Last winter, I did something amazing: I took a me-vacation! As in,Â I took a week off work, said goodbye to my husband, even ditched my kids. I grabbed a girlfriend and we took off on a fitness adventure. Our choice vacation was a week in the mountains, upping our game on the ski slope (see Elevate Womenâs Ski Camp, below). But it really didnât matter what we were doingâ¦it just mattered that we did it. Why? Because far too often, as women, we take time for everything but ourselves. We work hard, we do things for our kids, our husband, even our kidsâ schools or our favorite charity. But the idea of getting away from it allÂ to reconnect with ourÂ bodies and mindsÂ is almost foreign. The result of my trip was extraordinary. I came home feeling energized, focused,Â and more engaged in my life. Considering your own me-cation? Check out theseÂ adventures,Â all for women, that could change your life:
For the adventure junkie...
This week-long women's ski campÂ gives you the ultimate sense of adventure and empowerment, pushingÂ you doÂ things you wouldnât otherwise accomplishÂ on the mountain. First, youÂ get teamed upÂ in groups of 5-7 like-skiers to work with yourÂ own instructor, as well as world famous pros (like the amazing Jess McMillan) for individualized instruction. Â You blow pastÂ limits, ski all types of terrain, and get filmed on the runs so that you can benefit from expert analysis. Â Whatever level skier you are going in, you will improve by at least a category by the end of the week. And because this is âcamp,â the sessionÂ ends with a hilarious awards banquet filled with ski videos from the week, and roasts of the âcounselorsâ (aka the ski coaches). Â Great lodging available at Teton Mountain Lodge and Spa and Hotel Terra.
Price: from $1325 for camp only
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For people who want to "check out"...
Nestled in the mountains of San Marcos, California, this is whereÂ youÂ comeÂ toÂ unplug and get in touch with you. It's an intimate 7-day retreat designedÂ for womenÂ (there areÂ a few men-only and co-ed weeks sprinkled Â throughout the year). Â YouÂ design yourÂ own program, which can be as fitness-focused or relaxing as you wish.Â Choose fromÂ 7 state-of-the-art gyms, 12 mountain or meadow hikes, 2 pools, mediation classes, cardio and strength classes, yoga, pilates, and world-classÂ spa offerings. All treatments, private accommodations, food (clean, sustainable, and delicious), and fitness are included in the price. Just donât keepÂ your iPhoneÂ on you. Although the rooms have wi-fi, the idea is to check outâso cell phones are off-limitsÂ in common areas. But donât worry, you will be too busy bonding and getting balancedÂ to miss your Twitter feed.
Price: from $8850 inclusive for 7 days
For the sporty beach bum...
Itâs no surprise that these surf andÂ yoga retreats draw inspiration from the Costa Rican phrase âpura vidaââwhich loosely translates to âenjoy lifeââbecause that is what anyone who visitsÂ thisÂ gorgeous getaway for a week does. Come alone or bring a friend to be part of a like-minded community of only ten women for 7 days and six nights. While Pura Vida, in the village of Malpais,Â alternates between surfing-focused and yoga-centricÂ weeks, itâs their surf camps that are truly signature. The instruction is hands onâfor beginners through advanced surfersâand the instructors interact with the âcampersâ beyond just lesson time. The price includes 6 nights of lodging (with either private or shared rooms and bathrooms), daily surf instruction, sunset surf sessions, daily yoga, three gourmet meals a day, a massage, surf equipment, and day trips. Barefoot paradise, found.
Price: from $2250 and up
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For anyone who wants to get "Wild"...
Inspired by the Cheryl Strayed memoir,Â Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest TrailÂ ($9.48, Amazon.com) and the upcoming Reese WitherspoonÂ movieÂ Wild, theÂ Wild About Mount Hood package lets you have your ownÂ transformative journey through a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail. That means youÂ hike the trail near Mount HoodÂ in central OregonÂ with a guideâand stay in the resort where theÂ film's castÂ bunkedÂ while making the movie. Not uber-fit? No worries! The Nature Concierge will help youÂ create anÂ outing that fits your fitness level. But itâs not all work: The trip also includes goodies like a Swedish massage for two, two signature cocktails, and the knowledge that you're helping to preserve the trail (10% of the package price will be donated to the Pacific Crest Trail Association).
Price: $279 per night for the all-inclusive package (enter promo code Wild)
For the fitness lover with a flair for the exotic...
These luxury fitness trips are like aÂ traveling global spa, transporting you to exotic locations aroundÂ the world and offering luxeÂ accommodations, top-notch fitness classes, and a taste of another culture all at once. Pick from dozens of amazing trips; locations change throughout the year and have ranged from Laos to Mexico, Japan to Indonesia. The cuisine, fitness regimes, accommodations and spa treatments reflect the culture of the region you're in. Think African dance lessons in Cape Town, South Africa; horseback riding through vineyards in Colonia, Uruguay; yoga in Bali. Itâs the perfect combination of work out, culture, amazingÂ food,Â and downtime. Next adventure up? Luang Prabang, Laos and Angkor Wat, Cambodia in February 2015! All you have to do is sign up, and get ready for a seriousÂ adventure.
Price: From $3800 and up per week, depending on the location