or just driving through an encapsulating landscape can be an unforgettable experience.
Imagine stopping to immerse yourself entirely in a different town or city and finding the hidden gems only known to locals. Agoda’s recently launched long term rentals allowing bookings for up to 90 days on both Agoda Homes and hotels can translate into the sabbatical you always dreamt of once domestic travel is allowed. Travelers on Agoda.com can easily toggle between filters to choose what works best for them — from amenities like Wi-Fi in urban landscapes or relaxing private beach views.
Slow travel isn’t just about speed; it’s about the impact of your travel. You can support local businesses by eating at family-run restaurants or even staying at provincial homestays or independent hotels. Exploring your surroundings in an “Eat, Pray, Love” fashion, like bicycling and walking are excellent ways to uncover places and experiences that could become the highlights of your trip, stumbling upon little cafes and shops, you might never have found in books or online.
Taking your time also makes you more attuned to the environment you’re in. As you soon savor the serene landscapes, make sure you explore with the lightest environmental footprint possible. It’s easier when you are prepared with reusable items like water bottles — to keep you hydrated while reducing plastic pollution. Be more environmentally friendly with your product choices. Common ingredients in chemical sunscreens can harm coral reefs, so switch to reef friendly skin products, or use natural ingredients like coconut oil when you set out on your discovery dive to give us a chance to do our part while taking care of ourselves. Remind yourself to be grateful for the blessing of being able to travel again.
Carry less, go far
Simple things like turning off lights and air conditioning when leaving the hotel room, reusing towels and bedding, and being mindful of how much toiletries you actually need, can go a long way in creating less waste. “Flashpacking” or backpacking on a bigger budget, gives you less to worry about on your adventure. You can still look great and stay on top of your self-care routines with lightweight personal care kits and travel-sized toiletry bottles. And a new norms go, don’t forget to bring new essentials like disinfectants and face masks as you may encounter crowded areas. Quick wash and durable clothing, multipurpose footwear for hiking/beach, and long walks cut down on suitcase space while keeping you prepared for an epic travel itinerary.
Where to slow travel locally
Once it’s time to take the slow route for your next journey, consider going to these Agoda-recommended destinations.
Known as the “home of the winds,” Batanes is the northernmost and smallest Philippine province. If you are looking for a little bit of everything — the sea, the hills, and the peace and quiet — Batanes has it all. Stay at Agoda Home’s Stone Lodge Jisked to enjoy the coziness of stone masonry at this home away from home.
If it’s a beach you’re looking for, maybe, it’s time you pay El Nido, Palawan a visit. Discover some of the world’s best lagoons and beaches with some of the clearest water as you go island hopping and take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life. If you are feeling adventurous, camp at Aetas Glamping El Nido.
Wherever you may be headed once non-essential travel is allowed, make sure you take your time, savor every moment, and be mindful of your environment.