It seems obvious that vacations should offer an opportunity to relax and unwind, but what happens if we take this approach one step further? Well, the answer to this question is ‘wellness tourism’ and, during the past decade, it’s taken the travel industry by storm.
The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) defines wellness tourism as “travel associated with the pursuit of maintaining or enhancing one’s personal wellbeing”.
Put simply, we’re talking about holidays that are good for the soul.
When people hear about this type of vacation, they usually envisage trips to remote yoga retreats in the Far East. They’re right to do this, of course; these destinations certainly fall under the banner of ‘wellness tourism’, but they’re by no means the only options available.
Think destination spas, health resorts, fitness holidays: the possibilities for travel that prioritises wellbeing really are endless.
To help those of you who think you and your loved ones might benefit from a wellness-focused break, I’ve compiled a list of things to consider before booking your flights…
Your first focus should be yourself
When planning a vacation of this type, don’t be afraid to put yourself first. After all, that’s what wellness tourism is all about. Think about what you want to get out of your vacation, and choose your travel companions and accommodation accordingly.
Holidaying with friends can be great fun but, if it’s improved mindfulness you’re looking for, you may benefit more from travelling solo. If this isn’t possible due to family commitments, consider booking a hotel with a well-run kids’ club so that you have the opportunity to focus on yourself as well.
Create an itinerary to match your personality
When it comes to wellness tourism, the level of choice on the market can be overwhelming. While it may be tempting to try a bit of everything, remember that your vacation time is finite.
Identify a pursuit or pursuits that are most likely to fulfil your vacation goals. This might feel limiting at first, but a week spent focusing on a single pastime that you love may prove more beneficial to your wellbeing than a holiday jam-packed with activities. On the flipside, perhaps the idea of concentrating on just one activity is your worst nightmare, in which case more is probably better.
Striking the right balance depends entirely on the type of person you are. And no one knows you better than you.
Choose a location that’s in keeping with your vacation goals
Budget represents a major consideration when planning any trip, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to compromise on your destination.
If your dream is to spend a week meditating in the Himalayas, for example, look into ways of making that happen. Shop around; if the location is right, making small compromises in terms of accommodation may be worth your while.
Don’t forget, wellness is not about luxury. It’s about finding a place where you feel comfortable and fulfilled, so location is paramount.
Decide on your priorities before you book
When planning a vacation of this nature, it’s always best to consider whether wellness should be the sole purpose of your trip or something that needs to be incorporated alongside other aspects.
If you want to spend your vacation focusing exclusively on your wellbeing, there are plenty of options out there. A quick online search will uncover a plethora of destination spas, health resorts, yoga and meditation retreats, and fitness holidays that will enable you to rejuvenate your wellness without leaving the confines of your hotel (if that’s what you want).
However, if you’d prefer to combine wellbeing with a few traditional leisure activities, search for locations and accommodation that offer those little extras. Start by picking the destination you’d most like to explore, and then research hotels in the vicinity that boast relevant amenities, such as premium-quality spas and fitness classes.
Once your trip is planned and paid for, it’s time to start settling into your holiday mindset. Stop sweating the small stuff and start focusing on the amazing experience that lies ahead.
You’ve earnt it!