A vacation should light you up, whether it’s a jaunt to a neighboring town or a trip around the world. And that’s especially true when said journey incorporates the great outdoors. To this end, Women's Health editors have been going hard on their airline and auto miles and now have the recs, experiences, and stories to show for it.
Plus, there are actual health benefits to taking PTO. Studies have found that vacations can positively impact everything from blood pressure to creativity and energy levels. And you don't have to go far (or for that long) to reap tangible rewards: Planning and anticipating a trip can bring as much enjoyment as the vacation itself, finds a 2014 study from Cornell University.
That's why Women's Health launched the inaugural Healthy Travel Awards. It's the definitive guide to the buzziest and best places, experiences, products, and services that nourish a wellness traveler's mind, body, and soul.
How We Chose The Winners
Women's Health didn't need to go far to assemble a globe-trotting panel of experts: A scroll on our social feeds shows editors checking out new wellness experiences worldwide—and testing the latest and greatest innovations in our New York City backyard. (One editor clocked 9 countries and flew 32,000 miles in the past year—more than the circumference of planet Earth.)
WH staffers are uber-connected trendspotters. So the panel consulted their travel, hospitality, beauty, and wellness contacts to learn about the latest gotta-try breakthroughs. Then, after sifting through hundreds of entries, the panel personally tested many of the finalists. The result: A truly comprehensive winner's circle of the year's best and brightest.
Hotels You’ll Never Want To Leave
A hotel isn't just a place to crash. The healthiest ones make wellness a priority with top-notch amenities that make it easy for you to maintain—or even level up—your fitness routine. No matter who you're exploring with, these resorts will power you up for the next great adventure.
Cruises That Will Blow Your Mind
Forget what you think you know about cruising. Post-pandemic, adventure expeditions are exploding in popularity. Now, travelers can immerse themselves in untouched destinations and new cultures—and enjoy high-touch service onboard after a day of kayaking, hiking, or snorkeling.
Spas That Are Truly Transformative
WH editors have the tough job of visiting the best spas in the world and trying cutting-edges treatments to determine which ones move the needle. Beauty Director Brian Underwood has experienced some of the most sought-after beauty treatments in the world. Fitness Editor Jennifer Nied was a former staffer at a spa magazine and now tests innovative recovery methods to see what actually lives up to the hype. All the below picks have been visited, vetted, and adored by WH staff. After a combined decades of travel, use their favorites to start planning your next getaway.
Retreats That Will Help You Reset
You refresh your closet every few seasons, and your mind and body deserves similar self-care. At WH's winning wellness retreats, the focus is on getting grounded in the great outdoors. Whether it's a solo yoga retreat to Arizona's Sonoran Desert, an intimacy-focused workshop with your S.O. along Big Sur's coastline, or fireside stargazing in the desert with friends, there's plenty to chose from. Prepare to leave each retreat with your body feeling restored, and mind transformed.
Travel Services That Make Everything Easier
A healthy travel hack that too often flies under the radar? Reducing your stress and increasing your happiness by leaving the less-than-adventurous parts of your adventure-planning to the pros. Whether you're heading out solo, with your best pals, or your family, these top-rated travel agencies take care of everything, from organizing outdoor activities for every fitness level to creating authentic cultural experiences. Memories, made!
Smart Tech You Need To Navigate Any Situation
You wouldn't hit the gym without your sweat-ready tech, like your phone or fitness tracker, and the same goes for hitting the road—or skies. Maybe you're looking for a new pair of earbuds for early a.m. runs to scope out a new city, or perhaps a night of restful recovery requires a portable white noise machine. Whatever tech tools help fuel your version of wellness, you'll want to add these picks to your must-pack list.
TSA-Friendly Beauty Buys
What you pack can make all the difference in how you feel away from home. These editor-loved products are game-changers on the road. (Take it from WH Editor-in-Chief Liz Plosser, who's nearly always on-the-go.) Promote the relaxing vaca vibes long after you return with these essentials, from a multi-tasking hot tool to a rose-infused dry shampoo to a cult-favorite SPF.
Lindsay Geller is the Lifestyle Director at Women’s Health, where she oversees the Life, Sex & Love, and Relationships sections on WomensHealthMag.com and the Mind section of Women's Health magazine. When she's not writing or editing articles about the latest dating trends and pop culture phenomenons, she's usually watching reality TV or playing with her dog, Lucille (Go Fetch That) Ball.
Neha Tandon is the senior commerce editor of Women's Health—she's an expert in discovering the best products and services you can buy and giving recommendations. She discovered her love for magazines when as a teen, she started stealing her mother's magazines. Determined to see more women who look like her and her family members on the glossy covers of magazines, she was guided by seasoned editors and mentors to write for brands including New York Magazine, Cosmopolitan, BRIDES, Harper's Bazaar, Business Insider, Byrdie, and Well+Good. When she’s not grilling dermatologists about the latest skincare trends, she’s doing candlelit yoga or watching Humphrey Bogart movies over vegan pizza. Follow her on Instagram.