Slow Travel was actually derived from “The Slow Food Movement” . It was founded in 1989 by Folco Portinari when a McDonald’s was planned in the Piazza di Spagna in Rome. He organized a protest with bowls of penne as his weapons. The demonstration was successful and the slow food movement was born.
His goal was to preserve the regional cuisine, local farming and traditional cooking methods. What better way to enrich your journey than to cook your own meals with locally sourced food–not to mention all the money you will save doing it.
1. BOOK A PLACE WITH A KITCHEN
We always stay in an Airbnb with a kitchen. We love to cook our own food and actually prefer it when we travel. It’s a much better experience, when you can sit at a table, on a balcony, or wherever and enjoy your meal slowly. It gives you a chance to unwind, connect and chat about your day’s adventures.
TIP: Make sure to check what utensils, pots, pans, etc., the owner has before you book it. We have rented airbnbs with only a few pans and like 4 utensils, one that had an oven but no baking pan, little things like that. Also, we have had some with loads of spices and condiments, and a few with ZERO.
2. LOOK FOR THE LOCAL MARKETS AHEAD OF TIME
We like to make sure there are markets in the area. If it takes an hour to get to a market, we might plan differently. It could be find another place or buy it on the way there.
3. FIND AN OUTDOOR MARKET
Slow traveling is about the experience. One of the best experiences you can have traveling is finding an outdoor market, like these in Riga and Rome. You will find the freshest and most authentic foods in these markets and they are always cheaper. What better way to immerse yourself in the local culture than to shop where the people shop. We love to stroll the aisles to see what other cultures eat. It gives you a chance to experiment with the foods and spices of the area.
3. SHOPPING WITH THE LOCALS
If not an outdoor market, then the local supermarkets are still great places to find food. When we were in Florence the supermarket was right next door to our Airbnb. We had fresh pasta and focaccia bread almost everyday, it was heaven.
We usually stay in a place for 5-7 days, and will shop for that amount of time. I do most of the cooking, and don’t really have anything planned out. We just walk down the aisles and fill our baskets with fresh produce, breads, pastas…whatever looks good. I can basically make anything out of anything..pasta and soups are usually my go to meal.
Buying 7 days of food, with a few bottles of wine thrown in, is still cheaper than eating out for 2 days. We usually spend no more than $100 for a week’s worth of groceries, which is probably the same as a meal for two in a nice restaurant.
TIP: Don’t forget your translator app. We use google and just snap a pic of the label, it can be a tedious process but we don’t mind, right? Because we are in NO hurry. Bring bags or be prepared to throw it in your backpack, or buy some for the trip.
Also, be respectful of the local customs. You may need to bag your own food, stand in a long line, the checker may not speak English, you are still a visitor and should remember that.
4. SPICES, CONDIMENTS, AND EXTRAS
You will be surprised what you can and cannot find in other countries, and if you’re picky like me, then bring your own! I realize this doesn’t look that healthy, but they are really just packets of spices.
Many times we will just buy cheap spices at the beginning of the trip, for a few bucks, then leave it at the last Airbnb. Many Airbnb’s will have random spices and things from people leaving them behind.
I will make lentil chili, and walnut lentil ‘taco meat’, things like that where I am picky about the spices.
5. COOK IT AHEAD
This last tip isn’t for everyone, but we like to prep and cook all the food at once. We go to the dollar store at the beginning of the trip and buy a bunch of containers. It’s the way I cook at home and the way I cook on the road. Once cooked, we pack everything in containers and just microwave it as needed. It really is easy, not to mention it’s a timesaver in the end.
Since we take lots of day trips, we will usually bring a few containers of the cold food for lunch. At lunch time, we will find a beautiful spot, hopefully with an awesome view of the sea or the mountains and enjoy our meal.
Doesn’t that sound delightful!!