Useful Tips for Planning an Unforgettable Yoga Holiday
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How do you picture your perfect yoga holiday?
Do you daydream of striking asanas on a tropical beach? Maybe you’ve always wanted to mix a yoga retreat with visiting Europe’s charming cities? Or perhaps you want to be more adventurous and plan to do some hiking while on a yoga vacation in Morocco?
Whichever type of holiday you prefer, to ensure an unforgettable experience, in this article, we are sharing essential tips to help you easily plan a yoga vacation that you will remember for years to come.
Start planning early
Especially if you are planning to attend a yoga retreat for the first time, start your initial research around a year before your planned departure date.
Make vacation-planning fun. It doesn’t need to feel like another chore. Set aside time to do some online research and make sure to talk to your friends who have taken similar vacations.
Start with a list, which should include:
- Activities that you want to try (aside from practicing yoga, of course).
Be as general or as specific as you like. For ‘destination’, you can write a ‘yoga retreat in Europe‘ or even decide on a specific location in Italy. Consider various yoga styles and whether you plan to travel alone or with a friend or partner.
Tip: Use Pinterest boards to save ideas for everything! From destinations to activities and even outfits. Or create an old-fashioned dream board!
Set a budget
Every project needs a budget and planning a yoga vacation is no exception. It’s very easy to create a travel budget sheet to help you keep track. Start with a general budget and then drill down by categories.
The budget does depend on the yoga destination you choose, but even if your finances are limited, you should not worry. There are countless affordable yoga retreats available worldwide.
The best part is that you don’t have to lower your expectations. There are ways in which you can still have an amazing time and not spend a fortune or go into debt. You can keep the costs down even more if you use miles to get a cheaper flight, choose alternate modes of transportation, or opt for a yoga holiday close to home.
Tip: If you prefer apps, use Expensify to keep track of your budget.
»Read more: How to Have an Affordable Yoga Vacation [Tips]
Look for the most suitable destination
Photo credit: Aegialis Hotel and Spa
Easter Island or the Maldives sound like amazing destinations for a yoga retreat for couples. But just how far are these places from where you live?
Here is some information:
- It takes 17 hours to fly from New York to Easter Island
- It takes 21 hours to fly from Los Angeles to the Maldives
If you only have less than a week to spend on your yoga vacation, you don’t want to be on a plane for almost two days. A better idea is to look for destinations closer to home. If you live in the US, why not discover the gems in your backyard or opt for a yoga retreat in the Caribbean.
Looking for something different? Choose a place that has always intrigued you. You can certainly go on an adventure yoga retreat, combining yoga classes with surfing, hiking, wildlife tours, skiing, and more.
Next up on your list is the weather. The Caribbean is a great choice for any vacation. That’s perfect but only if you plan to go there during the winter. You don’t want to be on a tropical island during the hurricane season.
On the other hand, the Northern Hemisphere can be quite frosty in winter. Places such as Canada in the Americas, or Sweden in Europe may look amazing under the snow, but they are not good choices for everyone.
If you choose an early summer month, Southern Europe is a good idea. You can decide to go on a yoga retreat in Italy or explore the superb coastline of Portugal.
Where budget is a concern, consider a less popular time to travel. Shoulder season travel offers the best value for money in terms of airfare and accommodation.
In the context of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, it’s important to check whether you can enter the country (see more below) and if any restrictions are in place at your destination (i.e. some businesses may not be open or there may be restrictions for indoor activities).
Tip: Find a destination to match your budget rather than the other way around.
Pay attention to the requirements to enter a country
Photo credit: Cris Puscas
When traveling internationally, it is extremely important to remember that you need to ensure you have the right to enter the country you plan to visit.
Because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic (and likely even after it wanes), it’s extremely important to first check if your preferred destination is open for travel. And if so, what requirements are in place. Would you need a negative PCR test (taken usually up to 72h before arrival)? Is there a possibility you’d have to quarantine after arrival? Also, check if you’d have to quarantine once you return home.
The European Union has recently approved a “traffic light” system, making things a bit easier to figure out travel across the continent. But many European countries aren’t part of the Union, so checking the rules for each country is extremely important. And of course, across the globe, various countries have their requirements.
Once you know the requirements to enter the country, you’ll still need to check whether or not you need a visa and how long your passport should be valid for. As a rule of thumb, though, the passport should be valid for six more months after your return date.
Obtaining the visa to enter the country can either be as simple as a visa stamp on arrival, registering online (and paying the fee online, too), or needing to fill in a stack of documents. The regulations change quite a lot and your best bet is to always verify what you find online with the embassy of the country you are visiting.
Tip: Check the Covid-19 restrictions and visa requirements before you book anything.
Choose a good airline
Deciding on a ‘good’ airline to fly depends a lot on your travel style and how you set your expectations. Yes, all flights can be delayed or canceled, but some airlines excel at this. Likewise, any airline can misplace your luggage, but, again, some airlines seem to never learn to do better.
With that being said, low-cost carriers are an excellent option for budget travelers. On short hauls, they usually include a piece of hand luggage with the ticket, but not much else. Some won’t even include that (we are looking at you, Spirit!). Keep in mind though, that sometimes even commercial airlines won’t include checked luggage on short hauls (yes, KLM, that’s you in Europe!)
For long hauls, airlines still include at least a piece of checked luggage (and at most two) with an economy ticket. Preferred seats typically cost money, though.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, you might want to consider booking with an airline that keeps the middle seat unused and enforces wearing a mask during the flight. All airlines are required to publish on their website the health and safety measures they enforce at boarding and throughout the flight.
Tip: Check online ratings to decide which airlines you should consider.
Book in advance
Book your yoga retreat and airfare at least six months in advance. Generally speaking, for international travel, airfare, and accommodation are cheaper four to six months before departure.
Learn to take advantage of your credit card and the miles (or points) you may have accrued with your favorite airline. While they won’t pay for a full ticket, you may as well take that free upgrade or an additional free piece of luggage, right?
Avoid having to make any changes to the airfare or accommodation later. While changes related to accommodation are easier and cheaper to tackle, the story is not the same for airfare. Many cheap tickets may not be changed at all and those that can carry a change fee on top of any fare difference you need to pay.
Especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s important to check the cancellation and change rules. While most airlines offer very flexible booking fares, whether you get money back or airline credit depends on the airline. And the same is valid for accommodation, although, it’s far easier to book a place to stay that has a free cancellation policy.
As for booking a yoga retreat rest assured that BookYogaRetreats offers a flexible cancellation policy. Should you not be able to travel as scheduled, we’d be happy to help you alter your booking with the same organizer or a different organizer.
Tip: Sign up for fare alerts for the flights you are interested in.
Get all the details about the yoga retreat ahead of time
Once you’ve decided on a destination and even narrowed down the yoga retreat you want to attend, make sure to get all the details you need for a great holiday.
Confirm, before booking, the following:
- The cancellation policy;
- Whether or not transfer is provided to/from the airport (or train station); and if not, what’s the easiest way to get there by public transportation;
- Your specific dietary requirements and what meals are included;
- What activities are included, and if additional activities can be booked (and how much they cost);
- Whether or not a negative PCR test (or antigen test) is required to join.
If you are concerned about Covid-19 health and hygiene regulations in place at yoga retreats, you should know that at BookYogaRetreats, we are using a “clean & safe” tag that designates retreats that abide by the cleaning, physical distancing, and safety requirements.
Purchase travel insurance
Travel insurance is, typically, something that people tend to overlook.
However, the right kind of insurance can protect you against a lot of things: from delayed flight to lost luggage or stolen goods. Most importantly, it can save you a lot of grief during emergencies or medical issues.
If this year (a.n. 2020) has proven something is that we should never take anything for granted. And should something happen, it’s best to have some sort of protection, whether it’s some sort of help to make it back home in case of an emergency or access to medical care.
Tip: Make sure the insurance you choose covers the activities you plan to enjoy (eg. scuba diving)
You don't need to pack half of your closet for your yoga retreat. But you don't want to go explore a religious site and not have anything proper to wear, either. Pack smart and think layers.
For a yoga retreat on the beach, consider packing a lightweight dress and a pareo or cardigan for the evenings.
On the other hand, you may want to leave your high heels at home if you plan to visit Europe, with its old, cobblestone streets in their historical centers. Also, it’s worthwhile to consider packing that ultra-light waterproof jacket no matter where you’re headed.
And speaking of those cobblestone streets. A carry-on bag with wheels isn’t the best choice for such a destination. You’d end up carrying it in the hand anyway. So, it’s better to opt for a backpack.
Tip: Roll your clothes to maximize the space in your carry-on.
»Read more: How to Pack for a Yoga Retreat
Share your travel itinerary with a person you trust
All travelers should know this basic safety advice: share your travel itinerary with at least a person you trust. Like it or not, things do happen, and it might be useful and even lifesaving if your loved ones know how to find you when necessary.
You certainly don’t want to be inundated with calls when all you plan to do is relax and, maybe even digital detox. But you still need to consider your safety (and their peace of mind).
That said, make sure your cell can be used abroad. Thankfully, nowadays, roaming is quite affordable. Or, if your cell is not blocked to be used with only one provider, you can even get a local SIM to use during your trip.
Tip: Have an ICE (in-case-of-emergency) contact saved in your phone.
Relax and enjoy your yoga vacation!
Photo credit: The Healing Tree
Take this travel time as an opportunity to relax. Make sure you plan for a balanced mix of activities and downtime. You’ll most likely be spending a lot of time on yoga during your trip but be sure that you don’t jam-pack your itinerary that you’ll barely have any time to actually relax.
Set aside some free time to lounge around at the beach or perhaps book yourself an indulgent spa day. This way, you won’t need to have another vacation to recover from your trip!
Tip: Include a “free day” in your itinerary which shouldn’t have any activity planned in advance.
Can’t travel right now? Join an online yoga retreat from the comfort & safety of your home.