Last updated April 6, 2023
It’s no secret. Wellness travel is having a moment. Again. Here are the top 12 essential wellness trends on our radar for the year ahead.
Experts predict that all travel will become wellness travel—which now accounts for 17% of global tourism. Recent surveys also confirm that wellness is poised to take a bigger seat at the health table. Many travelers today prefer to maintain or enhance their personal well-being while on vacation, be it for work or pleasure.
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Our intention with this guide is to inspire you to step out of your comfort zone and explore what the world of wellness has to offer beyond the traditional spa escape. There are oodles of experiences designed to help you tune into your body, connect to your mind and open your heart.
The following represents twelve of the most intriguing wellness trends and offerings that we’re super excited about!
On Our Radar: Twelve Essential Wellness Trends
These essential wellness trends are in no particular order! Take them as you will. And don’t be alarmed if some of these wellness trends seem so “last year.” Like fine wine, these trends get better with time.
1. Around the World in One Spa
It’s a little like EPCOT—but with bubbly and robes!
By incorporating authentic spa experiences from cultures around the world, facilities such as The Well Oslo and World Spa have created a new kind of wellness sanctuary.
You can spend hours at these spas exploring different bathing cultures and rituals including Russian banyas, Finnish saunas, Turkish and Moroccan hammams, cleansing Himalayan salt caves, Japanese onsens, infrared rooms and more—all under one roof.
Chill out and relax. Indulge and be pampered. Gather and celebrate. Transport yourself to every corner of the globe and experience a true world of wellness.
2. Brain Care
Show your brain some love.
Thankfully, we’re now more vocal about the struggles of mental health than ever before. And there’s no longer a stigma to see a therapist or book a mental wellness retreat to reboot your mind.
Having a healthy brain is the first step to coping with stress, being happier and reaching your full potential. There is much you can do for your own brain care. Taking breaks, getting enough rest and incorporating relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation or Tai chi—are all great ways to quiet the noise and reconnect with yourself.
Mindfulness is another tool in helping you to become aware of your emotions and how to deal with them in a healthy way. Mindfulness can also help you better navigate other challenges in life and work.
3. Cosmic Self-Care
A nod to the cosmos.
Hotels, resorts and trip-planning agencies are now incorporating programming based around the moon and stars into their itineraries, with offerings like astrology and tarot readings, events inspired by lunar phases and planetary transits, and astronomer-led stargazing. This strays far from the typical wellness resort experience. Instead, it reflects the growing interest in psychic services as a form of wellness travel.
At L’Auberge de Sedona, the “Retrograde Reset” program combines various restorative offerings, including a turquoise and sage hydration treatment, sound healing and a hike through Sedona’s spiritual vortices.
Meanwhile, the Arizona Biltmore has launched astrology readings alongside facials inspired by the moon. And Alila Ventana Big Sur has introduced a celestially inspired yoga class as well as astrology readings and the opportunity to have your “essence” painted.
Yes, studies actually show that you have a shorter attention span than a goldfish.
Focus and concentration can be difficult to tackle, especially with the amount of noise and constant distractions we have in our digital world. However, more people are looking for ways to improve their focus and concentration.
This has led to an increase in workshops, seminars, books and even organized retreats all teaching different methods to improve one’s focus. In addition, nootropics (cognitive enhancers such as Bacopa Monnieri, Rhodiola Rosea and Ginkgo Biloba, as well as adaptogens such as mushrooms) are trending as people look for more natural ways to improve their concentration.
5. Intentional Thinking
Bring on the travel coach and travel psychologist.
Travel coaching is all about creating positive transformations in our lives. That’s why it’s often seen as an extension of life coaching, because it has such a meaningful and purposeful impact.
In recent years, there has been a shift in the psychology of travel, with more travelers interested in using their time to reflect, learn, reset and figure out what really matters to them. This change has led to an increase in solo travel, educational travel and other forms of travel that are focused on personal growth.
The mental wellness benefits of travel are nothing short of impressive. Travel coaches and travel psychologists are becoming increasingly popular as people focus on having more personalized and transformative travel experiences.
Bye, Bye FOMO, hello JOMO!
JOMO, or “the joy of missing out,” is the complete opposite of FOMO. It’s a term that encompasses the relief one feels from not having to be productive all the time, which came about as a reaction to “hustle culture” and constantly “plugged-in” lifestyles.
JOMO in respect to travel means being present and living in the moment. By deliberately taking a step back, avoiding overexertion and freeing ourselves from what we “should” be doing, we can replace fear with joy.
Here are three pieces of advice to help you embrace JOMO while traveling:
- Learn to say no so as not to spread yourself too thin.
- Be selective about when and how you document your vacation.
- Let your itinerary flow.
7. Menopause Retreats
Let’s start the conversation.
Menopause is a natural transition that half the world’s population goes through. Yet it is often ignored in culture and medicine. As more women are speaking up about their experiences with menopause, more solutions and retreats are popping up to help ladies going through this difficult time.
These retreats offer a chance for women to get some personal attention, try out different techniques and join a community of others who understand what they’re going through.
Retreats that focus on providing relief to women during menopause offer a variety of services such as breathwork, acupuncture and menopause-focused bodywork treatments.
Some retreats offer a medical-wellness approach with menopause-specialist physicians who can evaluate guests and prescribe medication. Other menopause retreats offer creative emotional release therapies. And Ayurvedic resorts are using ancient Indian medicine to focus on correcting imbalances that tackle hormonal fluctuations.
8. Quiet Wakefulness
Yoga Nidra counts as a full night of sleep, right?
At Vacayou, we believe that finding a balance between living a fulfilled life and taking the time to rest is crucial. For most people, feeling tired or run down usually means they need more sleep.
But while quality sleep is essential to feeling rested, rest is about more than just getting a good night’s sleep. Rest involves your whole being, not just your body. With regular, complete rest, you can restore your health, improve your performance and achieve a sense of wellness.
There are many small ways to incorporate rest into your everyday routine. Listening to music, practicing breathing techniques, immersing yourself in nature, enjoying a bubble bath or meditating—are all right types of rest.
Fun fact: According to Sleepstation, the best type of relaxation that has some of the benefits of sleep is meditation (such as Yoga Nidra).
9. Sober Curious
To drink or not to drink. That is the question.
Sober curious is a term to describe the choice to question or change one’s drinking habits for health-related reasons. The sober-curious movement started in 2018 and has encouraged people to take a closer look at the often unhealthy behaviors that come with excessive alcohol consumption and has advocated for a more sober lifestyle.
The culture surrounding sober curiosity is one that is open and welcoming to anyone who isn’t ready or willing to give up drinking entirely (this is NOT recommended for alcoholics).
As more people adopt plant-based diets, yoga and mindfulness practices, sober curious is on the rise. The millennial generation has been at the forefront of this movement, making sobriety more culturally acceptable.
Sober-focused events such as wellness retreats, meditation sessions, online communities and non-alcoholic dinner parties are becoming more popular. And all over the world, individuals are opening sober bars, filled with mocktails while providing a safe space for socialization and community.
10. Social Wellness
Move over, Netflix and chill—at a wellness playground.
Perceived social isolation has a significant effect on well-being. Research has shown that the health risks associated with isolation are comparable to those of smoking cigarettes, high blood pressure and obesity.
After several years of pandemic-induced seclusion, people are yearning to get up close and social again. Enter bathing and other social wellness clubs as the main event.
Per Global Wellness Summit’s Trendium report, new and renovated bathhouses are soaking up the urban landscape, not only bringing urbanites together to relax but also providing a reboot of the mind, body and soul through the discovery and sensory delight of traditional—and at times funky—bathing and sauna rituals.
11. Sound Journey
Get in a sound state of mind.
Sound baths have been used for centuries to help people relax and reach a meditative state. They do this by using singing bowls and gongs to create a humming noise that emits calming vibrations.
These days, sound journeys go one step further by encouraging people to connect to their intuition through the use of soundscapes during spa treatments. The beauty of sound healing as a modality is that it can be creatively curated as an enhancement. Think combining sound with facials, body treatments, yoga and guided meditation.
Aja Daashuur, founder of Spirit House Collective, explains that, “Sound journeys connect us to our ancestors and spirit guides, as well as activate subconscious messages so that we can receive them without judgment.” Sound matters.
You heard right. Men, now’s your time to shine and shamelessly indulge in luxurious and pampering treatments!
According to Consumer Snapshot released by the International SPA Association (ISPA), men account for almost half of all spa guests. What’s driving the demand?
Men are becoming aware of the health benefits that spa treatments can offer. In many cases, they’re overworked, stressed and tired. They’re searching for a short break from their hectic jobs and family life—and value the relaxing atmosphere that a spa provides. Hello, just as women do.
Market leaders note that global sales of male grooming products could reach $81.2 billion by 2024. This significant increase is largely due to factors such as men becoming aware of personal wellness, the rising societal pressure to always look good and changing attitudes toward traditional masculinity. In light of this, it’s not surprising that spas are offering services specifically for male clients.
At Vacayou [pronounced VACAY – YOU], we believe that travel has the power to change lives. The power to revive, rejuvenate and redirect your inner wellness warrior. And that’s why we’re here. Take an online staycation with us and change how you think about travel. Let us make it easier for you to search, discover, and book wellness and active vacations. But we don’t stop there. We are with you every step of the way—before, during and after your journey—to make sure you enjoy the most meaningful vacation ever. Vacayou is wellness travel that meets you right where you are.
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