9 Top Wellness Travel Trends for 2020
The end of 2019 – and another decade – is coming to a close, and with it, predictions of the trends that will define 2020.
Here’s your summary of key insights from the top wellness and travel insiders, along with our own predictions to round things out.
Trends: Eco-Friendly Travel, Treehouse Retreats
In the Pinterest 100: The top trends to inspire and try in 2020, Pinterest compared global search volumes from August 2017 through July 2018 to search data from August 2018 through July 2019, and then identified 100 topics with significant search volumes and consistent, upward growth.
Those were grouped into 10 cultural shifts — one of which was responsible travel. Searches for “eco-friendly travel” rose 73%, “eco-friendly cities” rose 47%, “eco-structures” (such as treehouse retreats, biodomes and ecolodges) rose 31% and “reduced carbon footprint” increased 86%.
“Like many industries, tourism is reaching an eco-conscious crossroad as people look to lessen their impact when exploring new places,” the report says. “They’re embracing cleaner transit methods, or even taking staycations instead of long-distance getaways.”
People are also looking for ways to connect with nature, whether that’s by physically going outside or bringing more plants into the home. Searches for “lake fishing” were up 274%, “rockhounding” (collecting rocks, geodes and gems) rose by 185%, “nature travel” by 253%, “bushcraft camping” (wilderness survival skills) by 1,069%, “northern lights” by 90%, “outdoor play areas” by 550%, “hiking fashion” by 194% and “outdoor indoors” (floor-to-ceiling glass doors, sunrooms, etc.) by 108%.
Another major travel trend in Pinterest’s report is avoiding overcrowded destinations and instead opting for places with smaller tourist traffic. “People still seek adventure — they just want more responsible ways to make it happen,” like travelling by train, using zero-waste essentials, picking their own produce, studying abroad and opting out of hotels for treehouses, biodomes, ecolodges and other green-minded getaways in the most eco-friendly cities in the world.
Trend: Meditation Retreats
Source: Global Wellness Institute
“The meditation retreat is one of the fastest-growing trends within the fastest-growing sector in tourism: wellness travel,” said Beth McGroarty, vice president of research, at the Global Wellness Institute, a nonprofit that promotes wellness. Meditation is seeing the kind of growth that yoga did a few years ago, she said and is now a billion-dollar business with a rapidly rising number of participants — the number of adults meditating in the U.S. more than tripled to 14.2 percent in 2017 from 4.1 percent in 2012.
While silent retreats have been around for millennia, recent research has confirmed their benefits include “reduced stress levels, lower blood pressure and improved sleep.” McGroarty likened meditation’s popularity to yoga’s a few years ago, as meditation is now a billionaire-dollar industry, according to US-based Marketwatch, with more than nine million Americans choosing to meditate each year.
Adapted from The New York Times: “My Week of Noble Silence” and Business Insider: “People are paying hundreds of dollars a night to go on meditation retreats where speaking is banned, and it shows just how far the ‘wellness generation’ is taking things”
Trend: All Travel Becomes Wellness Travel
With more people interested in fitness than ever before, there has been an uptick in people working out while travelling. “We have seen that no matter the reason for travel, people are building fitness into their routine on the go,” ClassPass’ 2019 Fitness Trends report read.
Not only is technology making it easier to exercise while travelling, but hotels have also started to offer more wellness amenities — whether that’s yoga mats in rooms or activewear-lending — so that people can continue their wellness routines when away. One likely reason wellness travel is on the rise? The stressful, modern era we live in, or what Skift deemed the state of Permanxiety. “I think that was a big factor in people needing to get more out of their vacations. They now have to come back feeling better than before,” said Beth McGroarty, of the Global Wellness Institute, to Well + Good.
Some think that in 2020 almost all travel will include at least one wellness element, whether it’s a yoga class, hike, or spa treatment. And by the time the 2020s are up, we may even start calling wellness travel just plain travel.
Trends: Re-Wilding and Wellness Sabbaticals
Source: Health and Fitness Travel
Commute, work, TV, repeat…sound familar? Many of us are in need of getting our wild selves back and there are retreats which focus on rewilding the human body using a combination of nature, adventure, exercise, play, rest, nutrition and mindfulness – while enjoying some of the world’s most unique venues, handpicked for their outstanding eco-design set within the stunning natural surroundings.
And while 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 – a new wellness trend is to embark on a longer-term wellness program while – and here’s the trick – still staying connected to one’s job in a positive and healthy environment. This can contribute to increased productivity, relaxation and a wider perspective, embracing the balance between wellness and work.
Rounding out the list were chemical-free holidays, nature immersions, sound and spirit seekers, men’s mental health and digital & EMF detoxing.
Trend: Sleep Optimization and Forest Everything
Source: Global Wellness Summit 2019
We’re just beginning to understand sleep, and it’s going to remain a cultural obsession for the next year as we work out not just how to optimise our sleeping habits at home, but also while we travel. Lack of sleep can cause short term impairments such as lack of mental clarity and moodiness, as well as long term issues including weight gain, hormonal imbalance, depression, weakened immunity and an increased chance of chronic health conditions. Around the world we are seeing sleep become a central focus, from sleep retreats, to sleep hacks at home, to sleep meditation and travel apps that can help assist or even prevent jetlag.
Shinrin-Yoku, known to the West as ‘forest bathing,’ has become a major trend both within the wellness and medical communities – the NHS in Scotland is now prescribing ‘time in nature’ for some preventable lifestyle diseases. This trend is set to continue, with people going back to nature and seeking the deepest possible experiences: “Not off the beaten track, but off the track.” As wild, remote, and digitally disconnected as you can be will be the trend of years to come.
Trend: Affordable Wellness Retreats
Source: Wander Magazine
While wellness brands like Goop continue to attract fans (and haters) with high-end, luxury retreat destination recommendations, most of us simply can’t afford to spend tens of thousands of dollars on vacation. Yet, most of us truly NEED retreat … silence, time in nature, digital detox, meditation, spa therapries and healing. Google Trends reports a 400% increase in searches releated to “afforable wellness retreats” over the past year, which we think says it all. From big brands to small properities, there is so much opportunity to offer wellness for everybody. Examples like carving out time and space for reading; afforable all-in holistic packages at properties like Grail Springs; and deeply spirtual retreats designed to filter out distraction at Le Monastère des Augustines.
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More great trend reads for wellness, fitness and health:
5 Wellness Trends to Look Out For in 2020 from MINDBODY
Wellness Fitness Trends 2020 from Well+Good
8 Health and Wellness Trends To Keep In Mind For 2020 from SocialGranola
These are the Biggest Wellness Trends for 2020 from Harper’s Bazaar