One of my favorite things to do after a long flight is to indulge in a relaxing spa or wellness treatment. My co-workers and I even have this running joke. “Where’s Saira? At the spa.” Let’s face it being on a long flight – whether you’re in economy or business class – leaves your body stiff and covered in “plane germs.” If you’re going to get the most out of your travel, taking a moment to unwind and reset your mind/body will help you enjoy your vacation or be more productive on your work trip.
It’s OK to Indulge
Over the years, I’ve gradually tried more and more treatments while traveling. In the beginning, it was hard to not look at the expense as too much of a splurge. But, now that I’ve seen the benefits of how much more I am able to get out of my trips after incorporating these treatments into my agenda, I budget them in as part of my travel expenses.
Now, I’ve even talked my frugal immigrant mom into going for regular manicures, pedicures, and facials. If she can splurge, you can splurge! If this seems like too much of an extravagance, ease your way in and be on the lookout for deals. Groupon, LivingSocial, and Travelzoo offer great deals throughout the United States.
To help you get started on incorporating these into your travel ritual, I’ve reflected on my top 5 favorite wellness treatments to partake in while traveling. Whether you’re a newbie or a spa-lover, there’s something for you to help your mind/body be refreshed.
- Classic: Mani/Pedi
A relatively inexpensive option that’s available all around is a manicure and pedicure. Nail salons typically offer a massage chair to sit in during the treatment to help relax your back. If you’re in need of some light muscle relief, this is a great choice. Traditional pedicures and manicures include massages; however, keep in mind that the nail technicians are not trained in massage therapy so if your muscles are really hurting you may need to head for a different treatment option. Also, note that with gel polish and dip powder massages are typically an add-on.Be sure to take a look through the reviews for the nail salons in your travel destination to find a reputable location. Cleanliness and good customer service are key to ensuring that this pampering session is a good experience.
- Indulgent: Full Body Massage
This is by far my preferred treatment to kick off my vacations. My first full body massage came at an airport on a layover, because my back hurt from squeezing into economy seats and I needed to kill a few hours before my next flight. After that, I was hooked! Whether you book a spa treatment spa deal though a site like Travelzoo or grab a quick airport chair massage, getting a massage after traveling to your destination is a great way to relax after being on a plane, train or car.When traveling now, I love getting massages in spa facilities that offer additional amenities, like steam rooms, whirlpools, and saunas. Spending a few hours before and after a massage indulging in these amenities helps clear my mind of stresses and revive my body so I’m fully ready to enjoy my travel time.
- Holistic: Foot Reflexology
This is something I tried recently when traveling abroad to Australia. With its close proximity to China, there’s a large East Asian population in Oz, and a wide range of eastern health and wellness providers available. Foot reflexology is something I had heard of for a long time and I was very curious to give it a try.A massage technique comes from Chinese medicine, reflexology differs from western techniques in that it includes both massage and acupressure. Key pressure points on the feet are thought to be associated with various areas of the body. The method is meant to not only relax your foot and lower leg muscles, but also to bring healing to other areas of the body through carefully applied pressure.After two long international flights to get to Australia, my feet were very swollen so I opted for this treatment, rather than a full body massage. It was amazing – I definitely walked out of there with less inflammation and feeling rejuvenated. I’m not sure if the accupressure helped my other body areas, but my legs and feet felt great and I was able to do a lot of walking easily in the following days. If you’ve never tried it, I highly recommend it to help relieve post-flight bloating and aches.
- Calming: Facial
I’ll be honest, it took me the longest time to try this treatment. It seemed silly to pay someone to wash my face and place a face mask on for me, when I could just do that myself at home. Once I finally gave facials a try, I quickly changed my tune and now this is a part of my regular monthly skincare routine. People often comment on how good my skin is and this is definitely one of my secrets.During a facial, the technician does a careful analysis of your skin to tailor your experience to your specific trouble areas. Typically, these sessions include steam to help your pores open, extraction of any noticeable blackheads or whiteheads, and a neck/shoulder/arm massage. I find the steam and massage to be the most relaxing part, but I’ll be honest, the extractions are no fun. If you have a well trained technician, you could barely feel them, but sometimes with more stubborn whiteheads/blackheads it can be a bit painful.Also, be sure to check with your technician before your facial to make sure you pick an option that does not limit your sun exposure or trigger any allergies – otherwise you’ll be stuck indoors and won’t be able to enjoy your vacation fully. Unlike with dermaplaning or microdermabrasion, it is safe to go out in the sunlight immediately after most facials.
- Invigorating: Chiropractic Adjustment
Also something that took me a while to try, I’ve found chiropractic adjustment and muscle therapy to be one of the best ways to get relief for my aches and pains. Chiropractors help bring your musculoskeletal system in alignment by manipulating your joints and spin. If you’ve never had an adjustment before, here’s what to expect: The doctor will assess your spinal alignment and use their hands to manipulate your neck, spine, legs, hips, etc. depending on your specific needs. It can be a little nerve-racking the first time, because there’s a popping sound as they manipulate your joints. You’ll also feel the popping, as they make the adjustments.With a membership to a chiropractic franchise called The Joint, which is throughout the United States, it’s been easy for me to get an adjustment anywhere I travel. It only costs $69/month and I get up to four adjustments per month. I recommend doing a little bit of research before going to an independent chiropractor when traveling. Most chiropractors bill through insurance and if you’re out of your insurance network, you’ll likely pay full price for an adjustment. (which could be $70 – $100). Keep in mind that this might not be for everyone, so consult with your health care providers before checking out this treatment.
Never in my wildest dreams would I have pictured myself as much of a spa lover as I am today. I remember watching movies and tv shows when I was growing up showing rich ladies getting these fancy treatments and them seeing so far removed from my life. I’m so glad I broke out of that mental block that “That’s not for people like me.” It’s amazing how much these little treats can lift up your spirit and increase your enjoyment while traveling. I encourage you to Treat Yo’self on your next trip!