The 16 Best Wellness Retreat Travel Essentials

As both a health and travel writer, there are few places I feel more in my element than at the intersection of these two worlds. One such junction is a wellness retreat. I’ve been lucky enough to attend them all over the world — ranging from fitness workshops to immersive health experiences — and my favorites as of late have included the “optimal well-being program” at Sensei Lanai, a wellness weekend at Alisal Ranch in Santa Barbara, and a Y7 yoga retreat at The Body Holiday in St. Lucia. Needless to say: I’ve got my packing list down to a science for these types of trips.

While a wellness retreat could take you anywhere in the world, from tropical locales to secluded mountain towns, there are key items I’d recommend packing regardless of the destination and the itinerary. Here, I’ve narrowed down a list of the comfy clothing, versatile shoes, and useful accessories you’ll need for any well-being-centric trip on your schedule this summer and beyond. It’s also worth noting that I’m a carry-on-only traveler, and these picks cover all of the bases without hogging up precious luggage space. 

Vuori DreamKnit Performance Joggers


I pretty much pack these buttery-soft joggers for any trip I take — and a wellness retreat is no exception. Whether you’re headed for a cool or balmy climate, these lightweight yet cozy sweats will undoubtedly come in handy. I love wearing them on my actual travel day and during any lounge time on the itinerary. Plus, the performance fabric is suited for any activity, so they’ll be perfect for an outdoor yoga sesh on a brisk morning or a sunset sound bath.

Pro tip: Opt for clothes in the same earth tone color family. Not only are those hues visually soothing, but this strategy makes it easier to mix, match, and streamline your packing. Luckily, these Vuori joggers are available in 18 gorgeous options. 

Athleta Elation Ultra High-rise Tights


For a wellness retreat, you truly can’t pack too many leggings. My current favorite pair for yoga, Pilates, and other low-impact workouts is the Athleta Elation Tights. These leggings are luxuriously soft to the touch and offer the kind of compression that feels like an encouraging hug. Complete the set with the matching sports bra, which features a gorgeous criss-cross back and an ideal level of support; it can also double as a workout top if you’re pressed for luggage space. 

Cupshe Twist-front High-waisted Bikini Set


No matter where you’re headed on your well-being escape — a beachy resort, a lakeside cabin, or simply a hotel with a pool — you’ll likely need a swimsuit. I love this bikini set from Cupshe because it’s not only cute, but it’s also supportive enough for something more active like paddleboarding or aqua aerobics (hey, it’s a great workout). Plus, it comes in 31 different colors so you can absolutely find one to suit your style. 

Hydroflask 24-ounce Stainless Steel Standard Water Mouth Bottle


Hydration is essential to your overall health, and you’re going to want to drink extra water if you’re visiting a warm climate or working out regularly. That’s why I always recommend bringing a refillable water bottle to any wellness retreat. Personally, I’m a Hydroflask loyalist, and I particularly like the standard 24-ounce size for travel; it fits perfectly into the side pocket of my backpack, and it’s not too cumbersome to carry on hikes or around the resort. 

G4Free UPF 50+ Long-sleeve Workout Sun Shirt


I’m all for soaking up that health-supporting vitamin D while you’re on a wellness retreat, but it’s equally important to protect your skin from the elements if your itinerary calls for ample outdoor time. That’s where a UPF shirt like this one can come in handy. Toss this on before you head out for a day on the water or a long hike. Plus, while we’re talking about sun protection, I’d be remiss not to mention eye protection as well. I highly recommend investing in a high-quality, polarized pair of sunnies before your trip. One of my personal favorites is the Costa Del Mar Waterwoman 2 Square Sunglasses, which are literally designed to help you see better. 

Janji Pace Shorts


I am absolutely obsessed with these shorts (I own four pairs, and I’m tempted to add more to my collection whenever a new color is released). I’ve worn them on multiple retreats, during yoga classes in St. Lucia, and hikes in Hawaii, and I swear by them. They’re perfect for warmer climates, with just the right length to feel breezy, but not overly exposed. Plus, they miraculously stay put through every downward-facing dog and steep mountain climb. 

Allbirds Women’s Tree Dasher Sneakers


As someone who only travels with a carry-on if possible, I’m all for a pair of shoes that work for various parts of my itinerary, which is why my Allbirds Tree Dashers are always on my packing list. They’re great lifestyle shoes for casual walks and also deliver as running shoes. And don’t forget about performance socks to go with those multifunctional kicks; I’m a big fan of the Swiftwick Aspire socks, and right now you can snag a pack of three at Amazon. 

Chaco Women’s Z/1 Classic Sandals


Headed for a warm destination or simply plan to pad around the pool during your stay? You’ll need a solid pair of sandals. These classic Chacos feature durable, water-resistant soles with plenty of grip, which makes them sturdy enough for a light hike. Not to mention, they’re incredibly comfortable and I’ve worn mine for miles without experiencing any pain or blisters. Seriously, if I could only pack two pairs of shoes for my wellness retreat, these sandals would be top of my list. 

FP Movement Hot Shot Jumpsuit


During a wellness retreat, effortless clothes are the name of the game. When you’re not in head-to-toe activewear, it’s nice to have something in your suitcase that you can easily throw on, like this breezy jumpsuit. I honestly live in this FP Movement onesie during the summer and can confirm it’s just as comfy as it looks. Plus, it makes for a great swimsuit cover-up. Not keen on the price tag? You can also find a similar style at Amazon for a fraction of the cost.

Anrabess Linen Palazzo Beach Pants


While I spend most hours of a wellness retreat dressed in workout clothes, it’s also great to pack some easy yet chic pieces for dinners or any excursions. These linen pants are the perfect summer staple; wear them over your swimsuit or dress them up with some fun jewelry and a cute bag. Trust me, you’ll get so much use out of them, no matter your wellness retreat itinerary. 

Dissh Capri White Linen Sheer Maxi Dress


A beachy maxi dress also serves as the perfect versatile wellness retreat outfit. I’ve been obsessed with the Australian fashion brand Dissh since I randomly stumbled across it on Instagram in 2020. I’ve ordered various pieces from the brand, but, in my opinion, its linen pieces are the true highlights. For me, it’s this maxi linen dress that has a classy resortwear vibe, but it’s still casual enough to wear during any time of day. But, for a much lower price point, you can snag this maxi dress from Amazon-loved brand Wolddress to achieve the same look.

Lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag


There’s a reason this belt bag is consistently sold out: it’s that good. I’ve had mine for years now. and it’s still in perfect condition (thank you, ripstop fabric). This popular bag has held up through countless hikes, errands, and, yes, wellness retreats. I’m constantly amazed by how much I can fit in this seemingly petite pack: snacks, headphones, my phone, and more (seriously, it’s like a mini Mary Poppins bag). 

Vacation Mineral Lotion Sunscreen


Again, we’re on a wellness retreat because we want to prioritize our health — and that includes skin health! I love this mineral sunscreen from Vacation because it’s lightweight and doesn’t leave a pesky white cast. 

Vuori Canyon Insulated Shirt


Even if you’re headed to a warm-weather spot, I generally recommend packing at least one jacket, especially if you’re visiting somewhere near the water (just in case the temps drop at night). This insulated shirt from Vuori is one of my go-tos with its lightweight yet warm construction and the earthy colorway that goes with everything. Prefer something a bit cozier? You can’t go wrong with this Kari Traa Rothe Fleece.  

Manduka Eko Superlite Travel Yoga Mat


Most wellness retreat spaces will provide you with a workout mat, but if you prefer to pack your own gear, might I suggest this Manduka travel mat? The Eko Superlite Mat is designed for on-the-go with its incredibly thin design (it’s only (1.5 millimeters thick), to be exact)that takes up virtually no space in your luggage.

MZ Wallace Metro Tote


Okay, now that you have your packing list, you’ll need somewhere to put all these essentials. I’m a big fan of MZ Wallace bags, which are equal parts stylish and functional. The classic Metro Tote, for instance, fits a shocking volume of clothes and gear, making it perfect to bring on a weekend getaway. Or, if you’re headed for a longer wellness trip, this bag makes for the perfect carry-on tote, with plenty of room for your sunnies, toiletries, and paperback. However, if a more modestly-priced alternative is what you’re after, I’d recommend this washable, quilted Bagsmart bag that’s $36.

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