Staying Sober: Tips For Traveling

Heading off to a vacation destination is usually exciting. You’re in eager expectation about sitting back to relax, have some fun, and enjoy new scenery. Whether you’re relaxing on the beach, hiking in the wilderness, or you’re off on a business trip, you want your vacation to be stress-free and make lifetime memories.

If you’re in recovery, traveling could be a trigger, especially if you used to drink quite a bit while you were on vacation. Think about the times you were vacationing and drinking got you into some sort of predicament that you later regretted. Or think about how much money you spent on liquor alone.

If you want to refrain from drinking during vacations, it is a good idea to prepare for a sober trip by keeping in mind the following tips:

  • Avoid the party destinations. It’s best to avoid major party cities like Las Vegas, New Orleans, or crowded beaches where parties are common. If you’ve always gone to Cancun or some other destination and partied till dawn, you may want to try a different area this time.
  • Being there again could be a trigger. Rather, try to find low-key destinations like quiet beaches or mountain trips. There are plenty of relaxing, exciting, and fun destinations to go to, so be sure to do your research when planning your trip.
  • Reach out to a sober vacation group. Did you know there are sober vacation groups that will assist you in making plans to a destination that keep sobriety in mind? Sober Vacations International is a wonderful business that will help you plan a vacation that suits your needs. Try a cruise to Alaska or hit the Galapagos Islands for some fun in the sun!
  • Invite a travel buddy. Sometimes it is easier to fight the temptation to drink when you are with an accountability partner. Be sure that this person is trustable and will hold you accountable for your actions. If you don’t know someone who could play such a role, attend a 12 Step group in order to meet some new people. Traveling alone is not a bad thing, but traveling with a friend can lessen the desire to drink.
  • Keep yourself busy. If you find yourself bored, that could be a trigger to drink, so be sure you plan plenty of activities to keep yourself busy. It’s always a good idea to research the area ahead of time so that you can learn what activities are available. Depending on your destination, you might want to do a few excursions like snorkelling, hiking, or taking a dinner cruise while you’re away.
  • Commit to relaxing. If you’re full of anxiety, you’re more apt to want to reach for a drink, so avoid high anxiety vacations. If flying abroad would be a bit much for you, plan a vacation closer to home. If the city life will bring you much anxiety, choose a quiet and quaint vacation spot. The less stress, the better.
  • Have your support system on standby. It’s a good idea to have a couple of people you can call should you need to talk to someone or if you feel like drinking. This could be your sponsor or a trusted friend. You might also want to take an inspirational book that you can read to encourage you each day. Feel free to let someone know when you’re struggling so they have the opportunity to help you out and encourage you to keep your sobriety.
  • Travel with your family. Plan the family vacation that you’ve been talking about and fill it with fun-filled activities. Take some time to delight in each other and just lounge around with nothing but fun and relaxation on your mind. Family vacations are great investments!
  • Keep your mind in the sober zone. You may want to read or listen to something each day that gets your mind in the sober zone. There are plenty of podcasts, books, websites, and videos that can help you keep your mind made up that you will not drink no matter what.
  • Play the tape through. If you do get a craving to drink, play the tape through at that moment. See yourself drinking, then drinking more, and then feeling horrible about it the next day. If you’ve committed to sobriety, seeing in your mind’s eye where drinking may lead you can be enough to keep you from picking up.
  • Know your “why”. Before you head off for vacation, know why you’ve decided not to drink. What are your reasons? If you know why you’ve put the booze down, then you’re less likely to pick up a drink no matter what happens on the vacation.

Go ahead and keep these tips in mind when traveling. Vacations are certainly helpful to break up the monotony in life and take a break from work. Be sure that you plan well and prepare for a sober vacation that allows you to relax and have some fun.


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