A range of new travel offerings are promising less stress, more self-care for exhausted moms
Laura Weidman Powers is no stranger to a challenge. Pre-pandemic, she spent a year traveling the world with her newborn: a daunting logistical task that was the premise of her recent book, “Unstuck Together: Reflections on Parenting, Partnership, and Packing from 303 Days on the Road with a Baby.” As if writing a book while caring for a toddler weren’t challenge enough, Weidman Powers turned in the draft while juggling the demands of her day job as Head of Impact at a social entrepreneurship incubator, Echoing Green. Yet even Weidman Powers felt woefully unprepared for the difficulties of being a working mom during the darkest days of the pandemic.
Now, after months of stress, anxiety, isolation and countless work meetings getting Zoom-bombed by her daughter, Weidman Powers is ready for a vacation: and not just any vacation. “I’ve always equated travel with exploration, but right now, I feel like it needs to be more about self-care and mental health,” she says. “After being the constant caregiver for the past year, I need to recharge.”
Weidman Powers isn’t the only pandemic-weary among us who’s desperate for a getaway. The term ‘revenge travel’ started trending on social media last summer, as people began planning epic, bucket-list trips to take their ‘revenge’ on long months stuck in lockdown. And if there’s anyone who deserves a revenge travel trip, it’s moms. A recent report by Ipsos MORI concluded that working mothers bore the brunt of pandemic-triggered emotional, financial and childcare crises, with two in three moms feeling overwhelmed and stressed-out — compared with less than half of fathers.
The chatter around post-pandemic ‘revenge travel’ has tended to focus on big, once-in-a-lifetime blow-outs. (According to luxury travel operator Abercrombie & Kent, their private jet journeys for 2021 and 2022 are already sold out; they’ve added two new departures to cope with demand.) But rather than offering similar extravagances, many in the travel industry are betting on demand for ‘revenge’ vacations that tangibly improve our emotional and physical wellbeing. Particularly for those burned-out moms.
One new offering tapping into this consumer need is Treat, a just-launched travel brand designed to help us return to travel with wellness front of mind. The brand is a ‘wellness concierge’ that will transform — and elevate — travel by integrating wellness every step of the way. The membership service will offer everything from in-airport wellness centers capable of administering covid-19 testing, vitamin IV therapies and mindfulness sessions, to an app that provides on-demand healthcare while you’re on the road.
“We know everybody’s excited to return to travel, but we know there’s going to be a lot of heightened anxiety around travel, too,” explains Kelsey Hanson, SVP Marketing and Communications at Treat. “In this new age of big revenge travel trips, we aim to be your ultimate travel companion, helping you revenge responsibly — whether that’s booking a Covid test, taking a yoga class at one of our airport wellness centers, or even accessing virtual healthcare while you’re on vacation, removing the stress of trying to find a doctor while out of state or abroad. We want to help people travel well — very literally.”
Treat isn’t the only travel company adapting to a sharper focus on ‘traveling well.’ Luxury resort brand Six Senses recently launched specially curated, immunity-boosting retreats at its properties in Vietnam and Portugal. On the remote Croatian island of Losinj, the Punta Vitality Hotel offers a wellness package that promises to boost respiratory health via the resort’s healing air. Post-pandemic, wellness is set to make its way into every detail of a traveler’s trip: from what you pack in your suitcase (see Treat’s online shop), to how you spend your time at the airport; and from the food on your plate to your hotel’s architecture.
Choosing the right natural landscape for your vacation can optimize wellness, too. Travelers are increasingly drawn to mountains and desert for post-pandemic travel, according to Tom Marchant, co-founder of luxury travel company Black Tomato. “After months of living in unusually close quarters, clients want the freedom of wild, open space and spectacular natural settings,” he notes.
That might mean the green peaks and calming forests of New England or The Catskills, where wellness resorts such as Miraval Berkshires offer dramatic mountain views, especially designed ‘sleep’ and ‘calm’ programs, and healthy menu items sourced from the onsite farm and barn. “Utah, Colorado and New Mexico are also high on the wellbeing wish list when it comes to experiential offerings, drawing from the natural world and indigenous practices,” Marchant adds.
For Weidman Powers, exacting her ‘revenge’ on a tough year by seeking sanctuary in one of the most beautiful and secluded corners of the U.S. could hardly sound more appealing. “Having spent all this time in Brooklyn, I want vistas!” she says. “Being in an environment where someone else is taking care of me, where there’s space and quiet… that would be amazing. And I love the deserts of the southwest.”
Where better for a socially distanced, restorative escape? From the immersive sound baths and endless starry skies found in the high desert around Joshua Tree, to ancient Navajo healing journeys and iconic red rockscapes in Arizona, the silence and scale of the southwest had, even pre-pandemic, been calling burned-out city dwellers eager for a refresh. Luxury spa resorts have followed. One such place is Utah’s spectacular Amangiri resort. Here, the Colorado Plateau’s secluded canyons, mesas, ridges and gorges form the backdrop for a spa specializing in traditional Navajo healing rituals, mountain-top yoga, healthful indigenous cuisine and more.
One of the architects responsible for designing Amangiri — as well as the much-lauded Mii Amo spa at the Enchantment Resort in Sedona, Arizona — is Marwan Al-Sayed. He agrees it is the natural landscape, as much as his creative input, that steeps these resorts in a sense of wellbeing.
“With Amangiri, I always felt the site itself made it feel like a spa, because there’s something about those 165-million-year-old rocks and the silence that immediately puts you in a more receptive and relaxed mode,” he explains. “There’s something spiritual about the place.” Through careful use of natural materials and natural light, the project’s architects chose to fit their designs around the scenery — the pool curving with the rocks, the widescreen views — to create a unique sanctuary that is uplifting for mind, body and soul.
For those nervous about taking their next vacation, this bright new future of travel — where wellness is designed into every stage of the journey — just might be the perfect tonic. Perhaps the ultimate embodiment of this new ethos is Treat: as Hanson notes, the brand has been thoughtfully conceived to balance the many needs of returning to travel, offering everything from top-line products to help you ‘travel well,’ to virtual wellness coaching.
In the post-pandemic world, that balance is more important than ever: particularly for those women who have spent the past year leaning in, way beyond the tipping point.
This content is paid for by an advertiser and published by WP CreativeGroup. The Washington Post newsroom was not involved in the creation of this content. Learn more about WP Creative Group.