Why Dopamine Travel is the wellness travel trend to watch this summer

Why Dopamine Travel is the wellness travel trend to watch this summer
2024 Summer travel forecast
Fox - 5 NY / VideoElephant

Stress is something the majority of us can all relate to, with 91 per cent of adults reporting high or extreme levels of stress in 2023.

Therefore taking extra steps to look after our well-being is increasingly important, with this in mind the wellness tourism sector has been labelled as the fastest growing, and it’s clear that we’re turning to our holidays to de-stress and relax from day-to-day life.

When you envisage a ‘wellness retreat' some of the activities that may spring to mind may be yoga or meditation - but there is a new type of wellness trend that is rapidly on the rise called DopamineTravel.

To explore the trend, spoke with Psychologist, Dr Jo Gee (PhD), to uncover why we’re all going to be hitting the theme parks and slopes in pursuit of wellness this year.

What is Dopamine Travel?

Dr Jo Gee explained: “The change of scenery and adventurous nature of an active holiday can lead to an all-encompassing change in the dominant neurotransmitters in our brain, triggering releases of dopamine, as well as serotonin and adrenaline. It’s this effect of certain holidays that has coined a new travel trend - DopamineTravel.

“We often see that a complete distraction from everyday life through holidays that promote meaning or growth has been proven to increase feelings of wellbeing, as well as increases in performance and general activity level. The effects of these positive benefits have been reported as lasting up to eight weeks, post-holiday. This is particularly present for outdoor trips such as mountaineering or skiing where a sense of accomplishment can lead to long-lasting increases in self-esteem and confidence.”

Just as the “dopamine dressing” trend encourages clothing in bright, bold colours, our surroundings can also play a vital role.

Oliver Brendon, CEO of added: “The dopamine travel trend is centred around immersing yourself in vibrant landscapes, which is why the brightly-coloured theme parks such as Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort make such popular destinations. Plus, you’re set for a big dose of dopamine while riding popular roller coasters such as the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios or Jurassic World VelociCoaster at Universal Islands of Adventure.

“For more mindful moments, surrounding yourself in nature can create a sense of adventure and escapism unlike traditional wellness retreats. Consider choosing experiences like swimming with sea life or the tranquil lazy river at Discovery Cove.”

How long should a holiday be?

Dr Jo Gee said: “We often see that the impact on wellbeing from a holiday peaks on the eighth day. With this in mind, we recommend holidays should be a minimum of eight days, to ensure we gain maximum benefit.”

But it’s not just the holiday itself that can give us a boost. Dr Jo explains the importance of having a trip planned in: “The anticipation prior to a holiday can also help to boost feelings of joy and happiness and can actually reap more benefits in brain activity than the adventure holiday itself, so make sure to plan your holidays in advance.”

If you’re ready for a hit of dopamine with your holiday this summer, there are options for all age groups at including Discovery Cove, Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort.

Post-holiday recovery

If you feel like you need a holiday to recover after your break, you should consider trying the TIPP method as Dr Jo explains this technique you need to try.

What is TIPP?

Dr Jo explained: “We can induce our relaxation response through relaxation techniques such as the TIPP skill which stands for temperature change through cold water immersion, intense exercise burst, progressive muscle relaxation and paced breathing.

How to use the TIPP method to unwind before a trip:

Dr Jo Gee said: “Wind down activities need to be started a few prior to going on a break, as it takes at least 48 hours to calm your nervous system and start to decrease cortisol production.”

“By methodically tensing and relaxing our muscles, whilst slowing our breathing down, we can switch off our body’s fight flight response. For a quicker result, we can add a burst of intense exercise or cold-water immersion for 30-60 seconds, both of which release vital chemicals to regulate stress.”

Whilst you might not have a traditional ‘wellness retreat’ planned, Dr Jo Gee (PhD) explains why hitting the theme parks and slopes might be your answer to rest, relaxation and wellness this year.To explore the trend, spoke with Psychologist, Dr Jo Gee (PhD), to uncover why we’re all going to be hitting the theme parks and slopes in pursuit of wellness this year.

How to join the indy100's free WhatsApp channel

Sign up to our free indy100 weekly newsletter

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

The Conversation (0)