These days, wellness goes much further than a pamper in a luxury spa or a long soak in an infinity pool. In fact, over the last few years, the travel trend has become one of the fastest growing areas of tourism, offering opportunities for self-exploration and discovery—a way to reduce stress, find some inner quiet, and generally maintain physical and mental wellbeing.
Whether you opt for a hiking tour, a digital detox or an adventure that makes a difference to others’ lives, the following 2020 trip ideas will encourage you to prioritize you, and as a result, feel much better in body and mind.
1. Grab a pair of hiking boots
Europe offers a variety of hiking routes for those looking to put on a sturdy pair of boots and explore on their own two feet—and the Camino de Santiago is perhaps the most well-known. A walking pilgrimage that begins in France and ends in Spain, the route has been completed by Catholic pilgrims for centuries. And while hundreds continue to do so every year, other travelers have also jumped on the bandwagon and chosen to take on portions of the 500-mile challenge for other reasons—namely to detach themselves from their day-to-day, take time for reflection, and connect with nature.
If you’re keen for a hike that’s slightly more off-the-beaten path in this part of the world, there’s also Portugal’s Rota Vicentina. Winding down from Lisbon, The Fisherman’s Trial (as it’s otherwise called) offers a stunning coastal stretch peppered with rugged cliffs, picturesque fishing villages and miles of empty beaches. The perfect option if you want to escape the crowds.
2. Achieve a state of om
In a world that’s becoming increasingly hectic and busy, meditation has become an essential tool for many looking to recalibrate and find some inner quiet. Whether you’ve been practicing for years, or just dabble from time-to-time, there are hundreds of meditation retreats to choose from around the world, ranging from one-day getaways to month-long training packages.
For the full, immersive experience, head to South East Asia to study practices originating from local traditions and in particular, Vipassana—one of India’s oldest forms of meditation, first taught 2,500 years ago. Alternatively, look around for centers available to you nearby if you’d rather unplug and decompress closer to home. Wherever you choose to go, once you’ve learned the basics of meditation and it becomes a daily habit, you’ll find it hard to imagine going a few days without it.
3. Disconnect to reconnect
According to recent research, travelers on average spend 9 hours on social media over the course of a one-week holiday. And while this statistic may seem shocking, it’s the perfect jolt we all need to consider going tech-free, turning off our blue screens and logging off on our next getaway.
Whether you choose to just leave your laptop or phone behind for a day of exploring, head to a location in the wilderness with no cell reception, or book a luxury resort where you hand over your devices at check-in, going off-the-grid will encourage you to tune in to yourself and your surroundings. It’s a great way to be more mindful about your technological dependency, and develop a more conscious approach to digital life.
4. Turn your volume down
Have you ever tried not speaking for an entire day? How about an entire week? For many of us, being quiet doesn’t come naturally. And that’s why silent retreats are becoming more and more popular, challenging our ability to remove daily distractions and take a much-needed pause.
Often offered hand-in-hand with meditation and mindfulness programs, silent retreats help you reduce the constant chatter in your life, and teach you the importance of non-verbal communication. Whether you opt for a silent commune in France, or a beach-side resort in Bali, a silent vacation for your soul is sure to relax you and improve your mental wellbeing.
5. Feel good from doing good
While wellness travel usually sets out to improve your own wellbeing, it can also be about improving the lives of others too. Make a difference, and feel good from doing good—and as you incorporate meaningful experiences into your travels, feel great in the knowledge that your money is being put to good use.
Take a month to lay down foundations for a new school in Kenya, spend a few weeks teaching English to kids in Nicaragua, or work on sustainable development projects in the Dominican Republic—there are hundreds of programs offered by NGOs around the globe that allow you to be more culturally conscious, socially responsible and environmentally-friendlier.
Your money at N26
Wherever in the world you choose to go, N26 serves as the perfect travel companion. Access your bank account right from your smartphone, track your spending with instant push-notifications, and set aside money for the experiences that matter to you with Spaces sub-accounts. And thanks to the extensive travel insurance package that comes with your premium account, know that you’re also covered in case something doesn’t go to plan.