In many ways, vacation travel is associated with indulgence—a time to take a break from eating healthy and staying active and treat ourselves to whatever we want to eat, drink, or do. Often, this is fun while it’s happening, but when you get home, you end up feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation when the whole point was to relax and refresh. Sometimes it can take our bodies a few days to bounce back after a period of unhealthy eating or trying to do too much while away.
If this sounds familiar, you’ll be happy to learn that in recent years, health-conscious travel has been on the rise. We’re not talking about hardcore fitness-oriented travel here–just a greater focus on self-care. Here’s why that is and what it looks like:
According to Gallup, 54% of travelers reported that they felt more tired after returning home from vacation. As we mentioned above, some use vacations to let loose, indulging in unhealthy foods and avoiding much activity. Others make long lists of things they plan to do and create ambitious agendas that require a lot of energy. Because vacation time is precious and usually require us to get back to work on the other end, it’s important we return well-rested and rejuvenated. Travelers have started realizing this and are starting to look at vacations differently. Instead of seeking indulgence or trying to pack a ton of activity into a short time period, they’re looking for experiences that will allow them to take care of themselves.
When you picture what exercising while traveling looks like, you probably imagine the tiny fitness centers you often find on a random floor of your hotel. In our experience, only the super dedicated end up using those facilities. And, let’s be honest, it doesn’t really look like much fun. Luckily, in order to accommodate the wellness-conscious, many hotels, airlines, and tour companies have shifted their focus as well. Not only have many hotels and resorts upgraded their workout equipment so you have more options than a set of free weights and a treadmill—many also offer additional ways to take care of yourself, such as healthy room service options, fitness and meditation classes, and equipment for outdoor activities like biking and surfing, depending on your location. Two such hotels are Westin Hotels & Resorts and Kimpton Hotels, who detail their wellness-oriented offerings on their websites.
Sometimes, the most unhealthy part of the travel experience is time spent at the airport. Your options for how to use your waiting time to board or during a layover used to be slim–basically, eating at a chain restaurant or sitting somewhere and reading a book or spending time on an electronic device. Unless you wanted to get your shoes shined, that was pretty much it. These days, many airports offer yoga rooms that you can use to stretch, meditate, or even workout a bit, and healthier food options are more readily available, so you can stay healthy while in transit.
Similarly, airlines seem to have taken notice of travelers’ desire for healthier options. Where peanuts and cookies used to be the only items available on many airlines, you can now often find healthy snack packs available, including foods like nuts, cheeses, and dried fruit. On Singapore Airlines, for example, you can order their Deliciously Wholesome meals, created in conjunction with nutritionists. We also recently shared a post about how to take care of your body on a long flight, so take note of those tips as well!
This trend toward wellness travel has caused agencies and tour companies to expand their offerings. For example, in 2016, travel network Virtuoso launched a new arm called Virtuoso Wellness, made up of 42 luxury partners, including cruise lines and hotels, all of whom are focused on health and wellness. Beyond networks like Virtuoso Wellness, you can find a plethora of cruise and tour options that are wellness-themed, such as Intrepid Travel’s 50 wellness-focused group trips taking place in 2018, and Lindblad Expeditions cruises, which offer wellness cruises in partnership with Exhale.
These are just a handful of the many options available—a simple Google search will show you a wide array of others. Are you into wellness travel, or have you taken part in it before? Share with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!