Spa Etiquette 101: What To Know Before You Go

Heading to a spa for the first time is definitely an exciting experience, but there are dos and don’ts that are good to know before going. From what to pack to navigating the facility, we’re going over the best practices to keep in mind when heading for your spa trip to make sure you have the best experience possible. 

Before Going To the Spa

Before getting to the spa there are certain things you’ll want to make sure you do or don’t do to 

guarantee you’re set for your trip.

Do: Book Your Treatments in Advance 

When you book your spa day make sure to also book the specific treatments you want to get. A lot of spas get booked easily and this way you can make sure you secure your spot and plan your day more clearly. Think about if you’d rather get your treatments in the morning or the afternoon and when you want to take advantage of the rest of the facilities to coordinate the booking time. 

Do: Look Up Treatment Details and What Is Best for You

When you go to book your treatment make sure to look at each description carefully to find the best option for you. If you are having a more complicated time finding the right one for you or have any questions call up or email the spa to get your questions answered. 

Knowing the details of the different offers is especially valuable if there are specific things you want to combat or that you know you don’t want. This is also a good time to check which amenities the spa offers and other preferences you might have. 

Don’t: Eat a Heavy Meal Before a Treatment 

While the lunch menu at the spa facilities may look delicious if you’re heading to your treatment soon after eating, opt for a lighter meal than something that will have you feeling full and make the treatment experience worse. 

Do: Make Sure You Shave 

If you want to shave before heading to your treatment because you’ll feel more comfortable make sure to do so on the night before. Doing this on the same day will make your skin more sensitive, this isn’t ideal for having treatments done on and can cause adverse reactions or effects. 

Packing Tips

There are certain things you’ll want to pack when heading on your spa trip. While a lot of facilities offer some amenities to the guests you might want to make sure you have some of your own things for your personal comfort and in case they aren’t on offer. 

Do: Take Your Own Pair of Flip Flops or Slippers 

Make sure you pack a clean pair of pool shoes you can wear around the establishment. Some places might offer these for hygiene purposes, but if you feel more comfortable bringing your own pair make sure they don’t have any traces of dirt or anything else on them before wearing them around the spa. 

Do: Make Sure You Take Two Swimsuits With You  

While it might seem unnecessary to take two swimsuits with you it is actually a great practice. Sitting around in a wet swimsuit while you try to relax and lounge isn’t a great feeling so having a dry swimsuit to change into will have you feeling more comfortable! 

Do: Cover-Up From the Sun 

If you’re planning on spending time out in the sun make sure you’re packing some sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat to protect you from the harsh rays. You might also want to pack a cover-up in case you’ll be heading to the pool and want to have an easy option to throw on.

Do: Pack Workout Gear! 

Some places offer gym facilities or exercise classes. In case you’re taking part in any physical activity remember to pack a set of workout clothes. It is also good to pack a pair of tennis shoes in case that’s not what you're already wearing when heading to the spa.

Do: Go for Comfortable Clothes

When getting ready to head to the spa it’s best to opt for a set of comfy clothes you can also wear when you leave. If you happen to have prior commitments that don’t call for casual attire before going to the spa make sure you pack something that will allow you to continue feeling relaxed and comfortable while heading home. A good option is a nice sweatsuit combo or some loose trousers with a stretchy waist and a cozy sweatshirt. 

Do: Take Entertainment

If you’re going to enjoy the common and lounging areas of the facility, bringing a book or a magazine can be a great way to help you relax your mind. Another great option is taking a notebook and a pen to write down anything that comes up while you’re lounging or to do some journaling if you know it makes you feel lighter. 

Even though some spas have specific rules regarding phone usage, bringing your headphones is also a good idea in case you are allowed to use your phone and want to listen to some music or a podcast.

Do: Bring Your Toiletries Bag 

At one point or another, you might find that you want to freshen up before heading home. Even if that just means putting on your own face creams or taking a shower and washing your hair. In either case, you’ll want to have your own products to use. 

While some places offer products for your enjoyment, if you know you have a hard time finding options that work for you it’s best to keep to your tried and true routine. Don’t forget to throw in a couple of hair ties and a headband with your hairbrush for getting your hair out of your face during treatments and activities.

Do: Bring an Extra Towel

While most establishments have towels on offer, taking an extra towel with you can save you at a moments’ notice. You can request more towels other than the one the spa offers from the start, but in case you run into any issues you might want to have a small spare one on deck.

Do: Bring a Bag 

To carry all your things to and from the spa make sure to take a big bag that can fit all your things. Taking two bags is also a good idea. Go for one smaller waterproof bag that you can carry your things like your book or magazine in around the establishment and another to keep in the locker room with your shoes, toiletries, change of clothes, and any other things you won’t need during the day. 

Having an extra plastic bag to throw your wet suits into is also a good idea. That way you can make sure your other belongings don’t get wet.

Navigating the Facilities 

While enjoying the facilities there are definitely key points to remember. Having these notes in mind will make sure you’re not caught in an uncomfortable situation. 

Do: Wear a Bathing Suit

During your time at the spa facility make sure to wear a swimsuit. This might differ between establishments but as a general rule of thumb, your safest bet is to have a bathing suit handy. If need be you can always take it off. It’s always best to be overdressed than under! 

As we suggested in our packing list, consider taking two swimsuits to change into in case you want to do some lounging on pillowed chairs or have another treatment after heading to the pool.

Don’t: Talk Loudly

When enjoying the spa, make sure you pay attention to designated quiet areas. A lot of places have specific areas where talking should be kept to a minimum so as not to disturb other guests. In general, it’s best to be careful with the volume you’re speaking at. While in the facilities, keep your noise levels to a minimum and speak in a quiet, hushed voice. 

Do: Arrive Early 

If you’ve booked treatments, make sure you plan time to arrive early to them. Add an extra five to 10 minutes to your schedule so you can make sure you have plenty of time to get to your appointment with time to spare. 

Some places might even ask you to arrive earlier than that so make sure you check if there are any specific requirements on that front. It isn’t uncommon for facilities to have you fill in forms or questionnaires before your treatment so arriving early guarantees you enjoy the full extent of your booking and that it starts on time. 

Do: Take a Shower Beforehand

As part of good spa etiquette, it is customary to take a shower before using the facilities. This is especially the case if you’re heading to the pool, hydrotherapy, or treatments. Having a quick rinse beforehand will make sure you’re free of any products, sweat, and dirt you might’ve picked up during other activities.

Do: Leave Your Valuables in the Locker Room

When getting ready to head to your treatment, make sure you store away your valuables in the locker provided for you. If there are certain important items you’ve had to bring with you, keep them safely stored in your locker so you don’t lose any of them. This could possibly include your phone. 

A lot of spas have strict phone usage policies so be sure to check these before going or once you arrive. It might also simply be the case that you want to fully disconnect and relax, leaving your phone far away is a great way to do this. 

Do: Let Staff Know of Any Problems

If you have any particular problems that need to be communicated make sure you do this beforehand. Of course, you can still pass on this message while at the spa but telling staff earlier on will allow them to cater to any special request and tailor the experience to your particular needs. 

You can also include this information in the pre-treatment form or questionnaire if there is available space. This can include anything from pre-existing conditions to skin sensitivities.

Do: Voice Your Preferences

During your treatment make sure to voice any request you might have, whether you’d like a firmer or softer massage, any areas of concern you want them to give more attention to, or simply that the temperature in the room isn’t to your liking. Communicating your needs will allow your therapist to adjust the conditions to your liking so you can have the best experience and reap the most benefits out of the service. 

Enjoying the Sauna

Saunas are a cornerstone of the spa experience. They are known for having a lot of different benefits but there are a couple of things to keep in mind if this is your first time.

Don’t: Drink or Eat Before Heading Into the Sauna

You should never drink alcohol before using the sauna since it can give you a natural buzz. The same goes for eating, wait at least 30 minutes after eating before going into the sauna. You also shouldn’t do exercise before going into the sauna so make sure to space that out properly.

Don’t: Use It for Longer Than 10-15 minutes

Saunas aren’t meant to be used for long periods at a time, especially if you are a beginner. It’s best to keep your session to about 10-15 minutes. Try to stay as long as you can within that time frame but if you see that even after a couple of minutes you can’t stand it anymore it’s always best to leave and come back, granted you feel ok! You can even get out, rinse off to cool down, dry yourself and then get back in. Try doing this three times to become a professional spa-goer.

Do: Make Yourself Comfortable

A lot of spas have nude saunas. This means you can enter the sauna without your robe or swimsuit. Take your towel inside with you to sit on and make sure to take a cool shower and dry off before heading in. 

These are social places so feel free to take a friend in with you to chat with, but be aware of other guests and maintain a respectful volume. There might also be a bucket and ladle inside. These are for your use in case the sauna feels too dry. In this case, add some water to the hot rocks to steam up the room and add humidity to it. 

Do: Hydrate

After leaving the sauna room make sure to drink plenty of water. When you’re in the sauna you’ll most likely be sweating a lot. Once you leave it’s important to replenish all the water you've lost so you don’t end up dehydrated. Make sure to have water handy for when you’re done with your sauna session.

Enjoy and Relax

With all these tips and tricks you’re more than ready for your spa visit! Once you’ve gone over these etiquette rules and have all you need to prepare, all you have to worry about next is heading to the spa and enjoying your time there and making the most of the relaxing experience.  



 ​​Your Ultimate Guide To Spa Etiquette & Basic Know-How | CULTIVATED 

Spa Etiquette: Ten Commandments For Spa Virgins | More Time to Travel