Babymoon, minimoon, buddymoon, mancation, gaycation, flocation, staycation, weighcation — every month, the travel industry invents a new buzzword to convince people to travel (and spend) more. “Nakations” are the latest trend. While the idea of taking a clothing-optional vacation is nothing new, its entry into the mainstream consciousness is. If you’ve never considered taking such a vacation before, here are a few good reasons why you should.
Contrary to popular American misconceptions, clothing-optional resorts are rarely the Eyes Wide Shut-style masquerade orgy scenes you expect. They’re not overrun by perverts, weird old people, or nudity-obsessed degenerates. There’s a reason they’re called “clothing optional” and most guarantee segregated “nude” and “prude” sections. There are those of the hedonistic variety like the Caribbean’s aptly named Hedonism. Here, you’re likely to find the stereotypical nakation — naked couples getting freaky in every corner of the resort, sex-hungry swingers, and exhibitionist singles looking to hook up with same. However, most clothing-optional resorts are far more laid-back and, in some cases, even family-friendly.
Since you’re reading this post, we’ll assume you’re not already part of the nudist community. For anyone who’s never done it before, taking a nakation is likely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Whether you like it or not, it’ll open your mind to an entirely new subculture and a new way of living. It’s also the sort of niche vacation that attracts other open-minded and often very interesting travelers.
Mary Jane Kolassa, a representative of the American Association of Nude Recreation (we promise the AANR is a real organization), claims that nakations are one of the fastest-growing travel segments. While she has a vested interest in saying so, a 2003 Forbes article confirmed nude vacationing was then a $400-million industry annually. By conservative estimates, that number has since grown to more than $500 million, thanks in large part to Millennials who see it as a raw form of escapism. This generation is looking toward minimalism in their daily lives (valuing experiences over “stuff”), their online activity (spending less time on social media), and in their travels (like appreciating the purity and simplicity of a clothing-optional getaway).
Most of us experienced that purity and simplicity at some point during our misspent youths in the form of skinny dipping with a group of friends. We felt the titillation of being naked and exposed in front of strangers. Travel psychologist Dr. Michael Brein confirms it can be a liberating, even transformative experience:
“There’s something about nakedness and nudity that draws us back to our roots of sorts. It doesn’t get more basic than that.”
“There’s something about nakedness and nudity that draws us back to our roots of sorts. It doesn’t get more basic than that. Perhaps in our quest to seek out the true and the purist connection and what’s truly genuine, we equate nudity with a point from which to start and go forward.”
For travelers looking to detoxify, to reboot, and to truly clear their minds, there’s no purer place to start — at least physically — than thousands of miles from home in your birthday suit.
Let’s get the most obvious reason out of the way: Nakations involve a lot less packing. Imagine how easy it would be to pack a carry-on suitcase for a two-week trip if you only needed two changes of clothing (for the outbound and return flights, of course), your iPad, and some headphones. If you’re smart about it and you buy your travel toiletries upon arrival, you could almost pack everything you need in a plastic Target shopping bag.
Whatever mode of travel you’re into, there’s a nakation for that. There are adults-only clothing-optional cruises, full-featured nude resorts, and “family-oriented” (their words) resorts like Florida’s Cypress Cove that pride themselves on being “first-time nudist friendly.”
If you’re intimidated at the prospect of taking a nakation, you’re certainly not alone. AANR offers resources dedicated to first-time nudists, and their club locator can help you find a clothing-optional resort almost anywhere in the world.
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