Wellness Wednesday: The Wide World Of Wellness Travel

Wellness vacations mean a lot more than hiking or backpacking. (Photo credit: Austin Ban via Unsplash.)

By Cat Zuniga 

Wellness travel is really hot right now. And one thing making it hot is the fact that wellness means such different things to different people.

If you’re looking to crank up your fitness level, maybe a Crossfit vacation is for you. And if that’s a little strong, how about yoga or meditation?

Want to ditch your smartphone, tablet, or computer? It might be time for a tech detox vacation.

Maybe you feel like really focusing on your weight-loss goals. Just dial up your level of seriousness, from “The Biggest Loser” to Hilton Head, and you’re on your way.

And maybe, just maybe, your idea of wellness means eating better – however you choose to define “better.” You know there’s a world of places for you.

And we haven’t even touched the entire topic of medical travel – going to another country to have a knee replacement or a root canal. That’s a multi-billion-dollar business that largely flies under the radar.

It’s pretty clear that wellness travel means something different to everyone. But that’s the best part! It’s subjective.

What are your needs? What do you need to escape from? Or focus your mind on? These are questions people ask when considering what kind of wellness vacation is right for them.

More and more resorts are built solely around wellness travel. Take the Body Holiday resort on St. Lucia, for example. This property offers the full gamut of wellness experiences, from tech detox to meditation and massage to body yoga and Pilates to healthy spa cuisine to a quadrathalon.

The Body Holiday’s brochure says, “Give us your body for a week, and we’ll give you back your mind,” but that’s putting it mildly. By putting away your cellphones and tablets, and indulging in wellness your way, you can assure a truly therapeutic and relaxing getaway.

Relaxation and therapy don’t come cheap. Although wellness retreats and travel can put a dent in your pocket, many are willing to pay the price to invest in improving their inner and outer selves.

A true wellness vacation involves a lot more than an off-the-menu massage at the spa. It truly is a holiday for your body. You can be as busy or as quiet as you want. You choose what you want to do.

Some properties are specifically designed to provide such a retreat, while others offer these services in addition to more hedonistic pursuits. Both types of properties can provide a wellness vacation; it’s all about picking-and-choosing the activities that meet your goals.

That’s where things get tricky when it comes to wellness travel. Most hotels and resorts realize their guests care more about staying healthy on the road, and they are continuously molding their services to their client’s needs. That’s a given. But is that a wellness vacation – and is a wellness vacation really what you need?

Just because you like a relaxing vacation and enjoy juicing doesn’t mean you should spend the time and money on a full-on wellness vacation. There are a few questions you might want to ask before diving in.

How devoted are you to your health? If you enjoy physical activity, healthy eating, and some free time here and there, you could design a vacation that covers these bases without going all-out, but if you feel a need to be more active and eat better, and don’t feel you’ll be able to do it without some structure, a wellness vacation is worth considering.

How stressed are you? Almost all wellness vacations have stress reduction as a goal. Stress reduction may be something as simple as vegging on the beach or just being distracted from your everyday life. Many vacations can do that; again, if you’re looking for something more directed, then a wellness vacation at a destination like Body Holiday is more appropriate.

Are you a free spirit? If you are, some of the more structured wellness properties and destinations may not be for you. You may be better off looking for wellness vacations that tilt the free-time/structured-time balance in favor of free time, and allow for time off of the property.

Who is your ideal travel partner? If you enjoy staying up late, clubbing, or partying at the bar, then a wellness vacation will come nowhere close to your idea of fun. Most wellness travelers travel alone, or with a friend who is on the same page as them when its comes to refreshment and rejuvenation.

Along those lines, you might think that wellness travel is a female-fueled phenomenon, and you’d be right. According to Travel Weekly writer Rebecca Tobin, “The trend was nurtured to some extent by the popularity of Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestselling memoir and movie about her search for spirituality and balance.”

But male or female, it really doesn’t matter. If you’re ready to jump on the health-and-wellness bandwagon and recharge, and what you’ve just read appeals to you, contact a travel expert and consider booking your first wellness vacation. I’m pretty confident it will be the first of many more!

Cat Zuniga is an award-winning travel specialist. She specializes in tropical vacations for families, groups, destination weddings, and honeymooners. Visit her site today at http://www.TarverdiTravel.com.


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