Taking a vacation always sounds amazing. Who doesn’t fantasize about putting on that “Out of Office” responder, slamming the laptop shut and completely ignoring Slack and emails for a solid week or two?
Still, when you really get down to the nitty-gritty of vacation planning, it can sometimes seem more stressful than the everyday work grind. There’s the hassle of requesting time off and coordinating coverage with co-workers; booking pet sitters, child care or both; and so much more.
But it’s worth it. “Taking intentional time away from work is incredibly restorative and has a whole host of benefits to your job performance as well as your physical and mental health,” says Dr. Nina Vasan, Chief Medical Officer of Real, an affordable app-based solution that offers resources for creating a mental health care routine.
So, what if this needed vacation was specifically focused on helping you rejuvenate and restore? That’s where wellness retreats come in—a vacation designed solely to help you unwind and check out from the rush of everyday life. In fact, wellness tourism (yes, that’s a thing!) was a $720 billion market in 2019 as more and more people prioritize their health and well-being.
If you’re curious about carving out some time for yourself and your mental health in the near future, here are four affordable wellness retreats that could work for you.
Cost: From $99 a night
Best for: Affordability
Let’s kick off our wellness retreat list with an incredible yoga-focused experience. Kripalu is a yoga and health retreat in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, offering programs that range from yoga to general wellness and health retreats. There are also programs that focus on physical activities like kayaking, hiking and dancing—which are all optional and flexible based on your own interest.
Take Kripalu’s signature R&R experience, for example. The website says this experience allows the guest to choose what they want and need to experience while on campus, whether that be “a full schedule of yoga classes, healing arts, and outdoor activities” or “a lot of free time for reflection and rest.
Each retreat features healthy, delicious meals made in the Kripalu Kitchen and the “support and care” of the Kripalu faculty. A great aspect of this resort is that there are overnight packages that start at just $99, and they offer day passes starting at $125 so you can choose whichever works best for your needs and your budget.
Cost: From $249 per night
Best for: Personalization
This wellness resort and spa is located just outside Scottsdale, Arizona, on more than 20 acres of the Sonoran Desert. Along with offering top-notch, gorgeous hotel amenities like modern accommodations and world-class dining and amenities, the resort also has wellness classes, spa treatments, curated personal growth content and so much more. If the idea of a wellness retreat sounds a little too crunchy granola to you, CIVANA is the perfect customizable alternative for the modern traveler.
The resort offers the flexibility to create an immersive experience that best suits each guest—from wellness seekers who want to dive deeper to those who simply want to unplug.
Sounds pretty great, right? Plus, the resort is huge at more than 20,000 square feet, which means you can have exactly as much peace and quiet—and space—as you want.
Cost: From $420 per night
Best for: Remote location
For those looking to get a little farther away, consider Samasati Yoga & Wellness, nestled in the lush rainforest of Costa Rica. Spanning 250 acres, Samasati—which translates to awareness and balance—is all about moving at your own pace with locally sourced gourmet vegetarian food, customized spa treatments and a tranquil environment for “reflection, relaxation and rejuvenation,” as the website explains.
Samasati not only offers yoga-centric retreats, but also luxurious amenities and activities including a Jacuzzi, meditation hall, workshops, guest artist performances and more. And if you’re interested in exploring the lively culture, pristine beaches and local shops, there’s a shuttle that takes you to nearby Puerto Viejo for restaurants, boutiques, bars, coffee shops and local farms.
A favorite of yogis and wellness seekers for more than 20 years now, Samasati is a more nature-focused wellness experience that you can trust. And don’t worry—despite being in the rainforest, there is both electricity and running water, so it’s just as comfortable as any other modern resort.
Cost: From $549 per night
Best for: Women-only experiences
Sometimes, wellness comes from a sense of community. Costa Rican-based surf camp and yoga retreat Pura Vida Adventures offers a special women-only sojourn for just that.
The all-inclusive, seven-day, six-night experience brings women together—whether they come solo or with a friend—for daily surf lessons with equipment included, daily oceanfront yoga classes, a full-service spa with included therapeutic massages, a swimming pool and an oceanfront hammock area. Plus, you get three healthy gourmet meals per day that can be customized for dietary restrictions and served at Pura Vida’s beachfront restaurant.
And that’s not all. Think jungle hikes, local dance nights, beachside barbecues and live musical performances. While this retreat is a little more on the pricey side, you’re getting so much for your money with this experience.
How to Choose the Right Retreat for You
While any one of these retreats (and others) could likely give you a much-needed chance to reset, it can still be overwhelming to make the right choice—particularly if you only have a few days a year to really splurge on a vacation for yourself. Psychologist and authorReena B. Patel, LEP, BCBAexplains that there are a few factors to consider to ensure you choose your perfect getaway.
“Focus on your interests and goals when making your decision,” Patel says, noting that you should take extra interest in retreats that seem “rewarding and rejuvenating” with “peaceful atmospheres.”
Ultimately, the most important thing to consider about taking a vacation is that you’ll never be the best you can be in any given aspect of your life unless you take care of yourself first. As Patel says: “You cannot be the best for anyone else until you make yourself a priority.”
Millie content is licensed from Dotdash Meredith, publisher of Millie, Real Simple, InStyle, Investopedia, The Balance and more.
Olivia Muenter is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer and digital content creator.
Photographs: Andrea Killam, Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, CIVANA Wellness Resort & Spa