What exactly is mindful travel?
Undoubtedly one of the most popular words in the wellness world, “mindfulness” is hardly a new concept in itself. Mindfulness is often used in conjunction with “meditation” and essentially means “awareness”. It refers to the act of being fully present in a given moment without being reactive or being overwhelmed by what is going on around us.
In a somewhat more “woo-woo” definition, if you will, it is about anchoring in ourselves and bringing the given moment straight back to the simplicity of our senses (a guided meditation teacher once told me to tickle “that” “Feeling of noticing the breath on your upper lip as you exhale through your nose” and it’s now engraved on my brain as the ultimate sensory, mindful cue).
So it’s no surprise that mindful travel powered by vacations focused on deeply sensory experiences – a time designed to give us a break from our increasingly overwhelming “real world” – is on the rise.
And while vacations are in and of themselves breaks from our usual routine, that doesn’t automatically make them aware.
“When we go on vacation, it often comes after a hectic work schedule. So if we intentionally bring mindfulness to our vacation, we can settle into the other pace and really take advantage of the benefits,” said Dr. Elise Bialylew, author of The Glücksplan and founder of Mindful in May.
“It could be as simple as taking a mindful walk on the beach, actively focusing on all your senses: feeling your feet on the ground, hearing sounds and smells, instead of missing out on the moment by thinking about them Lose the future or the past. When your mind carries you away from the moment, you bring it back consciously and tune into your senses. “
Mindful travel is on the rise – especially the curated nature
Thanks to the changing prepandemic desires of travelers, travel agents, hotels and tour operators have adapted to the fast growing market that is likely to get bigger as international travel gradually returns to normal. In 2018, the Global Wellness Institute reported that wellness tourism was $ 639 billion of the $ 4.5 trillion wellness industry, ranking third after beauty and nutrition.
And while one could imagine that with all the DIY services available to us to book flights, find accommodation, and create itineraries, people would turn away from traditional travel agents, this theory would be only partially correct .
In fact, more and more people are turning to travel agents, especially in search of curated, mindful travel experiences worthy of their Instagram grid – but incredible enough to make them forget about it.
Interestingly, this is a trend driven by millennials. MMGY Global reports that 24% of the generation say they’ll use an agent for at least one vacation in the next two years, compared to 15% of Gen Xers and 16% of baby boomers.
Young travelers, however, don’t turn to yesterday’s travel agents, where the agent essentially acted as some sort of secretary, quickly transcribing a dictated itinerary.
These days, good agents are tailors worthy of Saville Row who carefully design and measure every inch of your travel experience to create the perfect fit. Given how overwhelmed we feel with the chores of everyday life – and with only so much annual vacation to have available – it makes sense that people would want to turn control over to companies they can trust, especially because of the options only available to us continue to grow.
“With the amount and accessibility of travel options on offer, people increasingly want bespoke and bespoke experiences to clear the clutter,” stated Cameron Holland, CEO of leading curated travel agency Luxury Escapes, on the eve of the pandemic.
“Travelers are looking for companies that understand their individual needs and can curate specially tailored offers that include activities on vacation. It is no longer just about the accessibility of a destination, but about what travelers at this location, in this hotel or on this tour. More people travel than ever before and when we’ve traveled widely we want our trips to reflect our interests, hobbies and values. “
It is precisely this rationale that led Luxury Escapes to create The Holiday Lab, an experimental popup on Melbourne’s Bourke Street that ran in March 2020. The “laboratory” enabled Wanderlusters to conduct a series of sensory experiments to help determine exactly which vacation would offer them the most mindful experience for them personally.
This is exactly what the laboratory tests that the company and Dr. Elise Bialylew and which are underlined by mindfulness research. Every station in the shop is devoted to awakening a different sense. At startup, I meandered from table to table, trying different oils to see which brought up the strongest childhood memories, and hearing different noises to see which, among other things, knocked into my calmest self.
The specially developed algorithm then helped me create my personalized travel personality and profile and create a tailor-made trip just for me. Suffice it to say that the end results were pretty much accurate. The conclusion of my test revealed that a trip to the Maldives is just the thing for me (you won’t hear any complaints from me).
Mindful travel goes well beyond meditation retreats
While wellness retreats go nowhere in the traditional sense, it’s important to note that mindful travel doesn’t necessarily equate to meditation or a vacation that focuses on traditional wellness terms.
Rather, it is at the interface between wellness as a “desired state of being” and travel as a “means to achieve this”. For example, mindful travel can easily focus on experiences dedicated to the feeling that appeals to you the most – like “taste”.
“Food was the number one reason Australians traveled when we surveyed them in late 2019 over the next decade of travel,” explained Holland.
“And we’ve seen an explosion in culinary tourism in recent years, from street food tasting tours in places like Sri Lanka and Vietnam to companies offering high-end experiences with respected chefs and even vegan retreats and holidays.
“We’re also seeing an increase in adventure tours or visits to more challenging or up-and-coming off-the-beaten-track destinations. Travelers seek authentic cultural and local experiences that not only make them feel like tourists, but actually experience what it is like to be a local. “
And it’s an area that is only going to grow, with “deep personalization” consistently a number one priority for Australian luxury travelers.
“Personalized service will only increase, aided by technology that helps tour operators figure out what each guest wants and then go beyond that to deliver that experience – it could be their favorite drink as a welcome drink, restaurant recommendations based on dietary needs or a customized city walking map based on their health data, “said Holland.
“We can assume that the operators will do their utmost to offer more local experiences or to connect with their trip, especially more local activities that are unique to this location. We will no doubt see more technology-driven solutions to how.” Travelers can either expand their experience on vacation or help in the dream and planning stages to find the perfect next vacation we’ve always dreamed of! “
The role of social media in mindful travel
While mindful travel is about immersing yourself in an experience rather than constantly looking at it through a filtered lens, that doesn’t mean Instagram and influencers don’t play a role in the rise of the trend.
“Social media plays a huge role,” leading travel influencer Danielle Greentree, better known by her Instagram handle @travel_a_little_luxe, told Marie Claire.
Mindful travel isn’t a passing trend. It’s here to stay and be on the uptrend. I believe it’s because of social media and an influencer’s ability to put a new or unique destination or hotel on the map. As an influencer for luxury travel and with a lot of travel experience, I tend to be interested in this style of travel. “
After staying at and writing about some of the best hotels in the world, Greentree has seen firsthand how luxury travel space has evolved over the past few decades to cater to the discerning traveler.
“Ten years ago you just had to look a little closer to find it. Twenty years ago you had to create your own mindful travel experiences. Now they are offered. Hotels listen to what travelers not only want but expect,” she said.
“There are so many new boutique and eco-friendly hotels available to the mainstream traveler, and hotels now offer richer experiences that give back to the communities that make guests feel like they are contributing or helping, not just helping visit.” ‘a local village, for example.
“Hotels are increasingly offering personalized day trips rather than just offering services and experiences within their five-star walls.”
The future of mindful travel
Just as mindful travel overlaps with wellness travel, its future is also linked to conscious consumption. After all, sensory experiences like meditative diving in the Maldives can only exist if we continue to have a planet to provide them, a thought repeated by Greentree.
“Personally, I think mindful travel is on the rise due to climate change, and social media is the most powerful communication tool that is on the rise due to the instant global presence and message that social media influencers post there.” She said.
“It connects the dots between a global problem and the individual consumer and offers practical ways in which we can all do a little for the planet and the struggling communities within it. It could be so easy to choose a hotel with a strong strength.” Giving back to the community program “.”