While cities wouldn’t be the natural choice for a relaxing holiday, there are certain techniques we can practice to slow it down and relax amid the chaos.

The busy city of Bangkok. Slow
It’s possible to slow down despite the busy city.
Photo by Dan Freeman, Unsplash

Popular for job opportunities, plentiful shopping experiences, and tourists–the city is where it all happens. I recently traveled to the vibrant capital of Thailand, Bangkok, where I was expecting no-sleep and busy crowds. While slightly true, there are ways to relax and slow down the pace, all while making sure you can see and do it all. If you’d like to learn how to relax on the go, please read on for how I learned to slow it down while traveling in one of the world’s busiest cities.

Look after yourself

Looking after yourself while traveling is so important, particularly in the whirl of city life. With all the transport, packing, mapping and other flustering aspects of traveling, it’s crucial to slow down and focus on yourself in the city.

It’s simple to achieve. You might wake up an hour earlier to take a slow morning stroll, or you find a local coffee shop to sit and read a book. Whether your hobby is yoga, wildlife, retail therapy or even having a good old nap, do it once a day while traveling. By looking after you, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to tackle the city as slow or fast as you like.

Taking it slow and reading a book
Self-care is a good way to slow down when travelling.
Photo by Nicole Wolf on Unsplash

Less is more when traveling

Rather than rushing to see it all, why not try to catch the things most people traveling may miss? If you’re darting around the city, are you really seeing it all? Consider the smaller details, slow down and notice your surroundings. Observe people around you, question the architecture, touch buildings and statues. The slow nature of noticing will create more acute memories of the city, or anywhere you visit while traveling.

Why not try a slow city walking tour–you’ll learn history, facts, and stories of those who trod before you? They’re usually free too! I always squeeze one in when traveling. Alternatively, create an ‘X marks the spot’ on your city map at the place you’re most excited to see. Use this to draw a mile or even a half-mile radius around your ‘X’. You’d be surprised how much a city can offer in such a small area. Make this part of the city your quest. Get to know the space, look at things from fresh angles and learn what makes it special. This is a brilliant way to relax your way into a slow city experience.

Write it all down

There’s no better way to finish your day exploring the city than by sitting down to reflect. Let the day’s adventures come flooding back to you as you put pen to paper. I never travel without a journal. Taking pictures is a great way to make memories, but you can’t take a snap of how that bakery smelled or the emotion you felt when someone gave up their seat on the subway. A journal is for the raw stuff, the kind you might forget unless written. Even if writing’s not for you, give it ago. It’s my favorite way to slow my pace down and collect my thoughts while traveling.

Keeping it slow, writing it all down
Journaling is a relaxing way to slow down when traveling.
Photo by Cathryn Lavery on Unsplash

Enjoy life in the bus lane

I always use the sight-seeing bus services while traveling in a substantial city. These are available in most capitals and are one of the best ways to see the entire city while sitting back and listening to the tour guide fill your knowledge gaps. You can hop off, visit an attraction, and hop back on a later bus to continue the city tour. To slow it down further, I like to stay on and absorb the city, sitting up top with the wind in my hair as I relax into my seat. It’s a fantastic service for calm contemplation in the city, enabling you to do as much or as little as you fancy.

So, those are my top tips for keeping a slow pace in a fast-paced city. Traveling can be crazy, but practising methods of relaxing things can help you travel through any busy city with ease. What helps you relax in a lively city?

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