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How To Plan The Ultimate Health & Wellness Vacation

With so much to do, planning a health and wellness vacation can be tricky. But we've got you! We'll cover everything you need to plan a health and wellness vacation!

In a world bustling with deadlines, constant connectivity, and everyday stresses, the concept of a health and wellness vacation has become more than a trend – it’s a necessity. As self-care and mindful living take center stage, people are looking for a break from routine and a chance to rejuvenate the mind, body, and spirit.

But, with so many options, planning a health and wellness vacation can be tricky. But we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know: from pre-travel prep to wellness travel destinations and even itinerary ideas and wellness travel trends!

Ready to find your zen? Let’s begin!

wellness retreat activities

Understanding Your Wellness Goals

First things first: Why are you going on a health and wellness vacation?

The first thing to figure out is where your focus is. The most common areas are:

  • Physical Wellness
  • Mental and Emotional Wellness
  • Spiritual Wellness
  • Nutritional Wellness

Once you’ve figured out what you want to focus on, it’s time to think about how you’d want to work on that area.

If it’s physical health, you could go for a retreat with some light exercise and healthy meals, or a full-on fitness retreat.

If you want to focus on your spiritual wellbeing, you could go to a retreat with excursions to spiritual places, or find a destination that offers silent retreats.

Essentially, you’re identifying how intensely you want to focus on your area for improvement. Once that’s done, it’s time to find the right location.

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Finding Wellness Travel Destinations

There are a lot of places that offer health and wellness vacations, so you won’t struggle to find somewhere to go. But, if you’re looking for the top 5 wellness tourism destinations:

1. Ubud, Bali

Best for: Mindfulness and Yoga Retreats

Ubud is a cultural and spiritual hub on the Indonesian island of Bali. It’s known for its lush landscapes, ancient temples, and vibrant arts scene. But it’s also known for its numerous yoga and mindfulness retreats. These offer a serene environment for individuals seeking inner peace, self-discovery, and a deep connection with nature.

2. Sedona, Arizona

Best for: Spiritual Renewal And Energy Healing

Sedona is nestled amidst striking red rock formations, creating a unique and spiritually charged atmosphere. This American location is known for its vortex sites, believed to be powerful energy centers. Visitors come to Sedona for spiritual retreats, meditation, and energy healing experiences.

3. Tuscany, Italy

Best for: Culinary Wellness and Cultural Exploration

With its rolling hills, vineyards, and historic villages, Tuscany offers a perfect blend of wellness and cultural experiences. Known for its farm-to-table cuisine and world-class wines, Tuscany caters to those seeking culinary delights and a connection with local cultures and traditions. Visitors can explore charming towns, attend cooking classes, and indulge in spa treatments amid the picturesque landscapes.

4. Costa Rica

Best for: Adventure-Infused Wellness

This Central American gem is known for its biodiversity and eco-friendly practices. Wellness seekers are drawn to Costa Rica for its combination of lush rainforests, pristine beaches, and a host of outdoor activities to build physical wellbeing. Whether it’s zip-lining through the jungle, surfing along the Pacific coast, or practicing yoga amidst nature, Costa Rica provides an adventurous and wellness-focused experience.

5. Maui, Hawaii

Best for: Nature-infused Relaxation and Holistic Wellness

Maui, one of the Hawaiian Islands, is celebrated for its diverse landscapes, including pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and volcanic craters. This destination is ideal for those seeking relaxation in a natural setting. Visitors can engage in activities like beachfront yoga, explore waterfalls along the Hana Highway, and partake in traditional Hawaiian healing practices. Maui offers a perfect blend of tranquility, cultural richness, and holistic wellness experiences.

While they’re known for specific things, these locations cater to every kind of wellness need, so you’ll find what you need no matter where you go.

wellness tourism destinations

Picking Your Wellness Retreat

Finding a destination is one thing, but finding a wellness retreat is another. Before you book a 7-night stay at that 5-star retreat, here are some things you should consider:

1. Location, Location

Choose a location that resonates with you. Some people prefer beachfront retreats, while others may enjoy mountainous or forested settings. Consider whether you prefer a remote retreat or one closer to a town or city.

2. Accommodation

Some retreats offer luxurious spa resorts, while others focus on eco-friendly or rustic settings. Ensure the facilities support your comfort and well-being.

3. Read Reviews

Read reviews and testimonials from previous participants. This provides insights into the overall atmosphere, the effectiveness of programs, and the retreat’s ability to meet participants’ expectations.

4. Check Out Qualifications

Ensure that the retreat employs qualified instructors and practitioners. Check for certifications and experience in leading the specific activities or programs offered.

5. Length Of Your Retreat

Consider the duration of the retreat and whether it aligns with your availability. Some retreats offer weekend getaways, while others are more immersive experiences lasting a week or more.

6. Budget

Evaluate the overall costs, including accommodation, meals, and activities. Consider whether the retreat provides value for the investment and fits within your budget.

7. Group Size

Consider the size of the retreat group. Some people prefer intimate settings with a smaller group for a more personalized experience, while others enjoy the energy of larger gatherings.

Once you’ve identified the perfect wellness retreat, the next step is crafting an itinerary that maximizes the benefits of your experience.

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Building An Itinerary: A List Of Wellness Activities

While your health and wellness vacation is focused on developing your area of focus, it doesn’t mean you can’t experience other activities and excursions. You can break down your activities into the following categories:

Physical Wellness

This includes activities like:

  • Yoga Classes
  • Pilates Sessions
  • Fitness Workshops
  • Hiking or Nature Walks
  • Outdoor Adventure Activities (e.g., kayaking, cycling)

Mental and Emotional Wellness

These wellness activities can include:

  • Guided Meditation Sessions
  • Mindfulness Workshops
  • Stress Management Classes
  • Art Therapy
  • Journaling and Reflective Writing

Spiritual Wellness

This includes:

  • Mindful Practices
  • Spiritual Exploration
  • Connection with Nature
  • Reflection and Contemplation

Nutritional Wellness

Nutritional wellness activities include:

  • Healthy Eating Habits
  • Nutrition Education
  • Detoxification
  • Culinary Exploration

So, an example itinerary would look something like this:

Day 1

  • Physical Wellness:
    • Morning: Welcome and Mindful Arrival Yoga Session
    • Afternoon: Spa Relaxation Time
  • Mental and Emotional Wellness:
    • Afternoon: Wellness Orientation and Goal Setting
    • Evening: Guided Journaling and Reflection Session, Healthy Dinner, and Social Mixer

Day 2

  • Physical Wellness:
  • Morning: Sunrise Hike and Outdoor Fitness Session
  • Nutritional Wellness:
    • Late Morning: Nutritional Wellness Workshop
    • Afternoon: Farm-to-Table Lunch, Cooking Class with a Nutritionist
  • Mental and Emotional Wellness:
    • Afternoon: Guided Meditation and Stress-Relief Workshop
    • Evening: Restorative Yoga, Mindful Dinner, and Group Discussion on Emotional Well-being
  • Late Morning: Energizing Breakfast

Day 3

  • Spiritual Wellness:
    • Morning: Meditation Retreat in Nature
    • Late Morning: Spiritual Guidance Session
  • Physical Wellness:
    • Late Morning: Beachfront Yoga
    • Afternoon: Light and Nourishing Spa Cuisine Lunch
  • Nutritional Wellness:
    • Afternoon: Culinary Adventure Tour with a Focus on Healthy Eating
    • Evening: Spiritual Reflection Circle, Nutrient-Packed Dinner

Day 4

  • Physical Wellness:
    • Morning: Outdoor Group Fitness Class
    • Late Morning: Healthy Brunch
  • Mental and Emotional Wellness:
    • Late Morning: Creative Expression Workshop
    • Afternoon: Free Time for Personal Wellness Activities
  • Spiritual Wellness:
    • Afternoon: Mindful Walk in Nature
    • Evening: Sunset Spiritual Ritual and Closing Ceremony

So, you’ve found your dream retreat and put your itinerary together.
Now, it’s time to pack your bags.

wellness group activities for mental health

Packing For Your Health And Wellness Vacation

Packing for a wellness trip means making sure you’ve got an outfit for every occasion. Here’s what you should have in your luggage:

1. Comfortable Clothes

The goal with comfy clothes is finding a balance between practicality and relaxation.

  • For activewear, look at breathable, stretchy clothes like yoga pants, running shorts, sports bras and loose tops.
  • For leisurewear, you’ll want something loose or flowy. Think comfy T-shirts, casual shorts, skirts, and hoodies or jackets if it’s a bit cooler.
  • Footwear should be supportive exercise shoes, and flip-flops or sandals.
  • Other accessories include hats and sunglasses for outings.

Wellness accessories are essential elements to enhance the overall health and relaxation experience during your wellness vacation.

2. Wellness Accessories

  • A yoga mat is a must for grounding and comfortable practice during mindfulness sessions.
  • Reusable water bottles will help you ensure you’re always hydrated.
  • Fitness trackers aid in monitoring physical activity.

3. Mindfulness Tools

Mindfulness tools help build a sense of tranquility and self-awareness during your health and wellness vacation. These include things like:

  • Headphones, for a personalized space with some soothing music.
  • Mindfulness or affirmation cards to keep you positive every day.
  • A journal for reflections, gratitude, and intentions.
  • Mala beads offer tangible reminders to stay present.

4. Travel Documents

Of course, you’ll want to make sure your passport and ticket are at hand. But you may also want to print out a copy of your booking confirmation and take your health insurance card if you have one.

Packed, planned, and ready to go. Now it’s time to enjoy your trip! We’ll be here when you get back for the last part of your health and wellness vacation.

5. Post-Vacation Integration

Did you enjoy your trip? We hope so! But the important thing about a wellness trip is taking what you’ve learned back with you to make your trip worth it.

6. Reflection & Goal Setting

Take time to reflect on your wellness vacation experiences. Identify the activities that resonated with you and contributed positively to your well-being.

Then, based on your reflections, set realistic and achievable goals for integrating wellness practices into your daily life. These goals could include specific activities, habits, or mindset shifts.

7. Establish A Routine

Develop a post-vacation routine that seamlessly incorporates wellness practices into your daily schedule. Designate specific times for activities such as meditation, exercise, or healthy meals to create a consistent structure.

8. Integrate Wellness Into Your Life Gradually

Integrate wellness practices gradually, allowing them to become a natural part of your routine. Avoid overwhelming yourself with too many changes at once.

9. Keep At It

Wellness is an ongoing process. Regularly assess your goals, adjust them as needed, and celebrate your achievements along the way

And that’s it! You’ve got everything you need to prepare for and enjoy a soul-cleansing trip, and the ways you can bring those practices back into your everyday life.

wellness tourism activities

Wellness Travel Trends

Wellness is a booming industry right now, and the following wellness travel trends are on the radar for 2024:

Sexual Wellness

Innovative wellness retreats are breaking barriers by introducing new programs that delve into intimacy and desire. Tantra sessions are emerging as a fresh alternative to traditional couples massages, with some retreats offering tantra classes centered around themes like the exploration of sacred sensuality.


Contemporary beach getaways offer cutting-edge biohacking techniques to enhance longevity. One hotel in Kauai offers guests a vitamin B12 shot instead of the customary mai tai, setting the tone for a wellness-infused experience.

Grief-Related Wellness

Beyond traditional talk therapy, new grief-focused retreats offer diverse approaches, from surfing to chakra realignment, for moving past loss or traumatic events.

Menopause Retreats

The wellness industry is addressing the needs of the 1.1 billion women expected to experience menopause by 2025. Initiatives include in-house menopause specialists, retreats with acupuncture and coaching, and nutrition-focused programs.

Sleep Wellness

Acknowledging the pivotal role of quality sleep in overall health, sleep wellness trends emphasize optimizing sleep patterns through lifestyle adjustments, technology, and mindful practices.

How Air Doctor Can Help

Did you know if you need to find a doctor abroad you can use the Air Doctor app to find one – anywhere, anytime.

Air Doctor gives you:

  • Access to over 20,000 multi-lingual doctors worldwide
  • Choice of clinic, at-home (hotel), and video visits
  • Local, valid prescriptions through our cross-border services
  • Quality medical care, including urgent visits
  • 24/7 multi-lingual customer support
  • Video consultation services in up to 21 languages
  • Partnered with leading insurance providers

Download the app, just in case.

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Jenny Cohen Drefler

Jenny Cohen Derfler

Air Dr CEO & Co-Founder

Jenny is the CEO and one of the Co-Founders at Air Doctor. She spent more than 20 years at Intel, most recently as general manager of its manufacturing facility in Israel and before that in various engineering and manufacturing roles in Silicon Valley. Air Doctor is her second startup having previously founded electric vehicle company ElectRoad.