After enduring nearly three years of strict restrictions, health mandates, and lockdowns, Americans are desperate to do nothing, log off their socials and escape the chaos of the modern world on their next vacation – even if temporarily. We don’t blame them: as much as we love sightseeing and cultural expeditions, taking a breather is just as important, but where to go on when looking for ultimate relaxation?
Let’s Face It: International Travel Can Be Quite Tiring
Although we have suspected it for months, as the wellness trend continued to grow, new research conducted by Expedia has finally confirmed Americans have a clear preference for the recently-coined ‘nothing-cations’, a neologism used in reference to trips with far more relaxed itineraries where sightseeing and culture aren’t the primary focus.
Out of 4,000 participants, 1360 have reported feeling ‘burned out’ from previous experiences. Whether it’s sleeping at airports to catch the next early flight, worrying about entry restrictions, deciding which attractions to cram into a tight two to three-day stint in a particular city, and that inevitable FOMO, international travel can be quite stressful.
The health crisis and economic instability that ensued only added to their difficulties: a WHO-assisted study carried out in early 2022 came to the conclusion that mental health concerns have skyrocketed in recent years. More specifically, the feeling of doom and gloom associated with COVID has led to a 25% increase in anxiety and depression rates.
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Ever since COVID started, it feels as if we are stuck in a vicious cycle of bleak news, whether it’s the virus itself, a war in Europe, the energy crisis, or the global economic upheaval that’s led to a staggering decrease in the purchasing power of middle-income families. It’s hardly surprising travelers have had it with the state of affairs and want a break from it.
To put it simply, it’s that dolce far niente, lying on a beach listening to the crashing of the Pacific waves in a coastal location, not adhering to strict plans on where to go or what to see next, that travelers crave the most. Cultural trips are still extremely popular in 2023, but the fact that 34% of those surveyed simply want to unwind and have some free time can’t be overlooked.
Where To Go For Ultimate Relaxation?
Quoting Melanie Fish, head of Expedia Group Brands Public Relations, ‘for most travelers, getting the most out of their next vacation means setting aside dedicated time for nothing’. Beyond the 34%, an even greater number of interviewees – 3840 people or 96% – reported they intend to spend at least some days of their next vacation ‘doing absolutely nothing’.
As Expedia experts confirm, beach destinations are leading booking trends this winter, not only due to the colder temperatures in the Northern hemisphere, a major factor behind the temporary mass migration of Americans to the Global South, but also their ‘nothing-cation’ value. Expedia lists up to 7 wellness retreats where fatigued travelers are able to slow down, soak up more nature and just wish their worries away:
- Kauai, a Hawaiian island boasting emerald peaks and pristine beaches
- Costa Rica, a Central American country offering sweeping jungle views and access to both the Pacific and the Caribbean seas
- Fiji, an island nation in the South Pacific Ocean famous for its remoteness and teal-colored seas
- Nevis, the smaller of the St. Kitts and Nevis island duo, where the landscape is dominated by palm tree-lined beaches
- Koh Samui, Thailand’s mountainous, second-largest island stacked with tropical jungles and Buddhist temples
- Algarve, Portugal’s southernmost tip, much more laid-back and quaint in nature than the busy, landmark-packed Lisbon or Porto
- Sanibel, a Floridian island where cycling routes always seem to end up on a white sand beach
Despite not being mentioned on this list specifically, Los Cabos in Mexico has recently been named Mexico’s number one wellness destination, recognized for a plethora of spas, wellness centers, and posh resorts in tranquil settings, far away from the hustle and bustle of Downtown areas, and where customer service is always top-notch.
2023 Is The Year Of Wellness
As assessed by Expedia, 47% of Americans would like to start off 2021 with a trip ‘to look forward to’, with up to 31% attributing the urge to go on a ‘nothing-cation’ to feeling anxious and 34% to the poor January weather. Parents of children aged 4 years or younger are the group most likely to report post-vacation burnout (49% against 34% of nonparents).
Nevertheless, 62% have deemed the sporadic lie-in days, where they’ll either read a book or stay inside binging the latest Netflix hit series while ordering room service their ‘favorite part’ – but you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on an all-inclusive trip to Mexico, or check into ultra-luxurious Maldives resort to kick back and start enjoying life:
Check out our top 6 wellness destinations to visit in the U.S. for 2023.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com