27 Feb What is Wellness Travel? Tips When Planning The Perfect Retreat Destination
Wellness Travel is the fastest growing sector in the wellness, fitness and travel or tourism market. Here’s what “wellness travel” means, what to look for in a hotel, and top recommendations of destinations to look consider.
The Global Wellness Institute announced that Wellness Tourism in 2019 is a $639 Billion Market, estimated to reach $919 Billion by 2022.
When I started this blog five or so years ago dedicated to wellness and travel, I didn’t think it would become a trend. However, today wellness travel is the fastest growing sector in wellness and in tourism — so, props to us for being ahead of the curve!
With every hotel claiming to be “wellness oriented” you really need to do your own research or trust an expert when choosing a destination to spend all your hard-earned money on to retreat.
This blog will:
- define what is wellness travel.
- give, and define, criteria that will help you determine what hotel, resort or destination is really wellness travel focused and best for your restorative trip.
- offer top 7 recommendations for places to check out in 2020 for wellness travel & well-being.
WHAT IS WELLNESS TRAVEL?
According to the Wellness Tourism Association, Wellness Travel is defined as, “travel that allows the traveler to maintain, enhance, or kickstart a healthy lifestyle and support, or increase, one’s sense of well-being.”
There’s so many different hotels and resorts out there right now claiming to be wellness. Pretty much, you can put water with cucumbers at the entrance of your hotel and say “we’re wellness travel.”
But is that really true? I don’t believe, and neither should you. When I’m selecting a wellness travel destination, or I see is this a good fit for a place that I want to review or that I want to partner with, I have some criteria that needs to be considered prior to believing it’s truly well-being oriented.
Here are the five things that you’ll want to look for when choosing a wellness travel destination, helping you to narrow down your choices:
Wellness Travel is defined as, “travel that allows the traveler to maintain, enhance, or kickstart a healthy lifestyle and support, or increase, one’s sense of well-being.”
CRITERIA 1: ACCESSIBILITY
How close is this destination? Can I get a direct flight?
This is important to consider, because if you only have a week that you can travel, you don’t want to spend two to four of those days actually getting to your destination. Maximize the amount of time that you can enjoy the destination that you’re in, and minimize the amount of air or travel time.
CRITERIA 2: RESTORATIVE
You want to make sure you’re not picking a place that doesn’t have 24/7 nightlife or evening parties as their theme. Worse, you want to be sure the hotel doesn’t have incredibly thin walls that you’re going to hear every single one of your neighbors sneezes or whatever utterance that will disrupt your peace and sleep.
How can you find this information out? I usually will go on to different OTA sites (TripAdvisor, Expedia, booking.com, to name a few) and look up reviews for these places and see what other travelers have reported if I haven’t been to the hotel before.
I’d like to offer honest reviews on my webpage, LiveFreeWarrior.com as well for hotels and destinations, where you can find that kind of information. Those details are important to me. I want to know that I’m going to be able to get a restful night’s sleep and I’m not going to have to hear drunk neighbors walking down the hallway. I’m better if you’re here on this page, those details matter for you too.
CRITERIA 3: EDUCATIONAL
You’re booking a wellness travel experience to learn and take something away from this experience. Be sure you’re booking an activity, culture, or location, that you can learn something from.
Many hotels will offer either add on activities that you can do or they’re going to have things that are right on site that you can take part of for well-being experiences.
For example, when we were in CIVNANA Resort in Arizona, and they had classes all throughout the day, 70 plus classes a week that you can attend to. That’s an educational experience. There’s plenty for you to learn.
When I was in Bawah Resort (review coming soon) in Indonesia, they had doodling classes and also experiences that I could do cooking lessons with the locals and with the chef’s that were there.
Those become educational experiences, going hikes in nature in the local lands, that’s another way to experience and to take something in that you’ll remember long after the vacation time has ended.
CRITERIA 4: REMOTE
While you don’t always have to travel far to get a wellness experience that will change you, I will recommend to you get outside of your comfort zone. If you constantly go back and forth to the same place, or it is the exact same culture and environment that you’re used to, switch it up!
This is going to change in your mindset and the person that you become. When you’re immersed in a completely different culture, if that’s available to you, you’re going to learn that you way isn’t the only way to approach life. Or learn a new to approach a daily task, or worldwide problem, or personal care issue.
That’s not to say, again, that you have to travel outside of the United States, or your home country. You can stay in the same country and still learn about a different environment or culture. For example, my home base is in Miami. Before that, I lived in New England. I promise you, from New England to Miami, they are two different different countries in the way these cities operate. Being in Miami alone is a culture shock when you’re from New England if you’re not from Latin America.
So, mix it up, and go remote. Find someplace that is different. THAT is the kind of travel that transforms and changes you.
View this post on Instagram
CRITERIA 5: SUSTAINABILITY
Before booking, take some time to do a bit of research and seek to answer the following questions:
Is the destination that you’re going to responsible in their efforts for waste management? For over-tourism? For how they treat their staff? Are they environmentally friendly?
As conscious travelers, this is our responsibility to do such research prior to booking. We want to do good with our dollars spent. Because your dollar and the places that you choose to spend it are going to speak volumes to the demand and supply of the tourism economy.
Before hitting “Book!” be sure the destination you’re choosing (and your dollar) counts towards the values and missions that you stand behind — it’s going to make a big difference in the long run.
If you’re looking for wellness travel destinations for this upcoming year in 2020, here’s my top 7 recommendations to check out:
- The Retreat Experience at Blue Lagoon Iceland
- Sanctuary Cap Cana, Punta Cana Dominican Republic
- Amanyara, Turks & Caicos
- Sangha Retreat by Octave Institute, Shanghai China
- Olas Tulum, Riviera Maya Mexico
- Casa Tara Retreat, Baja Sur Mexico
- The Retreat, Alejuela Costa Rica
If you’re looking to know more details about these destination recommendations, I’ve written a separate post in greater depth over on bullbirdgear.com for Top Wellness Destinations to Consider for Spring Break 2020.
View this post on Instagram
TIME FOR TAKE-OFF!
Are you planning a wellness travel trip in this upcoming year? Were these tips and insights helpful? Comment in below.