Taking a Blue Zone Vacation for extra years? Maybe. But there’s an easier way.

Some travel trends are predictable. Others are the ones you’ve heard about, but maybe not paid much attention to. Then they’re in a magazine or on a streaming platform. One such is a fascination for the Blue Zones – locations in the world where life expectancy is higher than average, and where there are consistently more centenarians. Now, partly on the back of greater publicity, Blue Zone tourism is a growing favorite.

What are Blue Zones?

“Blue Zones” was a term coined by Dan Buettner to identify 5 places where people typically live longer with less disease. These were the island of Ikaria, Greece; Loma Linda, California; two eastern provinces of Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; and Costa Rica’s Nicoya peninsula.

These places are all unique, but many things are alike. Diets are low in meat, and beans are eaten frequently, with a lot of home-grown vegetables. There’s plenty of exercise, but it’s generally low intensity and naturally included in routines – walking, gardening (tending those vegetables), and housework. Everything is done in moderation. And there’s a strong community. Family and friends remain hugely important. Social engagement (for many, including the practice of a religious faith) is fundamental to life.

A little bit of Blue Zone Magic

We’d all like to live a bit longer. So, the popularity of wanting to learn how, via a Blue Zone vacation, isn’t surprising. Writing recently for Condé Nast Traveler, Jen Murphy provides a deep dive into Blue Zone characteristics and the way that tourism to these areas is flourishing.

The suggestion is, that by visiting these locations, and observing their lifestyles, we can import their benefits to our own lives. There’s probably some truth in this. However, that does ignore the reality that Blue Zones residents have been applying their “magic” all their lives. But faced with the alternative, something is always better than nothing; there’s much to be recommended in a vegetable-rich diet, strong social connections and regular gentle exercise.

Practical Applications of Age-old Wisdom

One common thread of Blue Zone living is the lack of many of the stresses induced by “modern” civilization. This is more important than it appears. After all, we all recognise the damage caused by stressful jobs and the pressures of achieving well.

So, while a visit to a Blue Zone may provide deep insights and a “fix,” maybe a more accessible answer lies it dealing with stress generally. And what better place to start than with the modern answer to stress, a vacation?

Stress-free Vacations Start at Home

How does a stress-free break begin? Usually with being organized before traveling. So, prepare the checklist: passport, travel advisories, medications, guidebooks, advanced booking, suitable clothing, maybe organising pet sitters. And travel money.

Deciding how to pay for in-destination expenses is crucial to reducing stress later. For some transactions, cards will be ok, but cash is invaluable. For the best (stress-free) experience, get this in advance. The wise will look for an option that provides online convenience, with click & collect to avoid waiting. Such an offering already exists. It’s called Money 4 Travel. It’s a white label service that’s a perfect fit for Credit Unions with their strong customer service ethos and community ties. Money 4 Travel fits seamlessly into existing systems and streamlines everything from customer purchase, through ordering currency, to in-branch collection. Everything, in fact, that cuts out the hassle – everything to help that vacation be the stress-buster it’s meant to be!


By Declan Morton, staff writer at Money 4 Travel and Essiell Ltd.


For reference

Will travelling to a Blue Zone help you live longer? (How travel to a Blue Zone could impact your life), Jen Murphy, Condé Nast Traveler, February 25, 2024

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