How to plan a fun, sober vacation on a budget


Photo courtesy of Unsplash by Alexandre Chambron

We wait all year for our vacation – that glorious weekend, week or even a couple weeks of fun, relaxation and self-care time. However, for those who are recovering from substance abuse, it can be tricky planning a vacation that doesn’t involve the temptations of drugs or alcohol. It also doesn’t help that our society seems to glorify the idea of sitting at the beach with a beer (or a joint) in hand.

Think a sober vacation has to be a snooze-fest? Think again! Sure, sleeping the day away is great – so if that’s your thing, go for it. But for the rest of us who crave a little adventure and excitement during our travels, there are plenty of other options available.

Believe it or not, you can plan a fun, sober vacation without breaking the bank! Here’s some travel advice for people in addiction recovery:

  1. Go with a Group
    Sober vacationing is growing in popularity. These days, there are a variety of vacation groups and retreats that are available for the newly sober or those in addiction recovery. In fact, a quick Google search will provide you with names of resorts, cruise lines and travel agencies specializing in alcohol-free vacations in some of your favorite destinations around the world.
  2. Budget-friendly options
    Although we’d all love to go frolicking to the most exotic destinations around the world each year, it’s not always reasonable (or budget-friendly). However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a vacation. Traveling with a group (such as friends or relatives) or with a travel partner (such as your roommate or spouse) is often more affordable than solo travel. If you’re on a budget, you could consider getting a group of sober friends together to pitch in on a trip in order to make it more affordable. (Be mindful to choose travel partners who will support you in your sobriety.)
  3. What to Avoid
    As wonderful as it might be, travel also brings a type of stress (even if it’s a good stress). Instead of giving into the temptations to drink or use, put some effort into pre-planning for stress reduction. If you are traveling with a spouse, relatives or friends, can you delegate any tasks to them? Are there any tasks you can proactively handle before you leave, so you can maximize your rest and relaxation time during your trip?
  4. Schedule self-care. Treat yourself to some self-care and pampering during your vacation, if budget allows. Consider appealing self-care options that are popular and affordable at your travel destination, such as a massage or a non-alcoholic beverage made from fresh and tasty ingredients. Traveling to a colder climate? Consider a local yoga class or a visit to an infrared sauna. These activities are enjoyable, reduce stress levels and prevent you from feeling depleted while you are on vacation.

As you can see, there are many options available for anyone looking to enjoy a sober vacation this year. With a little pre-planning, you can reduce stress, avoid the temptation to use and/or drink and successfully plan a vacation that you will love.