A hot topic right now, the transformative travel trend is growing in popularity. Long before the buzz word was created, travellers embarked on adventures to improve, enhance and re-direct their lives. Now, we have a phrase for it.
Here, we highlight what transformative travel is, how it can benefit you and how best to book a transformative travel holiday of your own.
What is the transformative travel trend?
The Reset Ritual says:
“Transformative travel focuses on the self-reflection and self-discovery aspects of travel, and how you can incorporate the growth you’ve experienced on your trip into your day-to-day life back at home.”
Read more about What Is Transformative Travel on their website.
A Skift Trends Report says:
“Travelers today are increasingly drawn to travel as a form of self-actualization and personal transformation and growth. They want more than a simple visit to a new destination or days spent relaxing on a beach.”
Read more about the Rise of Transformative Travel on their website.
Here at Transform Me Travel, we say:
“The transformative travel trend refers to travel that changes you. Transformative travel has positive, long term impacts on your life. It can include group travel or going solo; think guided retreats or tours versus self taught and self directed travel.”
Group v solo transformative travel
Transformative travel can take place both in a group or whilst ‘flying solo’. In our opinion, the main difference between booking a group transformative travel experience or a solo one is based around planned transformations versus unplanned transformations.
Planned transformations are those that you know and want to undertake pre-departure, like learning a new skill. Examples can vary greatly, from cooking in a different way to overall endurance lessons.
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Unplanned transformations are those that spring up during a travel experience, altering your world for the better. This usually means you learn something you didn’t know you were missing or feel a change that is greater than you could have previously imagined.
What transformative trips have we taken?
“My first transformative travel experience happened on a school exchange to Holland as a young teenager. The trip encouraged me to start cycling everywhere once I returned home, after seeing how rarely my exchange family used their car. I was excited to cycle more for my health and for the environment.
My second transformative travel experience took place on a family-friendly Caribbean cruise at age 17. This trip gave me the courage I needed to pursue a career in the performing arts, after seeing so many talented performers following their own dreams.
My first solo transformative travel experience took place in Egypt. This trip saved me from the depths of a very dark depression that I was battling at home before my departure. Being by the Red Sea and thrown into an ancient culture and language helped to breathe life back into my body and gave me the courage I needed to keep moving forward at this time.
Transformative travel has always been a part of my personal travel story – it continues to be so today. I am literally obsessed with helping others to discover themselves through travel because it has benefited me in so many unspeakable ways.”
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What are the benefits of transformative travel?
There are multiple benefits to taking a transformative travel break. From micro life changes that affect the day to day stuff to macro changes that can alter the course of your life.
Here are our 10 favourite benefits of transformative travel:
- Improved understanding of mental health – time alone to think and feel.
- Improved overall health – time spent outside or doing things you love.
- Taking back control – what is important to me?
- Letting go – what doesn’t matter to me?
- Re-balancing social norms, conditioning and limiting beliefs.
- Breaking free of toxic people or a painful past.
- Understanding your connection and place in the world.
- Finding your purpose, passion or next career.
- Learning healthy and unhealthy associations with love.
- Finding new and alternative solutions to your biggest problems.
If you have a great travel story to share, get in touch for the chance to appear on our Inspiring Travel Stories page.
How can I find transformative travel holidays?
Currently, there is an abundance of transformative travel holidays on the market, and the numbers and variety of trips continue to grow. Across the world, whether you want to experience a group or solo adventure, you can travel with transformation in mind.
Offerings currently include yoga retreats, healing weekends, body detoxes, Ayurveda medicine, silent retreats, all kinds of classes from cooking to surfing and everything in between, charity work and more.
Choosing a transformative travel holiday
When it comes to booking a transformative travel holiday, first ask yourself, what do I want to learn or master? Maybe you want to go on a raw food course in Bali, feel less anxious with ancient forest bathing or discover inner peace on an Indian meditation.
If you’re not sure what you want to learn or master in your life next, but are looking for change to take place, that’s OK too. Simply think about where you would like to visit – pick somewhere that attracts you with no real plan in mind, perhaps based on a language you are drawn to, a history you are intrigued by or simply a food you like.
From Morocco’s mountains, Australia’s outback or China’s ancient civilisation and culture, so many experiences can be transformative. You can go plan-less and see what unfolds or pre-arrange a schedule. Sometimes, plan-less travel triggers the very best and most monumental transformational periods of our lives.
Allow time for transformation
Most importantly, you’ll need time. So whether you’re going with a scheduled holiday or not, allow time for transformation to take place. This doesn’t have to be a huge amount of time. For example, book a seven day Ayurveda retreat but add another few nights to your stay for some time alone after your schedule finishes to reflect on what you’ve learnt.
Find more travel blogs focused on mental health and travel.
For transformation to happen, and for us to be able to recognise and hold onto it past the end of our trip, we also need to switch of electronics and not be in constant contact with the world. Protect the time you have dedicated to learning something new about a place or about yourself.
Given a little time, the most profound shifts can occur in your sense of self and the world around you; many travellers report experiencing the opening of a door to greater possibilities in their future and a change in their life as the result of a trip.
Whether you simply see something pretty you would have otherwise missed or feel super-charged and ready to attack something new once home, remember to give yourself time for transformations to occur.
For planned travel, we love:
- Black Tomato – with a search that asks ‘Why do you want to travel?’ Black Tomato opens the door to transformative travel. Choose from ‘to learn’, ‘to discover’ or ‘to challenge’.
- Six Senses Sleep Programme – choose which luxurious Six Senses resort you want to stay in then discover the Sleep Programme available at your chosen resort. Enjoy a sleep-themed welcome bag, sleep tracking during your stay, nutritional guidance and more.
- BookYogaRetreats – in India, Sri Lanka, Morocco or even the U.K., book a transformative yoga retreat with a trusted company. You can refine your search by duration, location or both, learn about your typical day on the retreat and get to see what other customers thought of the retreat before you decide.
For unplanned travel abroad, we love:
Countries with the oldest cultures can provide great insight and transformations in an organic way. We recommend India to learn the ancient origins of yoga, China for holistic medicine and Australia’s outback to learn about the oldest civilisation on the planet.
If you really have no clue where to go next, we love Skyscanner’s ‘Everywhere’ search. Simply visit the Skyscanner homepage, pop in your dates and departure airport, then select ‘Everywhere’ as your destination. You’ll be shown the cheapest plane tickets from your location available on your dates of travel.
If you have the time … be daring and book a one way flight!
For unplanned travel at home, we love:
You don’t have to experience a foreign culture or faraway destination to have a transforming experience. In your home country, find familiar and nostalgic hideaways that are perfect for you and the things you love. Spend some time focusing on self care during your local holiday.
In the U.K. we love glamping pods and treehouses at Quality Unearthed because nature encourages us to slow down.
If you have a great retreat that you love in your home country, please let us know. We love hearing recommendations for when we plan new trips and want to share your local travel tips with our readers.
So whether you take a weekend out for you, a two week break from your job, a once in a lifetime sabbatical opportunity, a temporary placement abroad to submerge yourself in a new culture, or even move half way around the world, give the transformative travel trend a try. See what positive change it brings to your life. When it comes to transformative travel, the possibilities really are endless…
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