The Spa Slow-Down


If you ask me, you don’t need a reason to go to the spa; relaxing for the hell of it is reason enough. It seems, lately, as if more and more guys are agreeing with me too. The International Spa Association recently released a statistic showing that 49% of spa-goers are now men (which is a huge increase from just 29% ten years ago). I’ve noticed an increase in my own spagoing, and am glad that more dudes seems to be enjoying the benefits of self-care.

Still, I understand that going to a spa isn’t something all men think about on a regular basis. It can be hard to find an hour, much less a full day, to dedicate to relaxation. Our lives are busy, schedules are packed, and our work follows us home thanks to those smartphones we all carry around like extra limbs. When we do find a limited period of time to ourselves, most of us want to binge on television shows or take naps instead of heading to a day spa.

The benefits of regularly visiting a spa is another story, but all the reasons you don’t visit a spa in your daily life are moot when we start talking about vacation spas. You’re on vacation for god’s sake; your busy life is on hold and your excuses for not spa-ing should be too.

Whenever I’m on vacation, or traveling at all, I always find time to go to a spa. It could be as simple as spending an hour in the steam room at my hotel, booking a massage after a long day of meetings, or building an afternoon at a day spa into my vacation itinerary. It doesn’t matter how quick the trip is; what matters is that I make a little time for myself.

Travel can be stressful, even if you’re traveling for the express purpose of de-stressing, so giving yourself permission to fully relax is important. I don’t know about you, but when I’m planning a trip, my impulse is to pack it as full of activities as possible. I find that building in time to visit the spa early in the trip allows me to get into a more relaxed headspace and make the rest of the trip better. Conversely, on a business trip, I tend to schedule spa time toward the end, so I can recoup after my work is done and head home fresh and clear.

No matter how you fit in a spa visit, the most important thing is that you do. Don’t overthink it; just do it. This is what I’ve learned about spa-ing on the go.

Even An Hour Is Enough
Most hotels have spas, or at least gyms with locker rooms, these days. Even if you don’t have the time or desire to book a massage or treatment, find an hour at the end of the day to visit the steam room or sauna. It will help chill you out, detox your body, and get you into a relaxed state of mind.

If Your Hotel Doesn’t Have A Spa
Don’t worry, there are a few things you can do. You could go the DIY route and take a bath (I always take at least one bath in a hotel room if there is tub). Get a bath bomb or some bath salts and add them to the water. A long bath will have the same relaxation effects as a sauna. Or pull up Yelp and look for day spas in your area. Carve out a couple of hours and head over.

Choose Unique Treatments
One of the best things about traveling is experiencing things you can’t get at home. The same goes for spagoing on the go. Instead of choosing the same kind of massage you always get, for instance, look for treatments that incorporate ingredients unique to the area. Many spas will have at least one treatment that they’ve developed specifically for that location. Take advantage of it!

Post-Flight Facials Can Save Your Skin
Lots of people say their skin goes crazy after a flight: it breaks out or become dry and irritated. Getting a facial after a flight will rebalance your skin and have you feeling refreshed in no time. If you have time, try to schedule a facial as soon as possible after you arrive.

Ask About Day Passes
Some day spas will offer passes to use their facilities even if you don’t get a treatment. If you’re not into the idea of getting a massage or facial, you can still head to the spa and chill in the baths or saunas to relax. Some hotel spas will allow you free access if you’re a guest, so always ask the front desk when you check in.

Always Bring a Bathing Suit
No matter where you’re going or what you’re going there for, always pack a bathing suit. You don’t want to be turned away from a spa because you don’t have the proper attire or worse, be forced to wear one of those disposable suits.