Travel trends 2022
The last few years have made us all re-evaluate our own wellbeing as a priority in our daily lives and this extends to our adventures and travels. Travel can transform us by providing an opportunity to reset and reflect on what is most important right now; and it can challenge, teach and help us improve our wellbeing for the long term.
With wellness travel booming, we are taking a look at the predictions for the year ahead after the Global Wellness Institute’s Wellness Tourism Initiative recently released their top Trends for Wellness Travel in 2022.
Not surprisingly, at the top of the trend list is that Destinations are waking up to wellness. There is a renewed focus on urban wellness to attract both visitors and workers back to the big cities and places like Singapore, Barcelona and Rio are promoting their culture, heritage and green spaces and the links to improved wellbeing. More regional locations like Sedona in the US and Adelaide Hills in Australia, are actively promoting their wellness offerings with many showcasing the natural landscapes, indigenous cultures, hiking trails and fresh water springs.
There has also been a somewhat natural progression from Sustainable Tourism to Regenerative Travel – where visitors are encouraged to take part in community-led programs that aim to have a positive, long term impact on local people and the environment. Experiences such as helping to build houses or schools, regenerating river banks to prevent erosion, or volunteering for a marine conservation program all focus on improving the community or environment during your holiday. Wander along the tranquil Gemtree Eco Trail in South Australia to see how a community can give back to the earth and restore the land to its natural balance; or join a citizen science group to study and report on the health of a coral reef on your next dive. This is travel that fills your cup by really giving back.
“Travellers are seeking experiences that will support their mental wellbeing and there is a growing interest in meditation retreats, breathwork and mindfulness activities.”
The events of the last few years will have ongoing implications to our health, work and family lives, and there is a drive to create greater awareness and acceptance of Mental health. There is a growing interest in meditation retreats, breathwork and mindfulness activities around the globe. Euphoria Retreat in Greece is one of many now offering emotional and physical transformation retreats; Billabong Retreat in Sydney offers a range of mindfulness and self care programs and Soma in Byron Bay is the place to go for a truly immersive meditation retreat.
Micro dosing with plant medicine – The rise of plant-medicine-based wellness programs continues and includes the use of ayahuasca, psychedelics, and CBD to help support wellbeing. The Wellness Tourism Initiative suggests there is an ongoing cultural shift in the awareness of hallucinogens, and that psychedelic retreats are a growing form of wellness travel in countries where access to mind-altering drugs is legal. Various getaways in 2022 include locations such as the USA, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Mexico, the Netherlands, and Portugal.
Tailored travel experiences that focus on Family Friendly Wellness are currently in great demand around the world. Parents are turning off technology and taking kids on outdoor adventures that keep everyone active and connected to nature. Think camping trips, hiking trails, riding the rapids and mountain bikes just to name a few. We love Woodhouse Activity Centre in the Adelaide Hills, where kids of all ages get to burn off some energy in nature before a restful sleep in a cosy chalet.
For higher end holidays, there are retreats that teach kids sustainable and healthy lifestyle activities (such as Zular Wellness resort in Qatar), and even Sonnwies in the Dolomites with it’s own Aquapark in the Alps, complete with a biosauna, wellness pools and naturalist kids club for outdoor adventures.
Spending time in nature is beneficial for both mental and physical wellbeing and it is now more frequently being incorporated into treatment plans for chronic illness – hence the term Green Prescription Holidays. Health professionals in Australia and New Zealand are on board, with the trend also gaining strong momentum in the USA and the UK. Perth-based Mindful in Nature offers forest therapy and mindful walks in beautiful Kings Park; or, for something a little more challenging, head to Margaret River in Western Australia and take a guided hike along the Cape to Cape Track.
Some travellers like to ditch their devices during a wellness holiday, whereas others prefer to Wear their Wellness. Wearable digital technology for wellbeing is a trend that continues – with a multitude of fitness-related, meditation and mindfulness apps available. Then there are the innovative new offerings popping up to support travellers pre-departure, during their trips and to help them come down from the holiday high such as wearable apps that can measure your blood oxygen, stress and mood levels.
“Green Prescription Holidays - spending time in nature is beneficial for both mental and physical wellbeing”
The current trend of plant-based and Vegan holidays provides the opportunity for travellers to learn about this lifestyle and develop new skills in the kitchen that will last a lifetime. These experiences are offered around the world, and there’s nothing quite like heading to the markets to collect unique ingredients and then cooking them up with a local. Sticky Rice Cooking School, in South Australia, offers a range of classes including vegan and vegetarian cooking and you can even stay overnight in one of the luxury villas.
These days, the work-from-anywhere concept is embraced by many, creating a Digital Nomad Boom. Countries and cities around the world are setting up the infrastructure and providing experiences that allow people to support their wellbeing while working and travelling. Long-stay visas can encourage people to travel and work more easily, and are increasingly offered in places such as the Bahamas, Portugal, Spain, Maldives, and Mauritius. There are even companies that are dedicated to curating these types of experiences. Talk about supporting the life-work balance!