The Afar Guide to
Wellness Travel

Stay Mindful

So much of modern life is bound up with constant and frenetic stimulation, an overwhelming cacophony of connection that leaves no time to enjoy relaxing pleasures like walking, reading, or cooking. The good news is that we're finally figuring out we need to look after ourselves. It's one thing to squeeze in an asana or two between meetings, or to find 90 minutes each month for a massage, but it's even better to immerse yourself in a weeklong wellness retreat in the Costa Rican rain forest or to sink into a traditional onsen in the Japanese Alps. And even if you aren't traveling specifically to get off the grid and detox, you can still stay relaxed and healthy on the road. How many people have you heard get back from a trip only to announce they need a vacation? If you build wellness into your travels—whether you're learning to tango in Buenos Aires, cruising around Thailand, or eating your way through Italy—you'll return home ready to plan your next vacation, but not needing it right away.

Off the Grid
Sometimes staying healthy means kicking modern technology to the curb for a week and going into digital detox. These trips will help you do just that.
Yoga & Wellness Retreats
From meditation to yoga to just soaking your stress away in a natural hot spring, there are plenty of places around the planet to revive your mind and body.

10 Ways to Travel with Wellness in Mind
When it comes to staying healthy on the road, there are plenty of ways to travel with wellness in mind. Here we give you 10 tips.
Plan ahead. Take some time to research healthy restaurants in your destination. By making a list of a few you'd like to try when you get where you're going, you'll be less likely to just grab a meal at the first place you see.  If a gym is important, book a hotel that is known for its fitness amenities. Many gyms and yoga studios also offer day passes for purchase.
Run for a cause. Whether your sport is marathon running, cycling or even doing an Iron Man, consider signing up for a race in place you've never traveled and make a holiday out of the event. You'll get a buzz training, knowing you'll be participating in a totally different venue and raising money for a new cause.
Digital detox. We keep talking about this, but these days our addictions to our electronic devices are actually leading to real health problems – from strained eye muscles to bad posture. So give your body a chance to recharge and make the decision to turn off your iPhone for at least 24 hours of your holiday.
Invite your dog along. More and more Americans are traveling with their dogs these days, as many hotels, not only in the U.S. but also globally, are promoting travel with pup by offering all sorts of packages for canine guests. Personally, I travel with my bully breed dogs as much as possible. I find doing so also keeps me in shape—I don't get the luxury of sleeping in or not going for a few decent walks per day when I'm looking after my dog. Plus dogs are good for stress relief, which will also keep you healthy on the road.
Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated is super important to maintaining wellness on the road. This is especially true when traveling internationally on long flights with changes in time zones.
Stick to your normal routine. If you usually go for a run or hit the gym in the morning, try to maintain this routine when you're on the road. The same goes for bedtime. Sure you can stay up late one night, but in general try to keep your shut-eye times similar to when you're at home to keep your body on schedule.
Try a new sport. If you're getting tired of your regular gym routine at home, why not focus on learning a new sport on your next vacation. Whether you sign up for a yoga retreat or learn to kick-box in Thailand, you'll have a new skill to take home with you, making the return to real life more stimulating—especially if you keep going once you're home.
Sweat and soak. When I'm jet-lagged and feeling toxic from a long flight, there is no better detox for me than some dedicated sauna and Jacuzzi time. A massage and facial can also help. Really, I try to book a spa day at the beginning of my trip rather than my end. This way I go into the holiday feeling relaxed and refreshed.
Live local. Connecting with new friends is another way to feed your mind on the road. Eat your way into the heart of a new culture with EatWith, which allows home cooks around the world to invite you in for dinner. Want a truly local guide? Vayable and even the new Airbnb Experiences pair travelers with locals who have similar interests.
Be mindful. Philippe Brown, founder of bespoke travel company Brown + Hudson, always builds in down time for his travelers. After touring that temple in Cambodia, don’t immediately rush to the next activity, he says. Find the best possible view of it and spend an hour sketching it—even if you’re not an artist. It gives your brain time to rest and absorb the experience.
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Becca Blond, Wellness Travel Curator

Becca Blond is an award winning freelance travel writer based in Denver, Colorado. She is the author of more than 30 Lonely Planet guides across five continents and contributes content to publications like USA Today, The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, AFKTravel, Cadillac Magazine and Jetsetter. She is also a Personal Travel Planner for Jetsetter. When not on the road she lives with her three dogs, Duke, Bobbi and Poppy, who assist with pet friendly hotel reviews. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @PlanetBlond or check out her blog at Totally True Adventures in Travel Writing.