Trainers, vitamins and meditation apps – are these some of your holiday essentials? Yup? Then join the club.
I don’t exactly remember when my gym clothes became an essential on my packing list or when a daily gelato seemed a bit extra. It was somewhere between the holiday hangovers I was experiencing where I felt guilty and tired from overindulging and the increase of wellness in my daily life. In the last few years I’ve dabbled with chia seeds and spirulina, meditation and mindfulness, vegetarianism and HIIT workouts, and throwing it all out the window the minute I stepped onto a plane, champas in hand, started to feel a little, well, wasteful.
And I’m not alone. We asked you about your travel priorities and 55 per cent of Aussies would rather be in a downward dog than knocking back the vodka shots and a third of Brits would rather be sweating their way up a mountain than getting a tan. More and more of us are choosing to take our health and fitness habits with us on holiday. We’re more active, outgoing, adventurous and health conscious than ever before.
With rising house costs, falling wages and feeling constantly ‘on’ because of our devices, wellness might be one of the ways we try to grasp some control in our increasingly complicated lives. We’re smoking less, exercising more and spending our money on almond milk lattes, yoga hip-hop fusion workouts and acupuncture.
In spite of our best intentions we’re not always consistent. We’re torn between ‘treat yo’ self’ and 10-day juice cleanses. We’re exhausted but can’t leave a party early because FOMO. Eighty-three per cent of Brits and 66 per cent of Australians said that looking good while on holiday was important to them. Not so surprising when you consider that we’re booking holidays to escape our stressful lives but still have to get that Instagram shot.
And while we may be detoxing when it comes to our health, we haven’t really learnt how to detox digitally. A recent study found that we’re spending over four hours a day on our phones and we can’t imagine travelling without them. We live in a world of selfies and filtered feeds and perhaps our desire to chase adventure when we travel is to feel more earthbound, connected and physically alive.
Whatever our travel motivations, we’re just doing our best to look after our mental and physical health in a world of #fitspo, #YOLO and #SelfieSundays.
Five types of millennial travellers
1. The always connected overworker
Her bag is overflowing with anything that needs a charger – she’s got two portable battery packs, an ipod, a Kindle, her work phone and her personal phone. She’s desperate for a retreat but can’t help checking her work emails, ‘just in case something comes up’. Every minute of her downtime is spent scrolling through Insta checking out the snaps of her friends on holidays. She wants to ‘just chill’ but the blue glow of her phone follows her everywhere.
She stays at: Wellness Hostel 4000, Switzerland, where a Finnish sauna, bio-soft sauna, herbal steam bath, hydro-massage showers and a 25-metre indoor pool soothe the most frazzled nerves.
2. The Instagram yogi
She has more designer yoga outfits than work clothes and when she’s travelling she’s always on the look-out for the best beach backdrop for her next Insta vid. She hearts the anti-inflammatory properties of tumeric and shares pics of her #acaibowl.
She stays at: The Salty Pelican, Cascais, Portugal, where she can practice Yang Yoga sequences in the morning followed by gentle late afternoon classes of restorative Yin yoga on the beach.
3. The adrenalin junkie
Gone are the days when you used to do a 5km fun run together. Now she’s all about her ‘runner’s high’ and trekking to Everest Base Camp. It doesn’t count if she doesn’t feel the burn. Sign her up for volcano boarding, cave diving and bouldering.
She stays at: America del Sur Hostel, El Calafate, Argentina where she can visit the top hiking destinations in El Chaltén and Torres del Paine National Park and then relax with panoramic views of the Andes Mountains in the evenings.
4. The breath of fresh air chaser
Weekend walks in the park just aren’t enough for this nature lover who wants his wide open spaces without a city skyline. He drops pollution levels into lunch conversation and dreams of having an organic farm one day where he can grow kale and avocados.
He stays at: Mountain Hostel Tarter, El Tarter, Andorra, with mountain views, cosy fireplaces and an outdoor jacuzzi.
5. Soul seeker
Initially a sceptic, he signed up to meditation only because it was meant to make him more productive at work but over time has found himself a mindfulness addict. He loves being #zen on his commute, teaches his friends how to ‘breathe’ and is ‘pretty sure he’s going to move to Ibiza next year and focus on being off the grid full-time’.
Stays at: Yudanaka Seifu-So, Japan, in a traditional Japanese guesthouse featuring a peaceful inner garden, in which you can practice yoga or meditation in the tranquil mountain surroundings.