The simple act of getting away from your everyday routine can be rejuvenating. But combine it with activities that boost your well-being—from curative mud baths and saltwater massages to more active pursuits like hiking and biking—and you’ve got a vacation that really does a body good.

Try these wellness travel ideas for a health-minded escape.

1. Practice yoga in an exotic locale

Nothing against your local yoga studio, but wouldn’t you rather strike your favorite poses on a golden-sand beach in Spain or on the terrace of a Greek winery? Or how about sun salutations on the top deck of a river cruise ship floating alongside European capitals?

Today’s cruises—both ocean and river varieties—offer some amazing ways to weave your yoga practice into your wellness travel adventure. The choices range from entire cruise itineraries focused around wellness (often combining yoga and other exercises with nutrition and mindfulness), to onshore excursions that take you and your yoga mat into some of the world’s most beautiful ports, to fitness classes held onboard the ship.

2. Bike amid breathtaking landscapes

See how a Danube River cruise put this writer’s active spirit to the test.

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Want to immerse yourself in the culture of a new place? Explore it on two wheels. Not only is bicycling a great way to discover a city’s nooks and crannies, but it’s also a fun way to engage in wellness travel.

Most European river cruises provide complimentary bikes for passengers to use on guided cycling excursions. Among the delights: pedaling alongside the Danube in Austria’s lush Wachau Valley and cycling through the medieval city of Rouen on the Seine as it flows through France’s Normandy region.

Or a biking-focused land tour (which comes with custom maps and routes planned by experts) could take you beneath moss-draped oaks on Florida’s Amelia Island; alongside flat-topped Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa; and beyond.

3. Hike to new heights

Walking is probably the simplest form of exercise—and it’s effective. The Mayo Clinic says regular brisk walking can help you maintain a healthy weight, strengthen your bones and muscles, and even improve your mood. Incorporating walking tours—whether they’re part of a guided land tour, a cruise shore excursion or just a day of exploring on your own—can make any vacation an active one.

If you want to really up the walking ante, plan an escorted or self-led wellness travel tour that’s focused on hiking a new route each day, with maps and itineraries crafted by expert guides. You’ll walk several miles a day in places like geyser-filled Yellowstone National Park or the otherworldly landscapes of Iceland.

4. Spend a day (or a week) at the spa

Who says wellness travel has to involve strenuous activity? Sometimes simply de-stressing—and unplugging—is what your body needs most. In that case, an all-inclusive resort in a tropical setting like Mexico, the Caribbean or Central America can be just what the doctor ordered.

Imagine gentle ocean waves lulling you to sleep in your overwater bungalow in Mexico’s beautiful Riviera Maya or floating in an infinity pool just steps from the Costa Rican jungle. When you’re not soaking in the sun (vitamin D!), you can rejuvenate your body in the on-site spa: think deep-tissue or hot stone massages for loosening tight muscles and mud hydrotherapy treatments for glowing skin.

5. Try something new

Stepping out of your comfort zone can provide both a physical and a mental boost—and wellness travel may be the best time to do it. When you’re in a new place, why not dive into the local customs or take advantage of the landscape to try a new (or favorite) activity in an exotic setting?

Among the possibilities: Meditate with a Buddhist monk while on a cruise that takes you to Bangkok, Thailand. Immerse yourself in an age-old bathhouse in Malaga, Spain, while cruising the Mediterranean. Go kayaking amid icebergs in Alaska’s Prince William Sound. Or try standup paddleboarding on a lake high in the Andes Mountains of Peru. Your adventurous side will thank you.

Ready to Explore?

Your AAA Travel Advisor can work with you to plan a wellness journey—and help you take advantage of member-exclusive savings and benefits.

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