A Healthy Dose of Travel

Traveling for wellness is a trending idea

BYDena Roché
Vacations have traditionally been about relaxation, but in today’s hyper-connected world, even getaways must multi-task. Many travelers expect a vacation to not only serve as an escape, but also as an educator, a fitness trainer, and a therapist. It’s a tall order, but one that the growing wellness travel industry is well suited to tackle.
 
Expanding Options
Thirty years ago, wellness travel was in its infancy, and it usually meant going to a spa to be pampered. But times have changed, and wellness travel is now a $563.2 billion industry. While it can still entail a trip to a spa, it’s also about stress reduction, mindfulness, nutrition, adventure, and cultivating new interests. These days, a wellness vacation could mean a yoga retreat, a healthy cooking course in Tuscany, cycling through France’s wine country, or meditation classes.
 
The travel industry continues to evolve to meet the needs of travelers seeking healthy lifestyle options. Hotel fitness centers are expanding, healthy options are peppering menus, and spa programming has gone far beyond pampering, often offering services with scientific research behind them. In fact, entire wellness hotel chains have been launched to meet demand.
 
Even destinations are positioning themselves to play in the wellness travel sandbox. Costa Rica’s yearlong campaign to focus on Pura Vida and Aruba’s Aloe Wellness Month are perfect examples.
 
Stress Relief
So what’s behind wellness travel’s growth? Many point to tech-obsessed, burnout-inducing lifestyles. Wellness-oriented hotels are focused on helping travelers manage this stress through mindfulness and creative pursuits that don’t involve screens. This could mean anything from adult coloring books and in-room mindfulness cards to journaling workshops and meditation programs.
 
Another trend is a return to minimalism on spa menus, which include traditional services like hydrotherapy, salt rooms, and saunas.
DENA ROCHE is a wellness and travel expert based in Phoenix.
Travel Well!
To find out more about booking a wellness trip near or far, contact a AAA Travel agent by calling toll-free 1-888-870-9392, or visit AAA.com.
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