The wellness travel industry has been experiencing remarkable growth in recent years, and is slated to reach a market size of $919 billion in 2022 from $735.8 billion in 2020, predicts the Global Wellness Institute. Travel has been positively linked to better mental health for a while now, and the popular consensus is that the best way to reevaluate your life is to get away from everything and see the world. Taking breaks for self-care is important to stay motivated, and we all need to do it with regularity. But while taking a gap year to tour Europe may not be feasible for most of us, the average person can still take a restorative trip on the open road. You just need to keep certain guidelines in mind.
Pick Out Some Prime Locations and Routes
They say the journey is more important than the destination, but restorative road trips are different. The destinations are by and large the very point of the trip, but the routes you go by can be just as vital to the rejuvenation it brings. So the first key thing you would want to do is to pick out locations in regions full of scenic, memorable routes. On any other road trip, going on detours after getting sidetracked by unexpected inconveniences can be part of the adventure and great to look back on. But on a restorative road trip, your primary goal is to go on a stress-free route. This will take a lot more research, but will be well worth it once you’re on the open road. Look up back roads, favor the depopulated areas, and find out the best times to go on certain routes.
Same thing applies for the locations you choose. Unless you like crowds, focus on the less-visited destinations. The trip is about treating yourself, so book reservations at serene sunlit restaurants and quality day spas, hike picturesque trails, and have picnics on quiet beaches. Having enough space for yourself is essential to help you process things in your life, and thus achieve the restorative effect you’re going for.
Strike the Right Balance When Planning
Every road trip needs a decent amount of planning for things to go swimmingly. This includes everything from reservations to gear to ensuring that everything is okay back home. Your goal with your preparations is to minimize worry and hangups, so as to maximize the effectiveness of your trip. If you’re not very effective at planning, you may want to consider booking an organized, all-inclusive road trip. Otherwise, buckle down for some thorough preparations.
On the other side of the coin, however, is overplanning and overbooking. Planning should be fun as well as extensive. You don’t want it to be another source of stress. For example, it’s one thing to ensure that the transmission in your car is working smoothly, as well as other components. It’s another thing entirely to try to fit too many destinations into a 3-day trip, or over-engineer every activity. Remember the 80-20 rule when planning your vacation. Your planning time shouldn’t exceed a quarter of the time you’ll be on the actual trip.
Adopt a Flexible Mindset
The best laid plans too often go awry. Especially these days, when there are more than a few uncertain variables. Despite our best preparations, anything can happen on the road. As such, it’s best to mark out backup destinations and alternate trip layouts for different eventualities. This is also why it’s best to choose scenic routes. If nothing else, you can park near a panoramic cliffside and have a picnic with waves lapping beneath you, or visit certain points of interest whose humble road signs you see on the road.
Road trips are an accessible way for everyone to enjoy the benefits of travel. There are plenty of things worth experiencing just in your immediate neighborhood, so keep an eye out and be open to unlikely restorative experiences.