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Spend One Week in One Place

Pauline Kenny

As a first step in slowing down your pace of travel, spend at least one week in one place during your trip to Europe. If possible, stay in a vacation rental.

Remember those Reader's Digest Condensed Books? War and Peace in 150 pages? Enough to know what the book is about, but not the full experience. Well, don't expect more from the Reader's Digest Condensed Version of Europe: five cities in ten days or worse, five countries in ten days.

It is tempting to do a first trip to Europe like that, but I think this type of travel ultimately turns you away from travel. You do one trip to Europe, get a confusing overview, and never go back because you were running the whole time, you came home exhausted and your memory of the experience is a blur.

The Slow Travel solution is to stay in one place for at least one week on each trip. Your itinerary may include any number of places, but be sure to include a stay in the same accommodation, preferably a vacation rental, for at least one week. This forces you to settle into the rhythm and experience of local life during a part of your travels. Staying in a vacation rental, instead of a hotel, is ideal for Slow Travel. You become a temporary resident of your chosen city, village or countryside area. This gives you the chance to shop for groceries, become a "regular" at a local cafe, attend the local market day and spend some time just relaxing in the comfort of your own house or apartment. You get to discover some lesser known activities and places of interest in "your" area.

After a few trips to Europe staying in vacation rentals, we started including stays of two weeks at a time or even more in some places. When you are having such a good time, one week just seems too short.

The rest of this section explains what to expect from vacation rentals and how to plan your day trips when based from a vacation rental.

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