Meditation is an ancient spiritual practice involving quiet reflection and mental discipline. If you've ever dreamed of getting in touch with your inner self, taming your mind of its negative thoughts, or spending time in quiet contemplation, a meditation trip could be right for you.
Different types of meditation tours will appeal to different people. Maybe you're new to meditation, but are eager to learn as part of a wellness journey or an exploration of a country or culture that fascinates you. Maybe you've tried meditation at home and are searching for a way to deepen your practice. Regardless of your level of meditation experience, there's a meditation tour that's right for you.
From Zen temples in Kyoto to ashrams in the Himalayas to retreat centers on the Riviera Maya, the world is full of beautiful places where you can travel to quiet your mind and find yourself.
Japan features ample opportunities for travelers to experience Zen meditation. From intensive multi-day silent meditation retreats to tours that intersperse meditation with visits to Japan’s many beautiful temples and historic sites, there are meditation trips here designed to satisfy every traveler’s needs. Spring and autumn are the best times to visit Japan.
Nepal is one of the best places to travel for meditation tours. Spend a week in an ashram learning meditation techniques from Buddhist monks, or alternate meditation days in temples with hikes through the Himalayas. The best time to visit Nepal is in the autumn, when the weather is warm and the air is dry.
Though Mexico might not be your first thought when planning a meditation trip, the country features numerous meditation centers. Many meditation centers are located on or near the beautiful beaches of the Riviera Maya, giving you opportunities to alternate meditation sessions with long walks on the beach. Mexico is a popular destination year-round, but most travelers prefer to go there in the winter when the warm temperatures provide a welcome escape from colder climes.
Thailand's beautiful temples and Buddhist culture make it another excellent place to explore meditation. Its many retreat centers offer meditation trips that frequently include yoga practice as well-- perfect for combining physical, mental, and spiritual practice. The best time to visit Thailand is during the dry season, from December to March.
What to Look for in a Meditation Tour
When planning a meditation trip, think about how what percentage of your time you’d like to spend in meditation versus other activities. A one week meditation retreat can consist almost entirely of silent meditation sessions, or it can feature a few hours of meditation per day accompanied by other activities.
Some tours take place at a single retreat center, while others can involve, multiple temples, ashrams or retreat centers. Some meditation retreats are very basic, with simple food and accommodations, while others give you luxurious surroundings. Be clear on what you’re looking for in your meditation trip, and look for an itinerary and setting that meets your needs.
Average Spiritual Trip Length & Cost
Meditation tours can vary in length, from one weekend to one week. A one-week meditation trip can cost between $700 and $2,000, depending on the location and the types of amenities and additional activities included.
For a meditation tour, you’ll want to pack comfortable clothing (yoga clothing or similar) that you will be comfortable sitting in for the duration of a meditation session.
If your meditation tour incorporates visits to shrines and temples, make sure you bring clothing that adheres to the temple dress codes (ask your guide about these in advance).
If your meditation tour includes hiking, you’ll want to bring hiking clothes and boots.
As you would when planning any other type of trip. make sure when preparing for a meditation trip that you check the visa and immunization requirements for your destination.
Qualification & Training
You don’t need any specific background to take a meditation trip, but you should tailor your trip to your level of meditation experience. If you’ve never meditated in your life, you’ll probably want a tour that combines meditation with other activities. If you already have a strong meditation practice, a longer, silent meditation retreat might be more your style.
Meditation doesn’t have specific risks associated with it, but if you’re not used to sitting for long periods of time you may find yourself feeling stiff after meditation sessions.
If your meditation tour incorporates hiking or visits to temples, you may wish to ask your guide in advance about the type of terrain being covered, and choose your shoes and accordingly to prevent accidental slips and falls.
When planning a meditation tour, you should take the same safety precautions that you would for any other type of international vacation. Make sure that your passport, visa, and immunizations are in order, and check for State Department travel advisories to your destination before you depart.