The holidays can leave us feeling drained. Taking time off to focus on wellness can increase happiness and overall health.
The Meaning of Wellness
Wellness is a modern word with ancient roots. The key tenets of wellness as both preventive and holistic. They can be traced back to ancient civilizations from the East (India, China) to the West (Greece, Rome). In 19th-century Europe and the United States, a variety of intellectual, religious and medical movements developed in parallel with conventional medicine.
With their focus on holistic and natural approaches, self-healing and preventive care, these movements provide a firm foundation for wellness today. Wellness-focused and holistic modalities have gained more visibility since the 1960s/1970s. Under the writings of an informal network of US physicians and thinkers such as Halbert Dunn, Jack Travis, and others. As these have evolved, proliferated, and gone mainstream, they informed the current wellness practices of the 21st century.
Wellness and the Service Member
Wellness is especially important to service member. It is multidimensional and it encompasses everything from health to emotional well-being as well. Service members and their families live out of the ordinary. With constant moves and deployments, it is important for service members and their families to make time for wellness. The best way to make time for this is to invest in time-off. Taking time off is greatly beneficial to promoting wellness in a unit and within the military community.
From 2015 to 2017 the wellness tourism market grew from $563bn to $639bn, more than twice as fast as the growth of tourism overall. By 2022, GWI predicts the market will reach a whopping $919bn – representing 18% of all global tourism . With well over a billion individual wellness trips to take place around the globe. Anne Dimon, president of the Wellness Tourism Association, adds that while wellness travellers can be anyone, the bulk tend to be higher-educated women between ages 30 and 60.
Despite its new visibility, the idea of travelling with the express purpose of improving well-being is by no means novel. Think back to the pilgrimages taken to the Dead Sea, ancient baths in Rome and natural hot springs across Asia. But according to GWI, wellness tourism today is about much more than the destination or activities – it is an extension of the very values and lifestyle of the traveller.
What is Wellness Tourism?
Wellness tourism is all about travel that is focused on maintaining or improving someone’s wellbeing. This may be physical or mental – there are different types of wellness. Activities may be spiritual, physical or psychological, but they will all promote health in some way.
Wellness tourism is going from strength to strength, but why is it important? The number one reason, of course, is that it improves people’s wellbeing. Whether this is by teaching them to eat healthily, or giving them space to heal from a particular trauma, there are many reasons as to why someone would go on a wellness-focused holiday. By offering space for self-improvement, we end up with a healthier population overall. People who are less stressed, fitter, more knowledgeable about their nutrition… this is very important for society.
Popular Wellness Destinations
Iceland is a beautiful destination and one that also has a lot of wellness tourism activities on offer. Take a dip in a geothermal pool, for example – there are plenty of hot springs to relax in, taking in the stunning scenery around you. Or you can head to the Myvatn Nature Baths in the North, where the water is very unique. It’s alkaline with a huge amount of minerals, meaning it is well-suited for bathing. The trace elements in the water are meant to have a great effect on the development of any skin problems. From infinity pools to skiing to mountain hiking, there are many wellness activities available across Iceland! This is a location suited to both primary wellness tourism, and also secondary – incorporating a Blue Lagoon dip into your road trip, for example.
If you want to melt stress away by reconnecting to nature, Costa Rica is ideal. Renowned for its biodiversity, enjoy everything from surfing and hikes in the jungle to magnificent waterfalls to strolls on the country’s best beaches. One of the most beautiful cascades you’ll ever see can be found in Tenorio Volcano National Park. Rio Celeste spills into a brilliant aquamarine-hued pool, with its bright color the result of volcanic compounds in the water, making it look like a fantasy come to life. The moderately difficult 4.5-mile hike through the verdant rainforest will challenge your legs but it’s more than worth the reward. Afterward, you can recharge at one of Costa Rica’s top beach resorts.
The Caribbean island of Aruba is a slice of tropical bliss. It is home to pristine white sand beaches and a long list of picture-perfect natural wonders. Aruba is one of the best wellness destinations in the world, with its calm blue waters. It offers national parks offering an array of activities for re-connecting with nature. For a wellness getaway, you can snorkel at Arashi Beach, paddle board or scuba dive in Noor. If you’re up for an adventure, explore Fontein and Guadirikiri Caves. Traverse Arikok National Park, then reward yourself with a mineral-rich Aruban mud bath at the luxe spa at Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa. The spa also offers beach and aerial yoga overlooking the famous Eagle Beach. Other popular excursions for thrill-seekers include windsurfing and kitesurfing at Hadicurari Beach and skydiving in Noord.
One of the top destinations in Thailand is Ko Samui. It is a stunning area that provides the perfect blend of serene beauty for relaxation and opportunities for getting active. Ko Samui is home to some of the most beautiful beaches you’ve ever seen. It also has dazzling secluded lagoons in Ang Thong National Marine Park. Discover countless spas for pampering, many that are nestled within tropical gardens, providing a magical sanctuary for unwinding.
Napa Valley isn’t all about the wine, but if you want to indulge in a little bit of that organic Cabernet, they do say a glass of red offers a few health benefits. You’ll be able to pair your wine with healthy, organic food at any one of a long list of outstanding eateries, burning off those dishes on the 47-mile Napa Valley Vine Trail, a walking and biking system that links the entire valley from Calistoga to Vallejo to Calistoga. This is also a popular spot for sunrise hot-air balloon rides.
If you want a more tailored itinerary catered to wellness you can also travel to wellness resorts all over the world.
TIA Wellness Resort in Vietnam
From a private beach to daily spa treatments along with healthy cuisine, fitness and leisure activities, this resort in Da Nang offers a February wellness holiday that includes group wellness activities, tai chi, and snorkeling with tropical fish.
Mayr Metabolic Park Igls, Austria
Situated in a private haven in the Austrian Alps, Mayr Metabolic is surrounded by mountains overlooking the oldest park in Austria. Breathtaking views compliment healing modalities designed for guests with allergies, fat and glucose metabolism disorders, skin conditions, and more.
Initial and final medical exams allow guests to see the benefits of these cleansing treatments.
Holistic Fitness Retreat, Preidlhof, Italy
Overlooking the Dolomite Mountains and surrounded by nature, this world heritage site makes the most of its stunning surroundings in Italy’s south Tyrol.
There are many wellness activities in the May. The retreat includes forest bathing, cycling, tours and excursions, walks, laughter yoga along with healthy Mediterranean cuisine.
Yoga and Pilates Retreat at Longevity Health and Wellness Hotel, Portugal
This wellness retreat program held on the coast of Algarve is led by Jessica Lambert. She is a yogi and Pilates expert in June. Guests will enhance strength and mobility through Vinyasa Yoga. Progress to tone through Pilates, raise their heartbeat through circuit training and improve overall fitness.
Mirbeau Inn & Spa Rhinebeck, New York
Evoking an old-world Parisian hotel, Mirbeau Inn & Spa Rhinebeck offers a wellness experience to savor. This spa is located in a charming and historic town in New York’s scenic Hudson Valley. The property invites you to indulge at Spa Mirbeau. It offers a host of relaxing and rejuvenating services.
Mirbeau Inn & Spa Rhinebeck is 12,000 square feet. The facility features 14 treatment rooms with fireplaces and private sound systems. It also has a co-ed resting area complete with meditation rock, an Aqua Terrace, an outdoor oasis with a fireplace, bar and a hot thermal pool. The European-style menu includes anti-aging facials, soothing massages, restorative body treatments, and hand and foot therapies.
The 49-room resort has all the modern comforts, including French-style soaking tubs, European-tiled walk-in showers and fireplaces that inspire you to bask in their glow. Capitalizing on the Hudson Valley’s lauded agricultural heritage, the resort’s restaurant—Willow by Charlie Palmer—provides yet another option to indulge thanks to its progressive American cuisine, which relies on seasonal produce from multi-generational farms. As the third addition to the Mirbeau portfolio, the property helps you leave the world behind.
Shou Sugi Ban House, New York
The ultimate Hamptons wellness retreat, Shou Sugi Ban House is a private, three-acre sanctuary that brings together global relaxation and healing arts practices.
Shou Sugi Ban House features 13 guest studios situated around the main pool, each incorporating the Japanese principles of wabi-sabi design. The architecture and design create a balance between seclusion and connection with its public and private spaces.
The Main Barn, featuring a demonstration kitchen and communal table, is just one place you’ll find connections. The property also includes the Healing Arts Barn with a tea bar, a five-treatment-room spa with hydrotherapy pools and a roof deck, an open-air Movement Pavilion, a ceremonial fire circle and more. A geodesic dome is also on hand for treatments and workshops, such as breathwork, crystal healing, meditation, reiki and yoga.
With a culinary philosophy based on the belief that true health is grounded in nature, the property relies on locally sourced, organic foods. All spa and healing arts rituals must be booked as part of a package. You’ll want to consider pairing a session with a nourishing meal, a tea meditation or a scheduled program. Shou Sugi Ban House provides thoughtful and ever-evolving programming that puts you on the path to well-being.
Maybe you are tired of traveling from the holiday season and don’t feel like traveling far. Don’t let how you feel stop you from tacking a staycation. MilitaryFares has many hotel packages deals in many areas to help you realize your ultimate staycation.
What is a Staycation?
The concept of staycation was born at the time of the 2008 market crisis in the United States. Because of it, many households were forced to restrict their expenses and consequently limit their vacation budget. The shortage of money to travel abroad is at the origin of why many people started to (re) discover their most immediate surroundings.
At the same time, awareness of the environmental impacts of tourism, especially on what concerns the impacts of transportation, started to increase too. And so has the perception that some of the main cities (abroad) are increasingly overloaded with people – with places such as Barcelona, Venice, or the Seychelles planning on introducing a tourist cap.
For the environmentally conscious
Staycation appears like a great solution for the challenges above mentioned. It is a great way of spending joyful vacations while helping one’s pocket and the environment. In fact, staying close to home eliminates the budget for accommodation. Approximately 15% of the budget of average households on vacation and transport.
Apart from the financial savings gained by leaving behind plane tickets or by not booking hotel rooms, staycation also has the benefit of keeping harmful GHG emissions in the ground. Cars, boats, and planes are not (or are less) used and other means of transport such as public transport, bicycles, electric scooters or just walking are favored instead. This allows people’s carbon footprints not to increase as much as they would if long distances had been traveled.
What Staycations do?
A staycation is a form of alternative tourism that is fully in line with the slow tourism trend. Slow tourism invites you to live in the present moment. It encourages you to take your time. Discover nearby landscapes, reconnect and spend more time outdoors in nature with the people you enjoy.
There are no fully-booked days, you do what you feel like doing. With proactivity and without constantly falling into temptations such as Netflix. There is no rush to go from one activity to another just to stay busy all the time.
Benefits of a Staycation
Supports Local Economies
Is there a new restaurant in your city that you have been craving to go to? Or a new eco-friendly boutique hotel within driving distance from your home? If so, a staycation is a perfect opportunity to support the local economy by uncovering nearby tourist attractions.
During your “stay-at-home holidays”, you visit local food markets, try out trendy new cafes, and book a nearby comfy accommodation. It will certainly boost your city’s revenue and sustainable travel efforts.
Great for Short Trips
Almost everyone knows that urge of wanting to escape from the world. We all just want to go somewhere different for a few days. But, unfortunately, going on a holiday is not always possible — especially if you have to work. But this is exactly where a staycation comes in handy.
In case you’re desperate for some traveling, but can’t skip work. A good idea is to get away just for the weekend. You don’t even have to go far from home. Just book at a cozy hotel boutique with a spa, pamper yourself with lots of room service. Finally spend a few days disconnecting from everything. Plus, these short breaks will do wonders for your mental health!
Reduced Travel Time
Now that you don’t have to hop on a long-haul flight to get to your final destination, you can focus on the most important part of your trip: enjoying your vacation!
Reduced travel time allows for more relaxing, adventuring, and fulfilling moments during your trip, whether it’s treating yourself by going to a nearby spa or hiking at your country’s stunning national park.
Traveling internationally also requires a lot of planning and organization beforehand. You have to budget your expenses, learn about the destination’s culture, look for accommodation, research convenient flights, pack accordingly for a long trip…the list could go on and on.
All of this planning can, sometimes, add a little bit of stress to your trip. On the other hand, when going on a staycation, you can be more relaxed about planning or not plan at all!
Always Pet Friendly
Although many hotels and vacation rentals strive to be more inclusive towards pet visits, when you opt for staycations, that is one thing less to worry about. You can rest easy and comfortable knowing that whatever experience you embark on, your pet can come along with you.
Did you know there are certain countries that even boast and encourage pet-friendly travel? If you live in the US, Germany, or Japan, for instance, then you’re in the perfect spot to staycation with your dog or cat.
Do you know that feeling of coming back home more tired than when you left for a trip? Well, on a staycation that’s unlikely to happen. First: you won’t have to deal with any jet lag or suffer from accumulated pre-travel stress. Not to mention that you probably won’t be waiting for your bags at the airport, or worrying about missing your flight.
Second: when you travel locally, holidays usually happen at a slower pace, as you don’t feel that intense urge of seeing and doing everything. Since you’re already close to home, you can just enjoy and relax on a nice trip, without having to worry too much about checking off all the items on your bucket list.
Great Room Service
Treat yourself to a nice meal and avoid the additional social contact by ordering room service instead of dining out. Many hotels are revamping their in-room dining menus or extending room service hours in response to COVID-19, so the experience may be different than you’re used to. If you’re staycationing at home, splurge on a fancy takeout meal from a local restaurant. To-go menus may look different now, too. D.C. diners who order paella from Jaleo by José Andrés, for example, get to keep the enameled pan it comes in.
Travel and Well-Being
Travel is a great way to maintain mental wellbeing and, by extension, it contributes to a happier and more fulfilling life. It is necessary for wellness and health. Immersing yourself in new cultures increases your mind’s ability to move between different ideas, think more deeply, and integrate thoughts. “Foreign experiences increase both cognitive flexibility and depth and integrativeness of thought,” says Adam Galinsky, a professor and author of numerous studies on the connection between creativity and international travel.
A wellness retreat focused on practices like yoga, meditation, and mindfulness, you can learn skills that you can bring home to help you keep up a regular wellness routine. This routine will be key in maintaining stronger mental health. Can’t you just imagine yourself learning centuries-old yoga practices on an idyllic beach?
Travelling with loved ones helps meet your needs for love and belonging. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs identifies love and belonging as key psychological human needs. Sharing your amazing travel adventures with loved ones helps enhance your connection with them while intensifying feelings of love, belonging, and fulfilment. Think of a family holiday on a beautiful island or a trip eating all sorts of delicious food with your best friend. Make sure you book your next trip on Military Fares!