Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Wellness vacations offer healthy relaxation

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What a fantastic summer it has been!

But this weekend, with its shorter days and cooler nights, is the next trigger for thoughts of faraway places, especially relating to the warmer climes of sunspots we visit during the upcoming cold months.

For most of us it is simply about planning our escape from frigid temperatures we know are coming. But escape travel for others takes on added meaning.

It is within that context that the questions in this week's column are explored.

QUESTION: I don't mind a beach vacation but I really prefer to get away from the throngs of people to find ways to regenerate my mind and spirit after months of hard work.

What kind of vacations are there for people like me?

ANSWER: Often referred to as wellness vacations, progressive tour operators have created numerous packages for people just like you. And that part of the industry is expanding rapidly.

Tied to that is the growth of extensive spa retreats that have added numerous treatment alternatives, both traditional and non-traditional.

Health and wellness can cover a myriad of inclusions.

As you are dining on healthy weight-loss diets you can take courses on both healthy eating and cooking.

You can participate in singular or group exercise related activities ranging from biking to hiking or swimming,

Places like the New Life Hiking spa in Killington, Vt. let you rediscover yourself in a natural picturesque setting.

At the Coastal Trek Resort in British Columbia you learn yoga or participate in other meditative programs.

Go deep into the rain forests of Costa Rica or stay at a luxurious property on the outskirts of a major south European city.

Life coaches, medical massages, and nutrition planning. Define the elements that will best bring you back contented and relaxed, and there is a special place waiting for you.

QUESTION: I have spent the greater part of my life travelling around the world whenever I could.

I want my grandchildren to experience the same sense of discovery and cultural education in some of the countries I have visited. I especially would like them visit Tuscany and the rest of Italy.

How can I leave money to them or their parents to ensure that happens?

ANSWER: What you wish to do is being done by many older grandparents who want part of the wealth they leave behind dedicated to specific activities such as travel.

Some lawyers suggest that this is a good method to protect funds against creditors, divorce actions, and indiscriminate spending by irresponsible beneficiaries.

The basic strategy involves establishing a trust that dedicates isolated funds to the kind of travel you want to see it used for or towards.

This kind of heritance directive is a growing trend with some trusts dedicated to bringing together families who live in far flung places for reunions, for stays at specific properties, and especially for travel to and accommodation at specific country destinations.

QUESTION: I have read that they are actually selling tickets for people to visit the sight of the Costa Concordia wreck.

Have we as a society reached a new low in what we feel we need to see?

ANSWER: The answer to that question may not be as simple as first perceived.

Disaster tourism, as it is known, has been around for a long time. Included in many tours we pay a lot of money to be fascinated in places where major tragedies have occurred.

Just weeks ago people paid thousands of dollars to travel the route of the Titanic. The Halifax Maritime Museum is loaded with artifacts of the Titanic tragedy, and that section of the museum is one of the most popular.

Just a couple of weeks ago we watched coverage of what essentially was a disastrous undertaking, where hundreds of Canadians lost their lives at Dieppe.

We visit the sites of Caesar's or Hannibal's victories and defeats.

What is the difference?

It is the passage of time and the historical relevance of those disastrous events that makes the difference in how we judge them.

Nevertheless there is still a strong attraction to more recent events that may have affected people's lives.

In the aftermath of a storm or flood, thousands of people will throng to view the devastating effects, even though many may have been killed on those locations.

People stop to view the damage of a wrangled car wreck on a highway, even if the results were fatal.

The Concordia disaster was a major wake-up call to an industry that needed to take a more penetrating look at its safety standards for granted. Thirty-two lives were lost from what may have been a cavalier attitude by the captain and crew.

Within the cruise industry it marked an historical event. Its magnitude may not be that of the other major battles or disasters we visit on our optional tours.

But notwithstanding the sense of abhorrence we may feel to those who want to peer over the bodies that have not yet been found, this and other events like it represent stark remainders of the fragility of life and the lack of control we sometimes have over the directions they may take.


Forward your travel questions to . Ron Pradinuk is president of Journeys Travel & Leisure SuperCentre and can be heard Sundays at noon on CJOB. Previous columns and tips can be found on or read Ron's travel blog at

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 1, 2012 D5

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