{WE'RE OBSESSED} Hammams

IMAGE VIA

IMAGE VIA

Where you find this wellness ritual: Egypt, Morocco & Turkey: Hammam
Prescribed for: Purification, relaxation, skin exfoliation, socialization

Islamic hammams, those we've come to know as Turkish baths, have their roots in religious purification rituals. A traditional hammam is constructed of three interconnected rooms, a large domed room with glass windows and a central slab of marble with running water, a warm room, and a cool room. Separated into men's and women's quarters, you start with a full body exfoliation, have your hair and body washed in the second room, and end the treatment in the cool room with tea and relaxation. Many spas in the U.S. have opened areas that resemble traditional hammams, but for the real thing, you'll need to book a flight across the pond.

Sweeten Up with Honey

MEETING THE BEE FARMERS ON A PRAVASSA MARKET TOUR | PRAVASSA©

MEETING THE BEE FARMERS ON A PRAVASSA MARKET TOUR | PRAVASSA©

Having been used for over 4,000 years in the Ayurvedic tradition, could honey be the most versatile ingredient in your overnight bag? In addition to a sweetener and using it to sooth our sore throat, we turn to honey as a beauty product for both our hair and skin. Organic Spa Magazine Editor-in-Chief, Rona Berg, uses honey to banish pimples overnight, Holistic Health Coach, Amanda Cook, makes her face masks with it, and for soft silky hair - try this DYI Indian recipe

Need more reasons to add raw honey to your travel staples? If you're heading out for some adventure honey could come in handy if you accidentally burn yourself. Applying a thin layer of to an affected area not only soothes the stinging, but due to the anti-bacterial properties it will also help prevent the burn from becoming infected. Concerned that you're building up a resistance to antibiotics? Manduka honey may just hold the antidote.  

Andalusia | Spain

PHOTO PRAVASSA©

PHOTO PRAVASSA©

Spain is one of my favorite destination in Europe. The people are friendly, the food is endless, and there is fabulously diverse terrain. Our most recent exploration lead to us Andalusia, the sun-drench region known for flamenco, bullfighting (we opted out here), tapas, and Moorish architecture. We found the best way to explore this region is by renting a car and getting lost. Check out the gallery of our latest wellness travel finds. 

Interested in booking a #customWELL itinerary to Spain? Click here

5 WAYS TO MAKE YOUR ROAD TRIP A HEALTHY ADVENTURE

IMAGE VIA SHUTTERSTOCK

IMAGE VIA SHUTTERSTOCK

Summer has finally shown up, and you may be getting the itch to jump in the car and go exploring. With blue skies, a great playlist, and the open road ahead, just the thought of a road trip can bring a smile to your face. Yet with all the sitting and road sign after road sign for fast food ahead, how can you possibly stay healthy for days on end? Try these manageable tips to keep you and your traveling companions happy and healthy:

1. Get a good night’s sleep. Part of being on vacation is the luxury of not having a set schedule. This is the perfect time to let your circadian rhythm readjust and give yourself permission to go to bed early or sleep in. By allowing yourself proper rest, you’ll avoid driving drowsy, which helps prevent car accidents and maintains your alertness on the road.

2. Map out healthy restaurants and farmers markets along your route. If you know your route in advance or have access to a good WiFi connection, take some time to search out healthy restaurants or local farmers markets along the way. There are several websites out there that make it super easy to find locally grown and organic options. With the sustainable food movement continuing to spread, spend some time talking with local vendors, as they’ll have insider tips that you might not be able to find online.

3. Pack a cooler. Buy extra goodies at the farmers market so you can stock up on healthy snacks like ripe peaches, hand roasted nuts, or local yogurt. Then, during your next stop at the gas station, stock up on ice for the cooler instead of typical salty and sugary road trip fare.

4. Stop and explore. Sitting in the car can lead to lower backaches and stiff legs, so it’s important to get out of the car and move your body restoring blood flow. Half the fun of road tripping is stopping to explore a new area. Bring your sneakers and go for a hike, or find a beautiful park and practice some yoga moves.

5. Be a water baby. Whether you book a hotel, motel, or a house rental along your road trip route, try and seek out one with a pool or nearby lake to take a dip. Summer is the perfect time to cool off in outdoor waters and has the added benefit of helping stiff, weak muscles recover. If you’re lucky enough to find a heated pool or Jacuzzi, the warm water helps to aid digestion and promote relaxation, which was the point of your road trip in the first place! - Linden Schaffer

This article was written for and originally published on wellness website MindBodyGreen.

#TravelWell Chat: Travel Keepsakes

Photo: Pravassa Exploring Vietnam

Photo: Pravassa Exploring Vietnam

One of our favorite quotes circulating the social media-sphere is 'Collect Moments Not Things', and while we certainly take pride in minimizing our travel suitcases and footprints, there's no denying that searching for the perfect souvenir is a great way to get wonderfully lost and local in a new city. Plus, there's nothing like pulling out those fragrant spices or sporting that colorful scarf upon returning home to transport us back to faraway lands. What are your favorite souvenirs? We want to hear them all!

Join @Pravassa at 4:30PMEST on Wednesday, June 3 for a Travel Keepsakes Twitter chat using the tag #TravelWell. 

If you're unable to make the chat live, don't miss out! Feel free to schedule your answers according to the timeline below.

4:30pm
Q1: If you could travel somewhere solely to buy their local craft or delicacy, where would it be? #TravelWell

4:35pm
Q2: What traveling purchase do you get the most use out of now that you've returned home? Bonus if you share a pic! #TravelWell

4:40pm
Q3: What is a unique or thoughtful souvenir you've received from another fellow traveler? #TravelWell

4:45pm
Q4: Do you have a philosophy or strategy when it comes to purchasing travel keepsakes for yourself or someone else? #TravelWell 

4:50pm
Q5: When it comes to souvenirs, is there one item you're usually drawn to in every country for a collection? #TravelWell

4:55pm
Q6: Not all keepsakes are material. What's one intangible- story, memory or quality- that you'll carry forever? #TravelWell #changedbytravel

La Cochinchine Spa | Vietnam

SPA ENTRANCE AT THE ANA MANDARA

SPA ENTRANCE AT THE ANA MANDARA

What do you when it's monsoon season and you're feeling under the weather? Spend the day at the spa of course! We were lucky enough to be in residence at the high-end Ana Mandara resort in Hue, Vietnam when we opted for a 4-hour treatment called the Vietnamese Romance.

Billed as a balancing treatment, the package incorporated time in the steam room and sauna, traditional Vietnamese cuppinga 60-minute massage, (given by a therapist with wonderfully strong hands), a rejuvenating facial, culminating with a 60-minute reflexology session. Yes we were walking rag dolls after this day of ultimate self-care. 

With as much as we travel it's hard to beat the quality, service, and value of ritual healing treatments in Asia. Couple the treatments with the Feng Shui design typically provided in sustainable environments and organic products you better believe we never head out on a wellness travel vacation without considering the spa options. 

Cost: 2.038.575 dong/$97USD including tip      Location: Hue | Vietnam                  

Click here to request this wellness experience be added to your Hue customWELL itinerary.

#ChangedbyTravel Winners

Winners of @Pravassa Instagram Challenge | May 12-18, 2015

Winners of @Pravassa Instagram Challenge | May 12-18, 2015

We loved seeing how you’ve been changed by travel during our first Instagram photo challenge: from self-exploration at a Balinese temple to off-the-beaten path beach discoveries in Hawaii. You showed us relinquishing fears for spontaneous solo travel throughout Australia to getting curious right in our own Nation’s capital. Climbing toward stunning views and good health in Firenze to exploring Norwegian landscapes with life-changing friends.

Here's to travel for uniting us all and to challenging participants to spreading its transformative powers. Check out our chosen winners’ beautiful IG feeds for an added dose of wanderlust in your day: @lustinwander | @pilatesgirl23| @travelwithcelery | @shes.wanderlust | @thatwanderinggringa | @travelingpilatesinstructor | @southernadventurer |

Miss the challenge but still have #ChangedbyTravel photos to share? We’ll continue monitoring the hashtag and selecting snapshots to feature on Instagram. Tag @Pravassa to be sure we spot it!

{We're Obsessed} Send Snail Mail

IMAGE VIA SHUTTERSTOCK

IMAGE VIA SHUTTERSTOCK

When is the last time you wrote a letter or a postcard to someone while you were traveling? The art of writing may seem passé in our age of Instagram, but this simple act can save your friendships and boost your wellness. Researchers at Kent State University found that writing to maintain social connections three times a month increases happiness and overall life satisfaction. Now you can hunt for the perfect postcard, the most unique international stamp, or wait until you return home and turn your favorite photograph from the trip into a one-of-a-kind card.

Changed by Travel

Image PRAVASSA© - Linden Schaffer (R) and Friends in Italy

Image PRAVASSA© - Linden Schaffer (R) and Friends in Italy

Riding through Paris on a motorcycle. Hitchhiking the German Autobahn unsuccessfully then pitching a tent as the sun lowered across the horizon. Watching Yugoslavia’s summer rays beat down over the glimmering, cliff-side sea.

I first heard of these adventures as a teenager and promptly made my father pull out the slides for proof that he was talking about the same people who raised me. Sure, I’d witnessed remote tribal villages through the pages of National Geographic as a kid – I knew there was more to the world than my small suburban existence. Yet imagining people so close to me exploring the other side of the world simply blew my mind.

At 10-years-old, my uncle gave us a globe. I spent countless hours studying it, wondering what it would be like to live in the Soviet Union, East Germany or any number of places that no longer exist within the borders of an old map. I never imagined a life dedicated to travel, but hoped to explore as many of those places as possible one day.

At sixteen I won a spot to compete in a volleyball tournament in Canberra, Australia. 4 flights and 30 hours later I was on my first international trip with a group of girls I’d never met. We lost the first day of competition, but it didn’t matter because I had made it to the other side of the world.

I still remember five girls huddled for warmth in sleeping bags, waking up to snowfall during what was summer back home; running along the Australian Parliament House’s rooftop garden; coming face-to-face with a guy who had puzzle pieces tattooed all over his face in Sydney’s red light district; feeding eucalyptus to a koala bear in my arms; and exchanging addresses to keep in touch with new friends.

Without social media to fall back on, I remember certain aspects of that trip so clearly because I was present for each moment. Traveling halfway around the world with no connection to home, experiencing new landscapes, animals, and people, and capturing them all with my father’s loaned camera (diligently loaded with film rolls and kept out of sunlight, of course).

Australia lit a fire in me and I vowed then and there that many far-flung adventures were to come. Returning home, it didn’t matter that only one of those film rolls actually produced any photos, because I had discovered it’s the journey that makes the lasting impression. I had discovered, for the first time of many, the feeling of being changed by travel. - Linden Schaffer

#ChangedbyTravel Instagram Challenge

As wellness travel curators, we're always exploring the world and letting it change us- body, mind and spirit- to create trips that also inspire a transformation in you. No two journeys are the same though and the beauty is you can never predict what will transpire upon returning home.

What have you learned on your own travels? What trip shifted you most? We want to hear it all!

HOW TO WIN:
What: #ChangedbyTravel photo contest
Where: Instagram
When: May 12-18, 2015

  • Follow @Pravassa and all our co-hosts to get each day's inspiration: @PacificandPark, @BlissOutWellness, @Kasia_Dietz, @AnneDimon, @theWorldWanderer + @Kristen4Pilates. *must follow all hosts to qualify
  • Share a travel photo on Instagram in response to each day's reflection prompt. You must use the #ChangedbyTravel hashtag and @Pravassa in your photo description so we don't miss it! *photo must be your own 
  • 7 winners will be announced on Instagram on May 19, 2015 and given $100 travel vouchers to use toward your own Pravassa experience. 

 

*vouchers valid for one year, cannot be combined with other offers, only good toward the full purchase of a wellness vacation. must be 18 or older to qualify for travel voucher.

All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.
— Martin Buber