Why ‘Wellness Travel’ Is the Most Essential Trip You’ll Plan This Year

  • Copy by: Reema Desai

At the end of the day, we all travel for a variety of reasons. For some of us, it’s an escape and a break from reality. For others, it’s a chance to experience the unknown, learn, and get out of our comfort zones.

Over the past few years, a new reason for travel has gained popularity, and it’s continuing to gain more steam: Traveling for your own personal health and wellness. Wellness travel is all about putting your physical, mental, and spiritual health at the forefront of your trip, and it’s becoming one of the fastest growing travel trends today.

By combining travel and wellness, you’re fueling your sense of adventure while nourishing yourself inside and out. Curious? Read on.

What exactly does wellness travel mean?  

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Wellness travel might sound like you’ll be in the middle of nowhere doing yoga all day, but it’s far from that. Wellness travel allows you to focus on the part (or parts) of your health that you may have been neglecting, whatever it may be.

For someone hoping to improve physical health in a unique way, a stand-up paddle boarding or surfing retreat may be a good option. For those who want to connect with their spiritual selves, a meditation trip may be the right decision. The idea is that it’s tailored to you and what your needs are. The beauty of wellness travel is that you have the opportunity to do what’s best for you at the pace that feels right.

Is wellness travel right for you?

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Wellness travel takes a bit of courage. You’re more than likely used to trips that involve lots of eating and drinking, skipping workouts, and indulging your every whim. While there’s nothing wrong with that, wellness travel involves a bit more structure and commitment, which can be intimidating at first.

You have to be ready to put your health at the forefront of your trip, and you have to be willing to take a hard look at the parts of your health you’ve been neglecting. But you can do it, we promise!

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And how do you know if it’s right for you? Here are a few questions that will help you figure it out: Are you happy with the amount of time and effort you put toward your health right now? If not, how willing are you to change parts of your life in order to remedy your issues? Are you willing to change the way you look at vacations and shift them from a time to indulge to a time to focus on personal health goals?

What does a wellness trip look like?

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Wellness travel can take form in a number of ways. For those wanting to jump in feet first, a fully planned retreat curated by a wellness travel company may be just what the doctor ordered. Pravassa, a leading wellness travel organization, organizes trips that include everything from daily workshops to excursions to meals. For a flat rate, your entire trip is planned with an emphasis on health and wellness. Like other wellness travel organizations, they offer a number of different trips around the world—Thailand, Nicaragua and Japan are all popular spots, just to name a few! But just be clear that you want a vacation that emphasizes pillars of health.

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Though it can vary based on the trip and location, hotel accommodations, tickets to festivals, market tours, cooking classes, snorkeling trips, travel insurance, and airport transfers are just some of what your vacation cost pays for.

The important thing to note about wellness travel is that while health and wellness is at the forefront, you’ll still have the opportunity to explore the surroundings. There will be plenty of times to sightsee, try local cuisine, and interact with locals.

How can you incorporate wellness into travel plans?

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As mentioned, there are a number of wellness travel companies that plan all-encompassing wellness trips that cover your trip from A to Z. That being said, these trips can be costly and may not be feasible for every type of traveller.

Luckily, you can experience a wellness-oriented trip without paying top dollar for a company to organize it for you. Instead of taking a fully planned wellness trip, take some of the planning into your own hands to cut costs.

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This can be as simple as booking a two-day cooking class, signing up for kayaking, or visiting a thermal bath while traveling. Try to commit to at least one wellness activity per day on your trip (even simple things like hotel room workouts count!) to shift the way you travel. Other ideas? Bring along healthy snacks, keep up with your water drinking routine while traveling, plan a relaxing spa day (and don’t feel guilty about it!), or meditate each morning.

Remember, the key to wellness travel is to work on the parts of your personal health that have been neglected, and using travel as a means to focus on health as you best see fit.

Where to Go on Your Wellness Trip

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While there’s no right or wrong place to head for to focus on your own wellness, certain places do tend to work better. Namely, you’ll want to travel to a place where you can disconnect to an extent, enjoy nature, and experience at least some peace and quiet. It goes without saying that while we love big, bustling cities, they aren’t always the best place to go to when focusing on your personal health and wellness. These five spots consistently rank at the top of most wellness travel lists: 

  1. Thailand – Thailand is home to a beautiful, green and lush northern area as well as stunning beaches in the south. Both areas are perfect for wellness trips. 
  2. Costa Rica – Hiking, swimming, and surfing lessons are all part of the draw here! 
  3. Dominican Republic – Head to an eco-resort here to participate in yoga classes, fresh food, private beaches and spa treatments. 
  4. Indonesia – Is there anyone out there who wouldn’t feel relaxed in a place like Bali? Several wellness tour operators plan trips to Indonesia, and with good reason. 
  5. Nicaragua – Nicaragua is quickly becoming a top wellness travel locations with several different wellness resorts and retreats to choose from. Our top pick? This women’s only surf and yoga retreat doesn’t sound too bad! 

Have you gone on a wellness retreat? Do you think wellness travel is something you’d consider in the future?

  • Nikki Laraja

    Great post, I love the idea of a wellness trip!


  • Kelly

    what are some other wellness travel organizations you would recommend?

    • Hi Kelly- Feel free to check out http://www.earthfoodyoga.com and http://www.innerconnectedretreats.com. My partner and I lead wellness retreats.

  • Great article! I love seeing my retreat participants interact with the culture and surrounding area of my retreat locations. I do see more and more people turning toward wellness travel and I think it is a great bridge between adventure and luxury travel. I am a yoga instructor and I lead a women’s self-care retreat annually and my boyfriend and I lead retreats for people with introverted mindsets.


  • This post definitely gave me the travel bug! I’ve never gone on a “wellness” trip but it’s something I am seeing and hearing more about. My husband and I try to make it to a cooking class when we travel to new destinations. This has turned out to be a great way to meet new people, learn more about the local culture and cuisine, and add several new healthy recipes to our repertoire!

    Another way to incorporate wellness activities into a trip is to volunteer while traveling. Giving back to a community or organization can help us to feel happier, healthier, and more grateful for what we have, including the ability to travel! As always, thanks for a fun read! Off to dream about my next adventure!!

    Miriam @casualtoclose // http://www.casualtoclose.com

  • My husband and I recently took our retreat vacation (wellness trip) this October. It was our first and the benefits are endless. We are making it a priority! Thanks for this article. I wrote about the same topic here:


  • Kathryn Lehner

    This is exactly the type of experience I try to promote with my company, Strong Escapes! It’s fitness retreats focusing on Movement, Nourishment and Exploration of the body and local environment. Hope to see you there!


  • LW1202

    Honestly, you can go anywhere and have a wellness trip. The key is to respect your limitations. Rather than knocking 10 things off your tourist to-do list, try 1-2 things max. Allow yourself to experience the destination without the fear of missing out (FOMO). Put your camera away. Eat slowly. Be all there.