Unplugged: Burnout Breaks & More Wellness Travel Trends for 2024

by Editor
Published: Updated:

What’s on the horizon in the world of wellness retreats and travel for your wellbeing in 2024? Sharing new data with insights from Hector Hughes, a leading wellness expert, entrepreneur, and co-founder of Unplugged, the UK’s first digital detox escape.

Trend #1: A Rise in Solo Travel Breaks

Unplugged has recorded an increase in solo travel, where guests will go on a digital detox alone. Solo travel or “solo dates” have numerous advantages, including increased confidence, independence, and self-exploration. Solo travel also allows people to embrace boredom and solitude, which is excellent for creativity, new ideas, and improved cognitive function.

The Unplugged Data:

Unplugged has recorded a 54% increase in solo travellers booking escapes in the last three months (compared to the previous three months). The most popular months to book a solo escape are June and October, beginning each new season. 67% of Unplugged solo travellers are female, which has also increased. 

Says Hector Hughes:

Solo travel, paired with going offline, is a challenge. Guests know it’s incredible for their wellbeing, but it’s still quite daunting. That’s why we hold calls with all our solo guests before they stay to ease any nerves and help them plan their trip. After their stay they tell us they feel refreshed and recharged with a sense of accomplishment. If you can do 3 days off-grid in your own company, you can do anything! The digital detox element also gives guests a talking point when they’re exploring the local area and lots of solo travellers tend to meet other like-minded individuals whilst they’re away. 

Trend #2: Burnout Breaks / Digital Detox

Burnout is rife and has become commonplace in the workplace, mainly caused by workplace stress. Exhaustion, lack of motivation, feelings of negativity, depersonalization, lower productivity, and burnout are also associated with too much screen time.

Many workers admit to checking work emails for at least 1 hour a day while on holiday, meaning they struggle to beat burnout even when on vacation. To combat this, more people are exploring travel and wellness breaks and digital detoxes for 2024. According to Unplugged, 54% of guests cite ‘burnout’ and ‘work stress’ as their key reason to stay with them.

The Unplugged Data: 

  • 54% of guests cite burnout and work stress as their key reason to stay at Unplugged 
  • 45% mention high screen time, scrolling or social media as a motivator
  • 20% mention wanting to spend quality time with their partner or by themselves.
  • Global search interest for “digital detox retreat” has increased by 50% in the past year.

With more than 50% of our guests stating burnout as a motivation to escape, it’s clear that work stresses and the need to be ‘always on’ is pushing people to look for solutions such as a digital detox. We provide a space for people to intentionally go offline and spend time in nature, which is an antidote to stress. Of course people can implement better habits at home, but intentionally going off-grid removes the temptations to check work emails, or scroll on social media. 83% of our guests plan on implementing better digital habits after their detox, such as setting screen time limits or having a phone free evening once a week.

– Hector Hughes

Trend #3: Travel for People Not Places / Social Wellness / Running Retreats 

A growing number of wellness and mainstream travellers are looking for experiences that connect them with people rather than just places in 2024. This includes visiting friends and family, volunteering, running/fitness retreats, or going somewhere remote with their partner or best friend to reconnect.

People want to socialize in a more wholesome environment, so instead of going to the pub on a Friday night, more are engaging in fitness as a social activity to meet like-minded individuals. Unplugged has noticed a rise in running clubs within the industry, with more guests asking for run routes near Unplugged cabins. More are partaking in social fitness to meet like-minded individuals.

The Unplugged Data: 

  • Companies such as GymShark, Pure Sport, and Hoka are hosting regular runs across the city
  • Global search interest for “volunteer travel” has increased by 40% in the past year.
  • Global search interest for “cultural experiences” has increased by 50% in the past year.
  • Global search interest for “yoga retreats” has increased by 50% in the past year.

Trend #4: Train Travel / Eco Travel 

Travellers are becoming more aware of the environmental impact of their travel choices and are looking for ways to minimize their impact. People are looking for more eco-friendly hotels and are more aware of their carbon impact by travelling to their destinations. “Train Travel” is rising, with 36% of people planning to fly less this year. 

The Unplugged Data:

  • 33% of Unplugged’s guests plan to travel to the cabins by public transport 
  • Global search interest for “sustainable travel” has increased by 60% in the past year.
  • Global search interest for “eco-friendly hotels” has increased by 50% in the past year.

A study by Booking.com in 2023 found that 83% of travellers are interested in sustainable travel, and 61% are willing to pay more for sustainable accommodations and activities. Research from McKinsey highlights that 36 percent of travellers plan to fly less.

Hector Hughes, co-founder at Unplugged, says:

Sustainability is at the heart of our business. All our cabins run off solar power and are accessible by public transport within 1-2 hours of major UK cities. It’s not only important to our guests, but crucial to be more environmentally aware as a business.

Trend #5: Wellness Travel / Employee Wellness Travel

Here’s a trend that isn’t going away anytime soon. Travellers are increasingly interested in wellness and are looking for destinations and activities that can help them improve their physical and mental health. Whether it’s to improve their sleep or escape on a yoga retreat, people are still motivated to spend their time and money improving themselves.

Unplugged has noticed more employees going off-grid to beat burnout and has multiple companies signed up for their corporate employee wellness program, allowing these businesses to offer digital detoxes to their employees. This is a 70% utilization of the wellbeing benefits (compared to an average of 17% utilization for other wellbeing benefits).

Businesses are beginning to recognize the importance of wellbeing for their employees to perform to their full potential, so they are spending more time and resources on new techniques to support them. 

The Unplugged Data:

  • Unplugged has enrolled 130 employees from 14 companies that offer digital detoxes as part of their benefits. 
  • Global search interest for “wellness travel” has increased by 40% in the past year.
  • Global search interest for “yoga retreats” have increased by 50% in the past year. 

An improvement in employee wellbeing benefit has never been more important. With burnout, stress and screen time on the rise, it’s crucial that businesses look after their employees outside of simply offering a subscription to a platform. Unplugged Out Of Office has incredible companies that offer digital detoxes to their team. Upon return, employees state they feel more refreshed, energized, and motivated to go back to work.

All images courtesy Unplugged – Digital Detox Cabins

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