Have you ever come back from a vacation feeling like you need a vacation? Often times we make the decision to take a trip because we are craving a break from the rigors of our everyday lives. But let’s be honest – travel can be stressful! Delayed flights, missed connections, navigating a new city – all very challenging. Additionally, daily self-care routines can be thrown for a loop on the road. Eating out for every meal, consuming more alcohol than normal, not starting your day with your morning sweat session or attending your weekly yoga class can all contribute to lower than normal energy levels and an all over feeling of blah.
If all of this sounds less than relaxing… don’t cash in those unused vacation days just yet. We’ve got some good news – wanderlusters everywhere are taking back control when it comes to vacationing. Wellness Travel is trending and it’s changing the way we see the world, and how we feel when we’re doing it.
The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) defines Wellness Tourism as “travel associated with the pursuit of maintaining or enhancing one’s personal well-being.” GWI reported in 2015 that Wellness Travel accounted for 6% of all domestic and international travel. (Global Wellness Institute, The Global Wellness Tourism Economy Report 2013 & 2014, June 2015) Since this report, wellness travel has continued to rise in popularity. From yoga and meditation retreats on the beach, to forest bathing in the wilderness, to volunteering on an eco-farm in the rainforest, to hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Puchu in the Sacred Valley – the opportunities for healthy travel are growing with offerings that span a wide range of interests in destinations across the globe.
With the popularity of wellness travel surging, travel companies that specialize in planning wellness vacations are emerging and positioning themselves as the go-to experts for healthy vacations. One of the great benefits of working with a wellness travel advisor is insight on the programming you are signing up for. Wellness travel has mass appeal as there are varying degrees of activities on these trips, however it is important you are selecting the right journey for your lifestyle. From the expert adventurer to the novice wellness seeker, everyone can feel comfortable booking a healthy getaway with a little help from the experts.
If a whole vacation centered on wellness seems a bit too… well, healthy, you do not have to give up entirely on feeling good while traveling. Many destinations offer wellness activities that you can integrate into your good old fashion vacation. Perhaps you choose to take in the scenery on a bicycle tour, drop in on the free yoga class offered at your hotel, spend an afternoon at the spa, or take a hike to the hidden hot springs outside of town. After all, wellness is all about balance and our time away should definitely reflect that. Go ahead and spend an afternoon relaxing on the beach with your frozen daiquiri and then wake up the next morning to paddleboard around the lagoon. Check out the new health food restaurant in town for dinner one night and enjoy that famous bar-be-que joint the next. If your flight is delayed, see if the airport has a yoga room instead of stressing out with the masses at your gate.
Whatever you do, don’t stop exploring. How and where you decide to travel is your own prerogative, but the important thing is that you go. Don’t waste your vacation days – you have earned them and you will likley be a more productive employee if you take a break every now and again. If nothing else, travel gives us perspective. It allows us to see clearly when we step outside our day to day bubble. All the situations that felt monumental and heavy become less of a big deal when we can take some space from them. When we return home, we may be a bit tired from our adventures but work may seem a little less stressful, your morning routine welcomes you back with a sense of normalcy, and nothing feels better than a good night’s sleep in your own bed.