Wellness Travel Trends in 2020

Another holiday season has come and gone. 2019 has come to a close. And we're on to a new decade even. How does all of this have you feeling?

Maybe the holiday season has derailed healthy habits and you want to get back on track. Maybe you want to start a new year, and a new decade, off on the right foot with intentions for new healthier habits. Whatever the case, I know health and wellness is on many of your minds. As such, perhaps you should consider a reset at a dreamy wellness resort or consider other exciting wellness travel options.

Wellness travel has traditionally been associated with luxury spa holidays. But as self-care has evolved into a daily goal, wellness travel is now taking many different forms. Based on research in wellness and insights from travel industry experts, here are my predictions on wellness travel trends that will define 2020.

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SUSTAINABLE WELLNESS

Wellness travel and sustainability have long gone hand in hand, considering the wellness of the planet as important as well. Now though, sustainable wellness travel options are becoming more multi-faceted. Many hotels and retreats are innovating exemplary ways of avoiding chemicals in their spas, housekeeping, bathroom amenities and restaurants. Stringent anti-chemical policies using effective natural alternatives or a philosophy around all things organic all contribute to a 360° view of wellness. Food waste initiatives where hotels are minimizing their carbon footprints in terms of their F&B operations and recycling schemes are paramount in today’s world and wellness hotels are among those leading the charge.

Top Eco Resorts: Taj Exotica Eco Resorts, Six Senses Fiji, Borgo Egnazia, Eco Resort at Isla Palenque, Casa de Uco Villas

TAKING THE SLOW ROUTE

Modern life is hectic, defined by our reliance on technology, and offers seemingly few moments to pause and simply be. Slow travel is becoming all that more alluring as a response to the cult of speed and as a vehicle for engaging in deep, immersive and more meaningful experiences during journeys in the outdoors and the simple pleasures that too often pass us by. Slow travel also appeals because it focuses on more sustainable travel; taking local means of transport, exploring traditional cultures and ways of life, and limiting our footprint by traveling in a more eco-aware way. Slow travel is about off the beaten track adventures and focusing on meaningful experiences and connections, rather than cliche Instagram snapshots. Slow adventures have the potential to improve people’s general health and wellbeing through mindful enjoyment and consumption of the outdoor experience and thus bring people back to a state of mental and physical equilibrium.

couple at the peak facing mountain

THE HEALING POWER OF NATURE

Yes, yes we all know getting outdoors is good for us. But how many of us actually go outside, walk, and frolic in nature daily? Paracelsus, the 16th-century physician, wrote: “The art of healing comes from nature, not from the physician” and this is of paramount importance especially today with the arch-nemesis of nature being smartphones, iPad and Netflix. We are turned on 24/7 in a world of likes, stories, followers and tweets, there is an ever-increasing disassociation with our natural surroundings which can leave us physically and emotionally in deficit. Added to this, is the fact that most people live in the bright lights of urban dwellings, geography, therefore, playing a part in our disconnectedness. Get the joy of nature back on a wellness retreat in nature.

Top Wellness Destinations: Euphoria Retreat, Shanti Maurice, Itz'ana, El Mangroove, the Homestead Tofino, Grail Springs

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VEGAN WELLNESS RETREATS

Look at any list of 2019 wellness trends, and you will find veganism on it. The simple choice to eat plants improves our well-being in a remarkable number of ways. From disease prevention and reversal, to training for optimal physical performance, the vegan lifestyle and diet can be attributed to longevity and harmony with the outside world. From leading plant-based physicians releasing cutting-edge research, to nutritionists, animal welfare advocates, social influencers, and movement coaches, these pioneering vegan experts make inspiring retreat leaders. A vegan wellness retreat will create life affirming memories and set a lasting commitment to a holistic, plant-based lifestyle.

Looking for a vegan vacation - check out one of my most popular blog posts,

woman meditating on floor with overlooking view of trees

MORE WOMEN'S ONLY OPTIONS

Women’s travel, from challenging adventure travel for the solo woman to women’s programs, women’s transformative retreats, and women’s-only resorts are predicted to rise in the wellness scene over the coming years. More than just a safe space for women to retreat to, these spaces will also focus on more female-centred topics and healing work such as hormone health, women’s sexual wellness and catering to all stages of the female life span more directly.

Adventure-style retreats for women, as well as more nurturing and healing retreats for women, are all set to become more readily accessible as women venture out on solo expeditions with greater means and frequency.

Looking for a unique soft-adventure transformative experience? I have partnered with award-winning Ayurva Traveller to create this Find Your Happy Travels exclusive itinerary. Find out more here,

calm body of water beside green trees

DIGITAL & EMF DETOXING
Do you need to unplug and unwind from it all? Are you social media sick? It’s not just our bodies that need a detox, our minds can become overloaded from our frantic, stressed, overworked lives which involve prolonged screen time. What to do? Give yourself a digital detox in a place where phones are surrendered or limited, and there are lots of other things to do, including rest. Some retreats are simply places where it’s easy to switch off, where there’s no WIFI or mobile reception, for example, or where they actively encourage you to limit your screen time. Other wellness retreats offer dedicated detox breaks which make it easy to break your social media or screen habit surrounded by like-minded people. You get to choose.

Top Wellness Digital & EMF Detoxing Destinations: Shreyas Silent Retreat, Pine Cliffs Digital Detox, Fusion Maia Juice Cleansing Detox

woman sitting on chair while using MacBook

THE WELLNESS SABBATICAL

Most of us are familiar with what a wellness retreat entails; where one may spend a week in beautiful surroundings being tended to by holistic therapists, eating nutrient-dense food and practising yoga with limited technology usage. We are encouraged to switch off and digital detox to ensure maximum decompression and relaxation, however, a new wellness trend is to embark on a longer-term wellness programme while still staying connected to one’s job in a positive and healthy environment. This can contribute to increased productivity, relaxation and a wider perspective. The work culture is changing, with those who can take regular sabbaticals on a long-stay structured wellness programme, embracing the balance between wellness and work.

Top Wellness Sabbatical Destinations: Absolute Sanctuary Lifestyle Change, SHA Wellness Life Reset

woman in white monokini sitting on rock

RE-WILDING

Trains, planes and automobiles. Concrete jungles where we commute, work, TV, repeat. Many of us are in need of getting our wild selves back and remembering that life isn’t a rehearsal – this is it! We do not have to regress to Neanderthal cavepeople to be able to relate to this concept. There are retreats which focus on rewilding the human body using a combination of nature, adventure, exercise, play, rest, nutrition and mindfulness - whilst enjoying some of the world’s most unique venues, handpicked for their outstanding eco-design set within the stunning natural surroundings. Get inspired in these immersive wildlife experiences in breath-taking locations.

Top Wellness Destinations: Karkloof, Borgo Egnazia, Kamalaya

people near lake

SOUND AND SPIRIT SEEKERS
Virtually every culture has used sound for healing and transformation, from Ancient Greece to the Mayans and Egyptians. Music aids meditation and raises spiritual, healing energies. Sound is composed of vibrating particles of energy and the somewhat magical resonating tones of instruments such as Tibetan healing bowls can stimulate the brain and nervous system into harmony.

In our culture, music has generally become trivialised into short-term entertainment or distraction as opposed to other cultures where music is holistically integrated into their existence. Take a break from all the overwhelms and just be where music is used as a therapy.

Top Wellness Destinations: Borgo Egnazia, Chiva Som Natural Renewal

white and blue dream catcher

SLEEP RETREATS

A rising number of people suffer from sleep problems due to stress and over-work. The result is a ‘transient desynchronisation’ of the circadian rhythms that regulate rest – think of the birds who sing all night because of electric lights.

Chronic poor-quality sleep affects performance, slows reaction times and recovery rates from injury, as well as impairing judgement. In 2020, specialist sleep retreats will be offering programmes to get you back on track.

Top Wellness Destinations: Grand Resort Bad Ragaz Sleep, Kamalaya in Thailand, Six Senses Douro Valley Yogic Sleep, Sharnti Maurice Shanti Sleep, Zighy Bay Sleep & Destress

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GENETIC LIFESTYLE
You’ve heard of the saying ‘one man’s medicine is another’s poison’, this is still very relevant and as true as when it was coined during Roman times. We are often overwhelmed by choices; paleo, keto, vegan, dairy-free diets, as well as increased transparency about where our food comes from, is ubiquitous. Choosing a wellness retreat with a comprehensive programme involving genetic and other testing methods eradicates the one-size-fits-all approach and allows us to manage our overall health and well-being using science, technology and common sense. Testing has become more affordable, less invasive and much more accurate, making peak performance widely obtainable.

Top Wellness Destinations: BodyHoliday BodyScience, Kurotel Longevity Medical Centre & Spa, Longevity Health & Wellness Hotel

woman sitting beside pool near house during daytime

SOFT WELLNESS TRAVEL
If wellness tourism conjures up images of a medical spa in the Andes, doctors in lab coats and strange therapies designed for maximum discomfort, think again! There are lifestyle hotels which are accustomed to even the most knowledgeable of wellness clientele, incorporating slow or soft wellness approaches into their agenda with the additions of Tai Chi, yoga, meditation, nature walks and healthy cooking classes. A healthy holiday can still involve your family or partner who may want to try an alternative programme, whilst allowing you the space for self-healing, reflection in conjunction with precious time together. Wellness holidays are not about lacking or deficiency, but a way of being filled up with the things you love.

Top Wellness Destinations: Kamalaya Mindful Triathlon, Zighy Bay Sleep & Destress, Lefay Fusion Fitness

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HEALTHIER DESTINATIONS
With a substantial increase of people travelling worldwide on holiday, the surge of cultural experiences can also mean a strain on local resources, both socially, environmentally and economically - overtourism. How can we help to ensure the longevity of these destinations for generations to come as well as not impacting negatively on the tourism experience? Pick the road less travelled. Less trafficked, or places which are taking measures to combat overtourism, protecting delicate ecosystems or linking tourism with sustainable projects where tourists can get involved and therefore have a unique and rich involvement in the local culture. We can all do our part, as tourist to lessen the impact and alleviate pressure by discovering new locations, giving back locally and connecting with nature.

Top Wellness Destinations: Philippines Discover Recover, Chiva Som

Wellness travel is all about your wellness goals, your travel style, your big adventure dreams. At Find Your Happy Travels, I craft custom trips for travellers seeking to go deeper on their health and wellness journeys. I truly believe that travel is a medicine that has incredible healing power – with the ability to reinvigorate and transform. It can serve to elevate us, humble us, change our perspective and indulge our senses. It’s an invitation for us to fully immerse ourselves in experiences that inspire us to celebrate the moment and focus on connection with ourselves, with our environment and with those around us. Contact me at shariblock@findyourhappytravels.com to set up your free 30 minute planning consultation.

Looking for sustainable travel tips - look no further. Download my free guide now, 10 WAYS TO TRAVEL SUSTAINABLY - GREEN TRAVEL TIPS

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Shari Block

Shari Block

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