Budget, Body, and Mindset Friendly Travel Tips for Yoga Retreat Goers
Have you ever dreamed of a vacation where you came back feeling more rested, inspired, and healthier? Then, you need to skip resort travel and go on a Yoga retreat.
Warm weather, a beach, daily yoga & meditation, and honestly some gosh darn some serenity.
I know so many women (and men - but mostly women) who have wanted to go on a retreat with me but then backed out worried about finances and concerns about the ease of travel.
[Ladies, as a side note I have never had a male client back out of a class, a retreat, or a private session and blame finances. My female clients don't have less money - the men just seem to do what they want with their money. Plenty to consider there. That is a blog for another day.]
Back to YOU.
You want to travel like a Yoga teacher. A yoga vacation is meant to bring you home fitter - mind, body, and spirit - than when you left. No bland resort food, no noisy spring-breakers, and no hidden (supercharged) fees.
A thoughtful Yoga retreat should be offered with respect to the country it visits, cultural humility, and enough space to truly disconnect from daily hustle so fresh perspective and energy can flow in.
However because it’s an intentional step away from typical commercialized travel, planning can feel intimidating.
Here are my 5 favorite tips for getting to your Yoga retreat - on a budget.
Get to know Google Flights on Incognito Mode
Google Flights is my #1 way to find inexpensive flights. Does that mean going for the lowest price? No, not always. I look for the following parameters for flights:
Some people will say to be flexible with dates. But dates that make sense for the trip and your life are more important.
For a yoga retreat you're locked into certain dates unless you are extending your trip (which I actually recommend.) So open up an incognito browser and don't get obsessive about finding a flight. The price will start to go up within 90 days of takeoff, but I've found great deals 30 and 60 days out too.
The key is to get to know the 'going rate' and when you see something that beats that going rate by 20% or more buy it!
You may also want to stick to your favorite airlines. I recommend gathering points with just 1-2 different airlines and sticking with it. You can always deviate with discount airlines for spur of the moment travel. But if you're going for a long-haul flight gather up those points through an airline you actually enjoy.
Consider Total Ground Travel
One of the main reasons why I don't often recommend arriving on dates outside of what is listed for the Yoga retreat is ground travel.
Ground travel can be expensive when you purchase it for yourself, and very inexpensive when you stick with what is already built into the retreat prices. This is because you are traveling with a group.
I always secure ground travel to and from the airport within a specific window for my retreat goers.
When you pick your flight choose an arrival time that coincides with ground travel and save yourself hundreds of dollars.
You might find a super cheap flight. But if you have to add on a private taxi or even an overnight at the airport hotel - your savings went right out the window.
Plus, the retreat is more fun with other people! Enjoy the ground travel ride with your new retreat friends. It is part of the adventure.
Bring (Healthy) Packaged Snacks
Airport food sucks. There, I said it.
However, when you have a layover you likely are traveling through meal time and you'll naturally be hungry.
Airport food is overpriced. Now, if you want to grab a drink - that's up to you ;)
I recommend packing snacks that you can rely on AND are ok with TSA. Typically this means something fully packages and not mushy/liquid in nature. Whole, fresh fruits are typically a no-no. So if you're bringing fruit eat it in the airport before going through security. Better yet - skip it. For international travel I have seen someone be delayed in line and almost miss their flight because they just refused to throw out .... and apple.
Don't be that person.
Here are my favorite packaged foods that have minimal ingredients. Low-sugar jerky, popcorn (I go for varieties that don't have palm oil), dehydrated fruit & veggies, nuts, and some electrolyte packets can be life-savers for keeping your belly and wallet full during travel.
Pack light (yes, even lighter)
You will need less than you think.
What to minimize?
Your outfits. Bring just a few things that you can rotate. Think shorts, bathing suits, workout clothes, and just a couple of lightweight PJ options. You may want to bring one breezy but nice outfit for a dinner out.
What to leave space for?
Hiking sandals. Hats. Sunscreen (opt for sizes that get through TSA.) A beach towel. Bug spray. I really love the bug spray towelettes.
What to leave at home?
Your hair dryer. Make-up. Your yoga mat (yep, more on that below.) Socks and gym shoes. I recommend bringing hiking sandals that have a closed toe. These will be your best friend for hikes, waterfalls, and rocky beaches. Gym shoes and socks will get wet and you'll hate it.
Consider Leaving Your Mat at Home (Unless Told Specifically to Bring it)
Traveling with a Yoga mat through the airport is a pain-in-the-ass.
They take up a lot of space and no one wants to be the person stuffing the overhead bin with more than their fair share.
Unless you just can't enjoy your Yoga practice with anything other than your favorite mat, I recommend skipping it. There will be some well-loved mats at the retreat center. They may not be your cushion 8lb Lulu, but they also won't be strapped to your body for 6+ hours of travel
If you can imagine being on a simpler mat, chances are the retreat center has something that will work for you - and save you the hassle of bringing your mat.
Embrace the Local Cuisine Once You Land
Don't immediately look for a burger or pizza or a Starbucks.
That's not why you're there.
Embrace whatever is locally on the menu.
If it's Costa Rica you'll find a dish called 'Casado'. That is typically rice, beans, fish or a meat, and potentially some type salad or plantains. Fresh fruits, fish, eggs, rice, and beans are likely on deck.
Be a traveler (not a tourist) and eat what you're served. It will open up your palette and your body to new way of enjoying food.
Most people also feel lighter and healthier after a week of eating with less dairy, less gluten, less added sugar, more delicious spice blends, more fresh fruit, more fresh vegetables, and way less cooking oils.
And, guess what, you'll save money too! Embracing what you find locally is often much less expensive than shopping for packages goods or eating at restaurants in touristy areas.