Obviously, if you are going to a luxury resort, they are going to have a spa.
That’s a no-brainer.
But the answer is not as obvious if you are creating your own itinerary for a road trip or are going to be in a rural area.
Speaking purely about travel within the United States, when I am looking for a relaxing health experience I have a few go-to tactics I explore.
- Look on message boards at coffeehouses, yoga centers, health food stores, health clubs or any place that health oriented people gather.
The last time I found a massage this way, I wasn’t even looking for bodywork, but I was so drawn in by an ad on a board in Cottonwood, Arizona, that I had to call. Not only did she do great work, but she also sold wonderful moisturizer products that I ended up loving and buying to take home with me.
Additionally, even the most rural towns have some sort of gathering place for people who want to stay healthy. My cousin found such a place in a teeny-tiny town in Southern Illinois, and I can guarantee they had a message board with at least one massage therapist posted to it.
The upside to this is you can zero in on a lot of options, especially in bigger cities.
The problem is that these sites often won’t help you find a massage in smaller towns, and if you are in a bigger city where you don’t know your way around, you may need to trek into areas that are hard to get to or that are not as safe as the mainstream tourist areas.
- Massage schools
This is one of my favorite choices and I often am very willing to go out of my way in order to get to a massage school. They usually don’t offer eucalyptus steam rooms or cucumber slices over the eyes, but 9 out of 10 times you can get a great massage from someone who is very enthusiastic at what they are doing for a great price.
I was a professional massage therapist many years ago and massage schools were my go-to place when I needed a massage.
- Ask at the Nearest Hotel Front Desk
He or she should be able to guide you well.
And if you are staying in a small town or a lower-end motel, the front desk will at least be able to guide you toward the right resource and tell you where NOT to go or what areas of the city to avoid.
I have found many out-call massage therapists this way, especially in ski resorts.
- Do That Home Spa Thing
Well, you’re not at home, but you can still create a nice, relaxing atmosphere in your hotel room.
Obviously, this isn’t my first choice when I’m looking for some therapeutic bodywork, but if I have been sightseeing all day or am fatigued from carrying my day-pack all day, a little self-pampering in the hotel might be exactly what I need.
Here are some ideas… (not in any particular order)
- Draw a hot bath for yourself.
- Or even better, draw a hot bath and once your body is warmed up, stand up and shower in cold water, then warm the bath water up again and get back in… Instant Hydrotherapy Session.
- Give your feet a massage with the complimentary lotion.
- Steam your face over the sink by running the hot water and draping a towel over your head to catch the steam.
- Massage face cream on your face and place a hot washcloth over it to open the pores and let in the moisturizer.
- Dry exfoliate your skin before your shower by rubbing your body vigorously from head to toe with one of the hotel towels.
Do you compulsively look for a spa or massage place everywhere you travel?
What are your most successful tactics?