Why Wellness Travel is All the Rage

Feel Good Getaways

Anyone with a soft spot for girls’ trips knows that you often return home from one a few pounds heavier, noticeably bloated and feel like you’ve left more than a few brain cells back at the all-inclusive resort.

While the wild trips with the ladies have their time and place, the latest trend in travel – and one that won’t disappear anytime soon – involves arriving home feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and in better shape than you were when before you left.

Wellness retreats are having a major moment – and they go well beyond the typical yoga retreat. Wellness resorts, retreats and wellness-focused travel companies are growing in numbers globally, as an increasing number of people crave a more value-added vacation experience.

Wellness travel has become a major industry; According to the Global Wellness Institute, it’s now one of the fastest growing tourism markets. In fact, it’s expanding 50 per cent faster than the overall tourism industry. According to the Global Wellness Institute, the global wellness industry was worth $3.7 trillion in 2015, with wellness tourism accounting for $563 billion of that. More than 690 million wellness-focused trips were taken in 2015 worldwide.

Today’s pavement pounding (and often burnt out) vacationers seek more than sightseeing, sun tanning and bottomless margaritas on the beach. The world’s wellness resorts and retreats offer everything from boot camp, hiking, biking and adventure vacations, to spa holidays, meditation retreats and digital detoxes.

Understanding the growing draw of the spa and wellness therapies, many of the world’s luxury hotels have upped their spa game in recent years. A growing number have also added yoga and meditation to their daily activities. But health and wellness retreats offer more than lounging around a spa or a nice, Zen yoga high. They can involve pushing yourself physically like never before.

For example, a growing number of women are opting for adventure travel, something that is facilitated by an emerging number of travel companies that offer female-only adventure trips. This could involve anything from climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or surfing in Hawaii, to rafting in Thailand, cycling in British Columbia and horseback riding in Mongolia. In either case, they’re the types of trips that result in the creation of lifelong memories, fostering of valuable connections with like-minded travellers, days dominated by physical activity and, of course, no shortage of Instagram material.

Wellness travel has even hit the water; last year, Miami’s Oceania Cruises introduced ship-to-shore Wellness Tours Inspired by Canyon Ranch, with wellness-filled destinations to places like Italy, France, Greece and Spain. Most recently, it was announced that a Lululemon rep would host an Aqua Expeditions Wellness Cruise on the Mekong this December.

The wellness travel movement has grown from being predominantly female-focused to include men, children and even animals. We’ve seen the incorporation of dog-focused programs in wellness travel, with resorts offering things like puppy hikes, along with a growing number of “healing with horses” programs at ranches. Some resorts are even offering wellness programs for children and teens.

The catch is that a lot of wellness travel doesn’t come cheap. For many, however, it’s worth dropping the dollars on. At a time of perpetually beeping phones, living through camera screens, social media anxiety, fake news, bad news and ever-moving cities, a peace and wellness-filled retreat seems more essential than ever.