July 18, 2018 - Meagan Palmer
Last Updated On 4/6/2020
In many ways, vacation travel is associated with indulgence—an experience 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 traveling, 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 and wellness travel has been on the rise. We’re not talking about hardcore fitness-oriented travel here–just a greater focus on self-care and wellness. 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. That’s not exactly how we’d want to feel after a trip! 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 vacations are precious and usually require us to get back to work on the other end, it’s important we return from travel well-rested and rejuvenated. Those who travel 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. Here’s a few of our favorite wellness vacation destinations to fully unplug and focus on your self-care.
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 to fitness 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 travel suppliers have shifted their focus as well. Not only have many upgraded their workout equipment so you have more options than a set of free weights and a treadmill—more also offer additional ways to take care of yourself, such as healthy room service benefits, fitness and yoga meditation classes, and equipment for outdoor activities like biking and surfing, depending on your location. Two such places 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 the length 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 in regards to incorporating fitness, health, or wellness activities into your travel.
These days, many airports offer yoga rooms that you can use to stretch, meditate, or even workout a bit, and healthier food choices are more readily available, so you can stay focused on your health and increase wellness while in transit to your trip destination. These options are great if you experience a flight delay, but they don’t reimburse you for any additional hotel, meal, or transportation expenses! The good news is that if you purchase a travel insurance policy prior to your trip, you could be reimbursed for those unexpected travel delay costs.
Check out another one of our blogs that highlights wellness travel tips like what snacks to pack when traveling and exercises you can do wherever you are in the world.
Similarly, airlines seem to have taken notice of travelers’ desire for healthier options in tandem with wellness travel. 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 resorts, 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. If you’d rather plan your own wellness trip, check out this destination inspiration.
These are just a handful of the many wellness travel 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!