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Wellness travel is a hugely popular trend these days. Travelling for health reasons is far from a new concept – spa towns and remote retreats have been welcoming visitors for hundreds if not thousands of years – but dedicated wellness tourism is now a huge deal.
Wellness travel is currently one of the fastest growing areas of tourism, worth over $600 billion, and there have never been so many people using their vacation time to focus on their physical or mental health.
But what really is wellness travel? Is it all detox boot camps and sitting alone on a mountaintop contemplating your chakras?
Take a look at the guide below, which breaks down wellness tourism, and offers some hints and tips about where to go for the most relaxing, healing experiences on the planet.
What is wellness travel?
Wellness travel might at one point have just been all about yoga retreats and juice cleanses, but not anymore. Wellness tourism these days ranges from the traditional retreats and holistic spa vacations all the way to active outdoor sports and natural exploration adventures.
At its core, wellness tourism is about promoting health and wellbeing, ensuring that your vacation offers a genuine break for your mind and your body, and helping develop good habits that last beyond the Arrivals terminal of your local airport.
Wellness vacations can help you kickstart a healthy lifestyle, increase your sense of wellbeing, or just provide a deeper, more meaningful break from your everyday life than a normal vacation, with benefits that last longer.
Ultimately, when travel is more sustainable, more authentic and more engaging, an increased sense of wellness is almost a given! Things have come a long way since the days of ‘character building’ restricted diets and bleak, sparse facilities.
Whether you love the beach, want to challenge yourself physically or were just planning to book a cruise vacation in 2022, chances are you’ll be able to find a wellness vacation that fits the bill.
What can wellness travel offer you?
How often have you felt that you need a vacation to recover from your last vacation?
We all have a tendency to overdo things on vacation. We indulge ourselves, trying to do, see and taste everything on offer, and sometimes you can feel exhausted, even a little guilty about your excesses when you get home.
Wellness travel offers a break from this type of trip. A vacation that is just as relaxing, usually in stunning locations, that leaves you feeling rejuvenated and balanced.
Wellness travel offers a more fulfilling break from your day-to-day life, and usually helps to develop healthy habits that can help you improve your wellbeing in your life back home as well.
While some wellness travel does focus on weight loss and physical appearance, most wellness vacations are based around stress reduction and improve your overall wellbeing, and helping you to feel better, healthier and more centred.
What are the best wellness travel destinations?
The Dead Sea between Jordan and Israel has such a high salt content that you float right on top of the surface, a surreal and extraordinarily relaxing experience. Dead Sea salt is also amazing as an exfoliant for your skin, helping with all kinds of issues and troubles.
Wellness doesn’t have to mean standing still, and the epic, rugged coastline of Croatia is amazing for a cycle touring holiday that will leave you sweaty but fulfilled. Ending each day at yet another beautiful beach or picturesque medieval town is the perfect way to wind down after all that exercise as well.
Bali has been one of the world’s most popular wellness destinations for years, and remains the ultimate in spirituality and balancing mind and body. Whether you are looking for yoga, meditation, purification rituals or just some well-earned time on the best beaches on earth, Bali is the place to be.
Often overlooked as a wellness travel destination, the traditional steam baths or hammams of Morocco are a wonderfully relaxing way to get clean. Usually housed in gorgeous tiled bath houses built centuries ago, hammams offer a deep cleanse, a contemplative space and a uniquely purifying all-round experience.
Chinese vacations offer an unrivalled wealth of wellness opportunities. From tai chi on a hotel rooftop in Shanghai and massage therapy retreats in Zhejiang to hiking, cooking and panda watching in Sichuan and river rafting in Guilin, there is something for everyone when it comes to wellness travel to China.
Wellness in California is so popular to almost be a cliche, but stereotypes exist for a reason and the Golden State is the perfect place to get away from it all. With sunrise paddle boarding, yoga on the beach, hiking, riding and mountain retreats to choose from, nowhere does wellness better than California.