5 Ways to Stay Sober When on Vacation

A vacation is a time to relax and take a break from the daily grind at work. Whether you intend to go out for a camp, visit a foreign country, or go to the beach, having a break from time to time is good for your mental health. But even for something fun like having a vacation and traveling, straying from your usual routine can challenge your sobriety. 

How can I stay sober while on vacation?

There are many new challenges to traveling while trying to stay sober, and temptation can be found everywhere. Among the possible triggers you should be prepared for are parties, gatherings, eating out, anxiety about travel, and potential conflict with travel companions. However, traveling while sober is still possible and can still be fun. Here are 5 ways to stay sober when on vacation.

1. Do Your Research and Make a Plan

Most people take vacations to unwind, but getting there can sometimes be stressful and cause anxiety. That’s why pre-planning your trip in advance is essential because it will allow you to be more prepared and less stressed. Before traveling, you should visualize how you want the trip to be. Focus on what you want to happen. Make a schedule, an itinerary, or a bucket list of things you want to do and places you want to go to when you get there. 

Do some research about the history, culture, and food of the place you’re going to visit. Find the best restaurants, the most delicious food to try, the top local shops to visit, and the fun activities you can do. There are endless fun things you can do that you can enjoy without drinking a drop of alcohol. 

It’s great to have some plans, especially if you require structure to keep you accountable, but it’s also beneficial to be flexible to allow things to flow. By doing this, you’re opening yourself up to more spontaneity, which is the real reason why you have a vacation, right? Plus, this mindset could help protect you from being stressed and disappointed if things don’t go according to your plan. 

2. Know Your Triggers to Manage Your Stress

Flight cancellations or delays, additional paperwork, and dealing with unruly kids can all cause unnecessary triggers. If you are in early recovery, this added stress can increase the risk of relapse. Before buying airplane tickets and making hotel reservations, you should have an honest conversation with your traveling companions about your triggers, issues, and concerns to help you manage your stress and avoid possible conflicts. 

Stress is one of the most common triggers for drinking or misusing drugs, and traveling can cause major stress for many people. While it may be tempting to turn to old habits to feel more comfortable, vacation is an excellent opportunity to practice healthier stress management techniques such as:

  • Reading a book
  • Reflecting and journaling
  • Stretching and meditating 
  • Mindfulness, breathing deeply, and counting 1-10 
  • Going out to see nature and breathe fresh air
  • Seeing concerts and listening to music
  • Massaging your hand, especially the large muscle under the thumb
  • Enjoy a cup of tea, warm milk, or hot chocolate. 

It’s critical to be aware of your triggers in advance because doing so will enable you to create a strategy for handling them. Your ability to cope with unexpected or unavoidable situations will increase if you can find ways to reduce your exposure to triggers. And if you learn to put some space between yourself and your triggers, you will be able to move forward with more awareness and overcome them. You can also check out this blog: 5 Ways to Manage Stress While Staying Sober to get more anti-stress tips. 

3. Maintain a Routine

Your regular sleeping and eating schedule can be disrupted when you’re on vacation. Sleeping in different beds and adjusting to different time zones can challenge anyone’s serenity. Getting exhausted because of activities, skipping meals, lack of sleep, or eating so much junk food can lower your ability to deal with triggers healthily. However challenging it may be, you must maintain as much of your regular schedule as possible.

Yes, it is important to have room for spontaneity while traveling because you’ll never know where a new adventure will take you. However, planning a morning activity as part of your vacation routine will give you focus and an excuse to head to bed at a reasonable hour if your travel companions want to stay out late and party.

Create your own activity schedule. Try joining a yoga class, a bus or walking tour, or a museum excursion that will make you get up and out of the hotel early in the morning. Choose the activities you’ve always wanted to try and are excited about. The more you find fun without drinking alcohol, the more confident you will be in yourself and your ability to travel and have a vacation while sober.

4. Reward Yourself with Simple Pleasures and Self-Care

You travel to see the world, not to get drunk and wasted while sitting in a bar. Get out there and treat yourself. Spend the money you have saved from not buying alcohol on simple pleasures like shopping, eating delicious food, trying fancy restaurants, or buying skin care products. Go to a spa and pamper yourself with massage therapies instead of hitting the clubs and getting wasted. 

Think of this as the remedy for the feeling that “I need to have epic fun to have an awesome vacation.” Vacations are frequently centered around partying, which, in reality, usually leaves people feeling worn out rather than refreshed. Instead of using it as an excuse to go wild, traveling sober gives you the chance to reevaluate your vacation goals. Decide to use this special time to find yourself, relax, and pamper yourself.

By deciding to stay sober while on vacation, you are also deciding that you won’t let alcohol or any potential shame or regret that might take away from your memories. You’ll never know when you’ll have another opportunity to experience a vacation like this, so why not spend it sober as your best and most authentic self?

5. Stay connected with Your Support Group

While on vacation, you should always stay connected to your support group. Try your best to update them, or even just your digital tribe, continuously. Don’t face your fears alone; try to open up and communicate these thoughts with your friends and family. Doing this will reduce your stress and avoid situations where drinking alcohol might be appealing. 

If you need more support with your sobriety, your Sober Talk family is here to help. Always remember that you are not alone in this battle. Almost everyone feels nervous when they travel and go to different places. You don’t have to go through the journey of sobriety by yourself. Watch Sober Talk LIVE on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SoberTalkLive. Feel free to text or call us at our Sober Cell: 502-396-8374! We can listen to you and discuss your experience. Whatever issue you’re facing, we’ll be here to support and help you. Let’s stay sober together!

Tom Mabe

Tom Mabe is a video creator, comedian, and sobriety advocate. He was an alcoholic and is now sober. He talks and interacts with others live on Facebook and YouTube about addiction, recovery, and sobriety. He created Sober Talk to allow people to tell their stories, ask for help, celebrate their accomplishments, share their struggles, and connect with real people going down the same path.

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