What’s the Difference Between Wellness Travel and Just… Travel?

June 12, 2024

What’s the difference between wellness travel and normal travel?

Is there even a difference?

And what about transformative travel?

Short answer: there’s no difference. Travel is wellness, and wellness is travel.

And I believe most wellness centers and retreat vendors get this wrong.

In this article, you’ll learn why all travel is wellness travel – and how you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to have a transformative travel experience.

Photo of Sahara Rose DeVore, founder of the Travel Coach Network - creator and instructor of the Travel Coach Certfification program.

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What Is Wellness Travel?

What is considered wellness?

Does wellness travel or traveling with the purpose or the intent of wellness require a wellness center, a yoga session, a retreat, or a fitness center every time?

The wellness travel industry has marketed that in order to travel well, your options are:

  • establishments that curate the sense of wellness through fitness
  • spa treatments
  • yoga
  • mindfulness classes
  • nutritionists
  • aromatherapy
  • cultural integrations
  • and the list goes on and on

But isn’t travel healing on its own?

I say that it is.

Wellness is travel, and travel is wellness.

Travel Itself is Wellness

Research shows that travel can boost our mental well being through things like time and nature, especially in blue and green spaces, building our confidence and giving us clarity.

Travel can feed our emotional well being through building empathy and compassion of technology.

Strengthening relationships and teaching us more about our own self.

It can improve our physical health through things like hiking, outdoor activities, walking, water sports, and even boost our physiological wellbeing by decreasing stress and anxiety.

In the TedX talk I gave (right above this section, or here on YouTube), I shared how travel can build happier and more united communities.

And isn’t that the very definition of wellness?

The ability for individuals and communities of individuals to thrive?

Travel can take us on a spiritual journey of self discovery, immersing into other cultures and traditions.

And expanding our perception of the world and humanity of its own.

We travel to meet new people, exchange stories and connect with others, which boosts our social wellbeing.

Even our professional wellness can be improved through travel by sparking creativity and innovation, boosting our productivity and stimulating our cognitive abilities.

The Idea of Travel for Wellness Isn’t New, and It’s Backed by Science

These statements aren’t just my opinions.

This comes from the years I’ve spent studying the various emotional, mental, physical, social, emotional, and wellness benefits of travel.

So how come those are not integrated into what we hear and what we read about in the world of wellness travel?

All we see are these expensive resorts and retreats and wellness centers or hotels, luxury hotels with great spas.

These offers keep us within the four walls of the establishment, while the research shows just how powerful travel can be for our overall well being.

It’s so beneficial when we embrace all that travel can bring us.

All these experiences involve different elements, what I call elements of travel, so things like human connection, nature, culture, navigation, and most importantly, people and place, which are at the foundation of travel or the tourism industry.

Listen to more of the Travel Coach Network Podcast!

The Problem With the Wellness Travel Industry

With all of this in mind, it begs the question, “Can someone experience wellness travel if they aren’t spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on a curated wellness trip?”

Is it possible?

Where does transformative travel come into play there?

And if that’s not the case, then why is transformative travel another term that is on the rise?

Would that fall under the category of wellness as well?

And does transformative travel therefore mean that you need to go to a wellness center or luxury hotel or spa?

What does it look like for AI?

Can AI really personalize a trip in a more futuristic way?

Healing through travel does not need to cost a fortune – and it doesn’t need to require staying within the four walls of a hotel or a wellness center or a resort.

Healing Through Travel Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive

Have you ever gone on a trip and felt better in some way?

Did it help you find yourself, inspire you, heal, cope, gain clarity, maybe it made you feel better about yourself or your life in general.

Did it enrich you, fulfill you, help you find your purpose?

I’ve definitely experienced it, and hundreds of other travel coaches in the Travel Coach Network have felt the same.

My point is that travel is wellness and wellness is travel. Is that something that you would agree with?

Listen to the Travel Coach Network Podcast

This blog post was based on episode 94 of the Travel Coach Network podcast.

If you love listening to, learning about, and discussing topics like these in the travel industry, then you’ll love this show!

You can find it on any major podcast player.

Free Resources for Future Travel Coaches

Check out these other free resources for aspiring travel coaches:

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