Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Health and Wellness Travel 101: How to Plan a Wellness Vacation


To most Americans, what may come to mind when thinking of a health/wellness vacation are three words: don't gain weight. In actuality, a wellness vacation is much more than this. It is a trip that is carefully planned and specifically centered around jump-starting a healthier lifestyle, enhancing an already healthy lifestyle, or simply creating a mental respite from a stressful day-to-day life.

There are many ways to plan a wellness vacation, and that all depends on you and your specific needs and goals. If you're serious about planning a vacation for the specific purpose of improving your health, you'll want to clearly define your goal for the trip. What is it that you hope to get out of it in the end? It could be anything from starting a fitness routine, to quitting smoking, to simply getting reacquainted with yourself. Vacations are perfect for this, because the typical triggers and distractions one faces at home are mostly eliminated.

Second, if you're planning a wellness trip, you certainly don't want to get into debt over it. Financial wellness should definitely be part of the equation of a wellness trip. Before you even step foot out the door, make sure that it's the right foot by having plenty of money saved. Imagine going on a vacation designed to help you relax and reduce stress, only to come home to a big credit card bill that will increase the total cost of your trip due to interest, and take months to pay off. That's enough to pile the stress right back on. Instead, head over to outski.com and set up your personalized, FDIC-insured, Vacation Savings Account. Your VSA allows you to set aside funds for future travel, allocate funds to specific trips, and then move those funds onto your Outski Visa® or Discover card only when you are ready to travel. This is a safe and financially responsible way to travel. Should your card be stolen, all you have to do is log in to your Outski account and move the funds from your card back to your vault (then, report your card as stolen).

As the weeks go by and you are putting money into your VSA, you can then use Outski's online platform to plan your trip. Below are a few examples of what a wellness vacation looks like:

  1. Spiritual Retreats. Whether you're attending a formally organized retreat, or simply getting out into your favorite part of nature and using the quiet solitude to reconnect with yourself, a spiritual retreat can be very rejuvenating.

    One spiritual retreat that you simply have to show up for is located at Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona. If you're looking to save some money and create a DIY retreat, book a hotel in any one of the relaxing destinations via Outski's booking platform, then start making plans. For this type of trip, you'll want to include: meditation, yoga, journaling, time for nature walks or hikes, and healthful eating. Some things to exclude would be: TV, phones (except for emergencies), tablets, entertainment-based outings (concerts, movies, etc), and junk food.
  2. Fitness-Centered Vacations. This can include everything from traveling to a destination to take part in an organized obstacle race, marathon, or triathalon, to something more low-key such as a hiking adventure. If you are just starting your healthy lifestyle, it is a great idea to remove yourself from your home environment while you're learning new habits. A vacation that includes daily fitness and nutrition instruction (you can always look up gyms and nutritionists at your destination) may be the best investment you ever make.
  3. Destination Spa Resorts. These days, just about any destination has at least one resort with a full "wellness staff" of massage therapists, personal trainers, acupuncturists, aestheticians, and chefs to help guide you towards a healthier lifestyle, or to simply help you take off for the time you spend there.

    If you aren't looking to shell out hundreds of dollars per night on such a resort, another option is to stay in a regular hotel. You can find one at wholesale rates when you book via Outski, and then you can schedule appointments with local businesses who perform the same services the resort does, but for a fraction of the price.
  4. Any trip that allows you to relax and unwind - whatever that is to you. We all have different ways of relaxing and relieving stress, and there truly is no "right" way to do it.

    Additionally, research has shown that people who are in the planning stages of a vacation are happier than those who are not, and this happiness and relaxation can last for up to two weeks after a trip. Can't beat that!
Would you take a wellness vacation? Do you have any other ideas for a great health-centered trip? Let us know in the comments below!

Images ©De Visu/Dollar Photo Club, ©evgenyatamanenko / Dollar Photo Club

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