‘Travelling slowly’: Slow Forms of Travel as Holiday Experiences

This source preferred by Janet Dickinson

Authors: Dickinson, J.E.

Start date: 3 September 2007

Travel to and from destinations is implicitly a part of a holiday, yet an aspect that is often seen as separate to the holiday experience at the destination. Travel to destinations may be accomplished with ease but can also be fraught with problems and when this happens people often have more of a story to tell about transport than their holiday at the destination. This paper focuses on the stories people tell about their travel. At the same time, it is specifically interested in new conceptualisations of travel and holidays that are arising in response to climate change where it is recognised that there are high carbon emissions associated with flying. In response, some people are opting to ‘travel slowly’, where air travel is rejected in favour of more environmentally benign forms of overland transport which generally take much longer and become incorporated as part of the holiday experience. These travel practices show people can maintain their desire for independence through travel and the positive personal gains from taking holidays, but with much less environmental impact. Travelling slowly implies a much greater engagement in the travel component of a holiday and the travel may even be the main component. This paper will explore the personal benefits of travelling slowly. It reports initial exploratory research to provide a better understanding of societal discourses surrounding holiday travel and the practice of travelling slowly. Initial findings suggest slow travel experiences can be constructed very positively and provide opportunities to engage more deeply with places and people. This is part of a wider project to understand how holiday travel practices are influenced by social norms, experiences and expectations of travel in order to analyse the potential for less energy intensive holidays in the context of climate change.

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