As the Canadian months continue to throw unpredictable weather and cold spells upon us, it’s hard to stop thinking about that next great vacation adventure. Lazy beach stays, European getaways, and warm adventure treks are more appealing than ever, especially as we bundle up and peer out at the grey weather outside.
But have you heard of silent travel, one of the biggest wellness travel trends of the year? According to Condé Nast Traveller, silent vacations are all the rage in 2024, as people disconnect, unwind, and silence themselves and their surroundings to connect with their inner thoughts.
Want to know more about silent travel and why it’s becoming so popular? Read on for everything you need to know before booking that next holiday.
What is Silent Travel?
Silent travel is also known as silent vacation or silent tourism. Our daily lives are filled with noise and distractions, so more travellers are opting for vacations where they can truly disengage and disconnect from it all — including their own need to vocalize thoughts and opinions.
To do so, many travellers are booking silent wellness retreats, adding silent nature walks or forest walks into vacation itineraries, or even booking all-inclusive getaways where you can talk, but you need to check your devices at the door.
How long and how intense these retreats are varies. Silent walks are a good starting point and are popular with the TikTok crowd, while those contemplating their life choices or needing a spiritual escape may look at an extended stay somewhere.
Silent travel often has an environmental component, where you focus on your surroundings to assess and appreciate your connection to the earth.
Where Did Silent Travel Start?
Silent travel has ancient roots in the Buddhist practice of Vipassana, which translates to “seeing things as they really are.” One of Vipassana’s most famous pop culture references is in Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir Eat, Pray, Love, (also a 2010 movie starring Julia Roberts). There is also a similar Hindu practice.
Condé Nast points out that one of the risks of these spiritual practices becoming trendy is that they can veer into cultural appropriation territory if they’re trivialized or if certain practices are cherry-picked for a gimmicky vacay. In other words, doing your research before you go is essential.
These days, there are silent yoga retreats, silent nature adventures, silent meditation retreats, and a gamut of other options.
What Are the Benefits of Silent Travel?
Noise pollution can cause many problems, including stress and stress-related illness, high blood pressure, hearing loss, sleep disruption, and lower productivity. And while we may think of noise pollution as being outside the home, it occurs within it as well. Think of all the screens you and your family have access to. Add in appliances, fans, external noises making their way inside, pets, and a plethora of other things, and our homes can get noisy.
Meanwhile, there are plenty of positive benefits from silence and silent travel. Various research has shown that silence can help lower blood pressure, improve concentration and focus, calm racing thoughts, stimulate brain growth, reduce cortisol, boost creativity, help improve insomnia, and encourage overall mindfulness.
Now, who doesn’t want to go on a vacation that can potentially deliver all of those fantastic benefits?
Related: Canadian Travel Trends on Airbnb
What If You Can’t Afford Silent Travel?
Although a vacation or retreat sounds great, not everyone is in the financial position to take advantage of such getaways. The good news is you can try to get in touch with your inner thoughts at home, too. Incorporate silent meditation or journalling into your daily life, or take a nature walk and leave your AirPods at home. If your family tends to be loud and busy, consider adding quiet reading time or colouring to the schedule. So long as you’re taking time to reflect and look within, silence can be enjoyed just as much at home as it is abroad.