When you’re planning a yoga retreat abroad, it’s important to consider how much travel time your students will need to endure to make it to your destination. Not only do the distances affect transportation costs, but also time your students have taken off of work or their normal schedule to attend your retreat. If a student has to travel 20 hours each way for just a 5-day retreat, they may not feel like the travel time is worth the experience.
They may also be concerned about the actual travel experience and flights, especially if the retreat is in a country they’ve never been too. Remember, not everyone is as adventurous as you so support them any way you can.
If you’re organizing a retreat abroad, you want to choose a destination both based on the quality of the destination as well as how easily your students can reach it. This often includes looking at international, something that people tend to worry about international flights since they’re long, often uncomfortable and usually require extra paperwork or planning, like securing visas.
To make it easier on your students, research the best possible flight routes and rates from areas your students will be traveling from to the retreat destination and schedule your retreat accordingly – you don’t want your welcome dinner to start hours after everyone will be getting in or force people to arrive an extra day early if the retreat kicks off at a time before many international flights have arrived for the day
When considering a large number of people flying and possible times or routes, it’s helpful to work with a travel agent in order to secure attractive group rates for the best airlines and connections. (This works best if everyone is traveling from a specific city.) A travel agent can also offer travel and trip cancellation insurance so your students need not worry about worst case scenarios.
Bonus tip: Once you have some flights nailed down, the promise of nabbing these already-reserved “VIP” seat selections adds incentive for students to book early.
Making Travel Time Fun
No one enjoys long travel days. Instead of presenting travel as a chore, spin it as part of the journey.
If you’re traveling as a group, you can even kick off the retreat from the departure airport! Plan to meet early before the flight for group introductions and some easy stretching. This reassures those who might be scared of traveling alone while strengthening the group bonding experience from the get go.
Furthermore, airports these days have all kinds of awesome amenities to keep you entertained while in transit, from yoga rooms to aquariums, sleeping pods to spas, and, of course, shopping. Highlight what fun things your group can experience while traveling to the retreat destination and they’ll follow you anywhere!
Finally, keep in mind that some more independent travellers will want to extend their trip after your retreat, so offer some exciting onward travel suggestions. This will require a little extra research on your part, but show added value to your students as you help make their experience easier and more enjoyable. You can make suggestions and offer guidance one-on-one if students ask for recommendations or, as part of your marketing plan to get students to sign up, share some more details on Facebook, in an email to interested students, or in a blog post.
For instance, following their yoga retreat in northern Thailand, Thailand Yoga Holidays guests often head to the country’s southern islands for a few days of sea and sun before returning home. While we don’t help book their onward travel, we’re more than happy to make suggestions about airlines, destinations, accommodation we like and activities we’ve tried ourselves so they have the best experience possible.
Bottom line – when it comes to traveling to and from your retreat, make it as easy as possible for your students by doing the research and initial planning so they don’t have to. They’ll certainly appreciate it and it will reflect well on your overall retreat offering as a whole!
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