Tell me: When you’re on vacation, which type of vacationer are you? Are you taking early morning hikes, exploring throughout the day and eating modestly? Or are you sleeping in, lounging throughout the day and indulging in the finest foods and drinks? I’m more of the latter myself, but if the first sounds better to you, wellness travel might be right up your alley.
There are so many ways you can participate in wellness travel, but first — what exactly is it?
What is wellness travel?
American scientific research institute SRI International defines wellness travel as any “travel associated with the pursuit of maintaining or enhancing one’s personal well-being.”
As fancy as that sounds, your trip doesn’t have to be a super-expensive spa retreat in the mountains to be considered a wellness vacation, nor do you have to be a health nut to take one.
Wellness travel includes trips taken primarily with wellness in mind, and trips not specifically for wellness, but still include activities that promote mental, physical or spiritual health. These activities can be anything from kayaking to meditating to taking a cooking class.
Essentially, wellness traveling is about doing what’s best for yourself. Maybe that means choosing to eat healthy while on your family trip to the Florida Keys, or maybe that means taking a solo tour of the islands of Indonesia to connect with nature. Self-care means something different to me than it does to you — wellness travel is much the same.
What’s new in wellness travel
With the self-care industry in bloom, thanks to millennials, there’s no stopping wellness tourism from taking off this year as well, and the travel industry has taken notice.
Many hotels have introduced wellness upgrades to their rooms. Some new properties of Westin Hotels and Resorts, for example, will have WestinWorkout rooms, which will include the guest’s choice of a treadmill or stationary bike, as part of their Move Well program.
For those who don’t want to sacrifice their usual workout routine while onboard a cruise ship, many cruise lines have introduced fitness classes, gyms and even health assessments to their cruise packages. MSC Cruises’ Wellness Experience is one example of a program dedicated to guests’ wellness.
Much is happening in the way of food, too. Carillon Miami Wellness Resort in North Miami Beach, Fla., uses organic, ethically sourced food so their guests can feel good about what they’re eating. Health and Fitness Travel predicts that more resorts will follow in Carillon’s footsteps and give back to their communities by using food from local farmers.
Innovations like these are perfect for travelers who aren’t traveling primarily with wellness in mind, but appreciate the chance to make healthy choices while on a typical vacation.
How to satisfy your wellness travel bug
There’s always room for improvement, and nothing is more important than improving our health. If a full wellness getaway is what you need, here are just some of the exciting options available to you.
- Cycling tours provide an unconventional way of sightseeing. Tour countries in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas, while challenging yourself physically and connecting with the open road.
- Spiritual and holistic health retreats provide the tools you need to reach your wellness goals, guided by holistic therapists, fitness trainers, wellness educators, spa therapists and more. Such retreats exist all over the world – from the U.S. to Europe and Asia. Each location presents different opportunities for your growth.
- Adult summer camps, like Carmel Valley Ranch in California, let adults escape from the stress of ordinary life and remember what it was like to be a kid. Spas, sports and gym facilities, hiking trails, gardens, swimming pools, hot tubs, treetop suites and more help guests unwind and focus on self-care.
- Yoga retreats take you to countries like Cambodia to practice yoga and mindfulness amidst the region’s natural beauty guided by master yoga teachers.
- Wildfitness retreats are for those looking to improve their physical health and reconnect with nature. The focus is on “re-wilding,” or reconnecting with nature by eating organically, moving freely and resting according to your body’s needs.
- Sleep enhancement retreats, like this trip to Thailand from Kamalaya, help you re-establish healthy sleep patterns and address issues such as sleep apnea. If you’re willing to shell out the cash for an expensive trip, sleep enhancement retreats may be what you need to rejuvenate.
What do you think? Are you up for a bit of wellness travel? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Ready for some R&R? Book your next vacation with AAA Travel.