Younger travelers are swapping beaches and beers for action-packed, celebrity-inspired fitness getaways, often with the goal of shooting “welfies” – workout selfies from very cool places. A Activacations Survey shows a whopping 80 percent of 18-35 year olds now consider keeping fit one of the most important parts of their holiday experience, compared to only 66 percent of baby boomers.

The survey details the rise of the activacation, a trend manifesting through a barrage of social media “fitfluencers” who are combining sun, sea and sport and making it all look infectiously fun.  The “welfie” may become the next social media phenom. Young vacationers are now more likely to upload sweaty workout selfies and videos (16 percent) than sexy swimwear shots (10 percent).

Millennial travelers are generally looking for richer, more unusual holiday experiences and admit that they use exercise to meet new people (27 percent) and explore new places from an alternative perspective (32 percent).

Wanting to create unique memories (42 percent) and prove that they’re making the most of their holiday on social media (29 percent) also ranked high in the survey.

Many travelers are happy to give up top-notch food (42 percent), relaxing, (38 percent), sightseeing (32 percent) and even alcohol (24 percent) to get their fitness fix on vacation. Fitness is now ingrained in the holiday experience and demand for superior fitness experiences from hotels is reaching new highs. State-of-the-art fitness facilities (26 percent), personal training (20 percent), healthy menus (25 percent) and free wearable fitness tech (17 percent) all are high up on the wish list for the ideal hotel stay.

While men seek to take part in extreme physical activities on vacation, such as cross-fit (12 percent), beach bootcamp (12 percent) and wakeboarding (16 percent), a quarter (25 percent) of women are opting for holistic wellness holidays with meditation, yoga and tai chi topping the activacation agenda.

The top five activities travelers would be prepared to experience are:

  • Strength and body weight training (69 percent)
  • Mountaineering (45 percent)
  • Personal training (34 percent)
  • HIIT swimming (26 percent)
  • Hot yoga (25 percent)

Top Wellness Hotels for Active Travelers

The Westin Verasa Napa, California 
(from $279 per night)

Thanks to its new Gear Lending Program, guests of The Westin Verasa Napa have access to New Balance shoes and clothing during their stay. Go it alone or have the running concierge take you out through wine country. The gym and pool offer more fitness-focused options and the special SuperFoods Rx menu ensures meals are always healthy.

Ti Sana Detox Retreat & Spa, Milan (from $162 per night)

Perfect for detox, weight management and lifestyle improvement, guests are invited to revitalize and heal in this tranquil environment. Offering a comprehensive approach to wellness, Ti Sana’s signature ‘Healtheatarian’ tailored wellness programs combine organic vegan nutrition, therapeutic physical activity and holistic therapies to ensure guests leave feeling rested and refreshed.

Park Hyatt Tokyo, Tokyo (from $443 per night)

A 47th floor sky-scraping gym! The gymnasium and aerobics studio flank either side of the pool on the sky-lit 47th floor of the hotel, giving jaw-dropping views of the Tokyo cityscape and the sacred slopes of Mt. Fuji. The gym is equipped with LifeFitness weight training and fitness equipment, and personal trainers assist guests and members with tailored fitness programs. Of course, you can always just do some laps too. The pool is amazing.

Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Resort and Spa, Cabo San Lucas (from $461 per night)

Adults-only Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Resort and Spa has a range of daily activities for its guests, including water aerobics, power walks, dance lessons, Pilates and a morning yoga session that takes place right on the beach. If you’re looking for a little relaxation, head to the spa and treat yourself to one of its detoxifying Ayurveda Abhyanga massages.