Are You a Wellness Traveler or Vacationer? Choosing the Right Vacation for You

The terms wellness vacation and wellness travel are often used interchangeably without consideration of their differences. They may be subtle, but these distinctions are important to choose the best trip. One challenge people face when choosing these types of trips is that the destination decreases in importance, yet most travel sites mainly ask “where do you want to go?” Wellness tourism organizations are defining the following preferences to better understand the difference between wellness vacation and wellness travel and put this important consideration in the forefront.

Life-Sustaining Versus Life-Changing

One of the key differences between those seeking wellness travel versus a wellness vacation pertains to the resort or retreat’s main purpose. For those who seek wellness travel, they want to have amenities and opportunities to continue their regular wellness routines. They prefer destinations that offer yoga, fitness rooms, and an occasional wellness excursion. In contrast, those looking for a wellness vacation want something more trans-formative. They actually prefer a travel experience that allows them to change their existing habits and routines. Fitness boot-camps, spa indulgences, and other wellness retreats provide examples of wellness vacations.

Complementary Activities Versus an Immersive Experience

Another major distinction between wellness travel and a wellness vacation involves the time spent participating in activities. With wellness travel, one is often going for other reasons. This may involve business travel or trips involving leisure, but the primary motivation is not wellness per se. Therefore, wellness travelers want supplemental occasional wellness activities. In contrast, those pursuing a wellness vacation often spend nearly all of their time in some type of wellness activity. In other words, one offers wellness activities as a complement while the other offers wellness as an immersive experience

Primary Versus Secondary Reasons for Travel

In essence, those who wish to explore a wellness vacation are committed to the pursuit of wellness throughout their trip. Their interest in exploring wellness activities and offerings is the reason for their trip in the first place. This is not typically the case for those seeking wellness travel. In this instance, the main reason for travel is not for wellness activities but instead for other reasons. But while traveling, they still like having opportunities for the occasional wellness endeavor. Therefore, primary wellness travelers are those who want a real wellness vacation. Alternatively, secondary wellness travelers are those who simply want wellness included in their travel to some extent. 

For Wellness Tourism, All Travelers Matter

When considering primary versus secondary wellness travelers, both groups are important for wellness tourism. However, secondary wellness travelers make up about 85 percent of individuals choosing wellness travel today. But secondary travelers are also those who often desire a wellness vacation when they get the chance. For this reason, all types of wellness travelers are important for wellness tourism. This is why wellness travel opportunities are growing by leaps and bounds. Regardless of the type of wellness activities you are seeking, the number of destinations to meet your needs are increasing. And this is not only good for the industry but good for the traveler too.

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