What to pack for a health retreat holiday

Nikki ParkinsonHealth, How to 42 Comments

Sponsored by Female for Life

Somebody pinch me. In less than a month I’ll be winging my way to Koh Samui, Thailand, to spend the good part of a week at a health retreat.

Absolute Sanctuary to be exact.

Now, the last time (and my first visit) I visited Koh Samui, it was our honeymoon – 10 and a half years ago.

Mr SY is far from impressed that I’m heading back there without him. I keep assuring him that there will be none of the Singa or Chang beer consumption that happened back then but still … KOH SAMUI.

Female for Life active wear

Female for Life Chillax top (black) $78.99 | Bengal pants $99.99

It will be a time to really focus on myself and my wellbeing. A focus that will definitely have me spending quality time in the spa.

I’m so, so grateful for the opportunity.

The trip is all thanks to Female For Life and its incredible Love Your Body Competition.

And I’m excited to announce that one very lucky Styling You reader is coming with Female For Life designer and owner Melanie Becker and I:

Karen Curtin (NSW)

I don’t know about Karen but my thoughts have already turned to what to pack for a health retreat holiday.

Thankfully, knowing that most of my activities will involve yoga classes and exercising means that my suitcase will be filled with Female for Life active wear pieces.

Female for Life active wear

Female for Life Circle Sports top $78.99 | Circle Sports pant $83.99

Acclimatising won’t be so difficult as Queensland has refused to be dragged into this season they supposedly call autumn.

It’s going to be hot and humid. Ridiculously so.

The reason good active wear is worth investing in is that it is made from materials designed to draw the sweat away from your body and keep you cooler.

This is definitely the case for Female for Life active wear.

The other plus is that every piece is super comfortable to wear. The pants hold you in and support without any feeling of discomfort; and the tops vary from fitted to lovely and loose (my favourite as they skim the body).

Female for Life active wear

Female for Life Lovely and Loose top $78.99 | Sunset pants $66.80 (on sale)

My favourite pants for yoga are the recently added digital print pants. They are lighter than my others and make for supreme comfort when it comes to twisting and doing inversions while getting your namaste on at yoga.

I’m also a sucker for fun colours and prints to add personality to your workout wear.

The good news for you is that there is currently 40% off selected styles (plus scroll down for a special offer for SY readers for non-sale items).

Back to the task at hand.

What to pack for a health retreat holiday

What to pack for a health retreat holiday

1. Active wear to suit planned activities. I know I’ll be doing a lot of yoga so I’m taking all my Female for Life printed pants. They are comfortable for this activity and light for the climate. My lovely and loose tops will also take packing priority. I’ll also take some gym gear for walking – most probably in the gym where the humidity will be more to my liking – and my daily personal training session.

I’ll take enough to pretty much do me the whole week but will also take advantage of inexpensive laundering to have it washed during my stay too.

2. Swimwear. Two swimsuits should do the trick. One then will always be dry when needed. I’ll also take at least one sun-safe swim vest. I can also choose to do a training session in the pool – this very much appeals in an attempt to stay cool.

3. Cover-ups. A couple of cotton cover-ups will work for wearing around the resort when not taking part in activities.

5. Hats. A cap will work for any walking activities; a wide-brimmed hat will be ideal beside the pool.

4. Kaftans. A fancy kaftan or three will see me ready for any restaurant evenings. Even if my meal comes with a side of mineral water instead of champagne, I’ll still feel fancy.

5. Flat shoes. I’ve learned from experience on previous resort holidays that the chance of me wearing heels is pretty much non-existent. I may sneak in a pair of wedges though.

6. Key beauty products. This is still my packing downfall. I want all my products and potions with me. But I really need to get realistic. If I’m spending most of my time in active wear, I’m not going need a tonne of makeup. Maybe a little for dinners out but mostly I’ll be harnessing a BB Cream and sunscreen to see me through. I’ll also need lip balm, insect repellent, Arnica gel (for sore muscles), shampoo/conditioner, cleanser and night cream. I’ll also be taking a selection of Twenty8 aromatherapy synergy blends as I rarely travel anywhere without them.

7. An Asian power adaptor. I just take one as I also always take a small power board with me for re-charging all my devices. The adapter plugs into the power board and then into the wall.

8. An open mind. This may not take up any physical space in your luggage but it is an important thing to bring with you on a health retreat escape. I’ve only done weekend health retreats to date but I got a lot out of them as I was open to new experiences, food and conversation with others. I intend to do the same for this week.


Thanks to Female for Life, I’ve got one active wear outfit (one pair of workout pants and one top) to give away. To enter, leave a comment below answering this question:

What’s your number one healthy travel tip?

Entries open Thursday, April 2 at 4.45am (AEST) and close Thursday, April 9 at 5pm (AEST). Australian entries only, sorry. The winner will be judged on originality and creativity (photos can be included and uploaded with the comment). The winner will be emailed and their name will be published here. Entrants must include an email address when the filling in the commenting system below to be eligible to enter. Full terms and conditions here.


There is currently up to 40% off sale items at Female for Life. For the next week, Female for Life is offering SY readers a 15% discount on non-sale items. Enter the code nikkilovesffl at checkout. Offer ends April 9.

Comments 42

  1. Hi Nikki; I was hoping for an announcement while you were in Thailand with the Female for Life people (but I can see how yoga would take priority!). When will this be decided, please?

  2. My number one healthy travel tip:

    *Consider the Connections!* By this I mean three types of connections:
    1 – If you’re travelling with your family, consider how to re-connect with them in this break from the everyday routine. We’re all so busy that we often don’t make enough time to spend with the ones we love the most. Are you travelling to see extended family, or are you travelling with your family? Consider how to strengthen your family connections whilst you travel.
    2 – Re-connect with your ‘self’. Again, everyone is so busy. While we’re busy being mum, partner, wife, career-achiever, carer or whatever else it is that fills our days, it’s easy to lose sight of who we actually are. While you’re travelling, can you re-connect with YOU the artist, the cook, the reader, the dreamer, the musician, the creator?
    3 – Finally consider a different type of connection – the electronics. Consider whether you actually really do need to be in 24-hour contact with the rest of the world. Perhaps use the travel time to disconnect a little, and in the process you might find it easier to re-establish those connections with your family and with your self.

    Sorry for the essay 🙂

  3. My healthy travel tip is to schedule in some rest breaks while away. It is easy to rush around sight seeing and visiting but when you get too tired a lot of your good intentions disappear and it may be difficult to maintain many of your healthy habits. It is about continuing to have a balance.

  4. Ahem, cough, cough. Undies. You forgot to pack undies. What type does one wear under those fab pants? Here is where my struggle begins with all your inspiring suggestions. At the foundation level. Any advice for an old chook with an embarrassing wedgie issue?

  5. Ahem, cough, cough. Undies. You forgot to pack undies. What type does one wear under those fab pants? Here is where my struggle begins with all your inspiring suggestions. At the foundation level. Any advice for an old chook with an embarrassing wedgie issue?

    1. Anna, I saw some sports undies in one of the discount stores the other day (Target? K Mart?). They’re microfibre so they would cling and have stretch, are laser-cut so there are no seams, and have a rubbery strip at the bottom edge to keep them in place. I think I’m going to grab a couple of pairs as they’d be perfect under yoga tights. (I’ve since seen similar at the sports stores for about 3x as much.)

      1. Thank you Tara for the tip. You are very thoughtful. I’ll head out tomorrow and try to find some. Fingers crossed they have some in stock.

      1. Thanks Nikki. There will be participants in my yoga class that will be secretly thanking and sending you good vibes when my half and full wedgies have vanished. Namaste

  6. so lovely! I’m manifesting for myself to celebrate my 40th later this year with a health retreat! Lots of all cotton clothes and workout gear. Bottled water and my sunnies. There will be lots of beach and or pool time.

  7. Compression stockings! I always wear them to prevent both blood clots and cankles on flights, so that you arrive at your destination safe and with svelte ankles. You can buy them from the chemist and Although the stockings are ugly you could hide them under a pair of Female for Life’s loungewear pants!

  8. My number one tip (well realluy just my fave way to start a vacation) is to get out and go swimming if it is hot or just walk around if it is cold. A bit of exercise does wonders for helping you adjust to the timezone and feel a bit normal again!

  9. Drinking lots of clean water is critical but please, all of us need to look for sources to refill bottles with clean water rather than buying more and more plastic bottles. Plastic waste is an horrific problem in Asia and our iceans.Ask your accommodation house to refill your bottle from a clean source. Pressure them to provide such a source.

  10. My healthy travel tip is to ALWAYS AVOID ICE. Make sure that you are really certain before drinking from anything. Just because the water is bottled, doesn’t mean the ice has been made safely!

  11. My healthy travel tip is to drink loads of water. On the plane, when you’re sight seeing, and always before a night out. I also carry hydralite tablets. They help for hangovers and dehydration. 🙂

  12. My health travel tip is to only drink bottled water. A holiday without any type of virus is the holiday I want! Have a ball in Thailand Nikki. What an amazing opportunity! Off to check out the range at FFL now …

  13. Hi Nikki – my tip for a healthy travel tip … Is to forgive and be gentle on yourself for the indulgences you will probably make … And remember to enjoy and smile about the experiences knowing that soon enough you’ll be back to your normal routines and restrictions you have in place. It’s all a matter of perspective – enjoy your retreat ladies – I will too, vicariously through your IG pics 🙂

  14. Start loading up with water 24 hours before you fly and of course in flight as well (that way you can have a glass of bubbles if you wish but still stay hydrated). To improve your body’s take up of hydration put some drops of Australian Bush Flower Essences’ She Oak essence in your water. Use it before the flight, in flight and on the ground (particularly as you will be working out in a hot climate).

  15. My tip is to always take your medicines with you and some antibiotics and some anti nausea tablets and of course a letter from your Dr for customs,nothing worse than getting sick while travelling.
    Congratulations Karen,Nikki have a wonderful healthy healing relaxing time Xx

  16. My tip is to travel with a water bottle which has a built-in filter, pack for the climate and simply enjoy the experience. Open mind – open heart!

  17. I have two tips:
    1. turn off your phone, laptop and any other electronics and put them in your room safe until you are leaving. This trip is about you
    2. Wean off caffeine before you go to a health resort. Not all have caffeine and it’s hard to get the most out of a health trip with caffeine withdrawal migranes

  18. Enjoy Nikki!! What a treat, I always buy a huge pack of water when staying at hotels so I remember to drink and travel with a rose water facial must to help keep my skin fresh x

  19. Pack your Female For Life gear, your comfy trainers and if that Buddha statue is at the top of 200+ steps, climb it!! It’s incidental exercise like this that allows you to try that yummy food at the local markets!

  20. you are looking trim, taught and terrific already nikki!
    just imagine after the retreat! … lots of om and it will be gorgeous!
    haven’t been to Thailand but have been to enough Asian destinations to know how hot and humid it gets! … brissy has nothing on them!
    h2o is the go! enjoy your day hun! love m:)X

  21. It has always been bottled water but dosing up on the acidophillus and continuing taking them throughout my trip is my number one healthy tip no matter where I go. A healthy gut is top priority for a good trip.

  22. My top tips for a healthy getaway is to breathe deeply and take it all in and relaxxxxx , long walks (or swimming) at the beach or discovering new places keeps you active, eat delicious fresh local fruit and veg (with bottled water of course) and a great nights sleep after a day of adventure x

  23. I try to walk everywhere, that way if I indulge in a local delicacy, at least I know the walking will help balance it out.

  24. Opt for water on the plane and not the glass of bubbles you really want. And drink plenty of it to stay hydrated and you’ll arrive looking fab instead of drab.

  25. My tip – drink a truck load of bottled water! I love Thailand, and the thought of a health retreat there, so amazing. Have a wonderful trip, and congratulations Karen!

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