Sober Travel: How to Mentally Prepare and Create the Experience You Want

Vacations often involve indulging in copious amounts of alcohol. Planning your first sober trip can be anxiety-inducing, especially if you're used to unwinding with a cocktail in hand. 

Don't worry; we promise you can still enjoy traveling without alcohol. 

We've prepared a guide to help you get excited about your upcoming trip and shift the focus. It's time to find excitement in new experiences and embrace a different kind of vacation. 

(pictured: our NA Social Sampler)

Set Intentions for a Fulfilling Trip

Before you even pack your bags, take a moment to reflect on what you want to gain from your upcoming trip. Is it rejuvenation, self-discovery, or simply a chance to explore a new culture? 

Visualize the desired experience beforehand.

By setting clear intentions, you create a roadmap for how you choose to spend your time. 

If you're traveling with friends, who may or may not be joining you in staying sober, be sure to manage expectations with them ahead of the trip

Communicate clearly that you will be avoiding alcohol, but you still want to be fully present and connected to them.

Discover the Allure of Your Destination

Get ready to fall head over heels for the location! 

Dive into research, read up on travel guides, and daydream about the new adventure awaiting you. Get excited about where you're going and prepare a list of experiences you want to have.

Find morning activities that will excite you the night before and motivate you to get to bed earlier. From an early morning hike to finding a coffee shop that opens before the streets fill up with tourists, having something to look forward to will make a difference. 

Embrace the freedom to explore at your own pace while alternating structured plans with spontaneous discoveries.

Prepare for the Journey

Who is used to having a glass of wine to "calm their nerves" before a flight? (We have been there.)

You’re not alone if flying makes you anxious. Maybe in the past, you would rely on alcohol to make the trip less stressful, but remember that there are other (healthier!) ways to stay relaxed.

Download a meditation app and have a playlist handy with calming songs in case you feel anxiety creeping up.

Don’t forget to grab your favorite snacks and have a book or series ready. 

If your destination involves a road trip and you used to pack a road beer, swap out the six-pack for a few fun non-alcoholic drinks.

(pictured: our NA Wine Sampler)

Avoid Temptations and Find Alternatives

Let's face it: when traveling, temptations are everywhere! 

If you're accustomed to ordering a cocktail by the pool or sipping a hard seltzer as you get ready, bring your favorite non-alcoholic alternatives.

Stock up on a few cans from The Wine Sampler or The Social Sampler so you'll be extra prepared whenever you want a drink. We love traveling with these because they are lightweight and easy to pack!  

If boozy brunches or late-night pub crawls were your go-to options in the past, scout out alternative activities beforehand. 

Afternoons during a vacation are often an excuse to start drinking earlier. If you're nervous about what to do, plan a set activity. Book a workout class at a local fitness studio or sign up for a walking guide. 

If you have already paid in advance, you can stay committed and avoid the temptation of wanting to have that afternoon Aperol spritz.

Embrace the Food

Every culture has culinary wonders, and your sober journey is the perfect time to indulge your taste buds in new delights. Research local dishes and delicacies, and make a list of must-try gastronomic adventures. 

From savoring exotic street food to treating yourself to a feast at a renowned restaurant, let the flavors of the location be your guide. 

Immerse yourself in the vibrant food scene, explore farmers' markets, and even consider taking a cooking class to add some spice to your trip.

Have a Support System

Before you leave, reach out to a close friend (or your sponsor if you have one) and let them know how you feel about the journey ahead. Just because you're going away doesn't mean you have to get off the grid entirely. 

Stay connected with your friends who can help keep you on track. They will happily remind you why you've chosen to experience a vacation completely sober. 

If you're traveling with friends who might be drinking, sharing with them that you're a bit nervous is okay. 

Whether or not they might be looking forward to the buzz, they will still be supportive and understanding if you need to take a break from the group.

Meet the Locals

Traveling alone? Download a dating app, join a Facebook group, or browse Meetup for people with similar interests. 

You can plan a coffee date with a local or join a planned activity if you want to socialize with a larger group.

Focus on the Recharge

Gone are the days of returning from vacations exhausted and needing another break. This time, your trip is all about pampering yourself, focusing on self-care, and returning home with a renewed sense of well-being. 

Seek out activities that nourish your mind, body, and soul. 

Indulge in spa treatments, practice yoga or meditation in scenic areas, take long, leisurely walks, or simply relish the pleasure of doing nothing. 

This is your time to recharge and reconnect with yourself.

Document Your Feelings

Taking your first sober trip will bring up many new feelings and emotions. 

Have a journal ready to reflect on the thoughts that come up before, during, and after.

Write your intentions down in your journal before you start your trip and the reasons why you're not drinking. 

Anytime you get frustrated or tempted, remember why you are staying sober. By reconnecting with the root reason why you wanted to take a sober trip in the first place, you'll feel reassured afterward.

Embrace the Experience

Embarking on a sober adventure opens up a world of possibilities for intentional exploration. By setting clear intentions and having a game plan in place to avoid triggers, you can create a trip that leaves you deeply fulfilled. 

Sober travel invites you to consciously consider how you want to spend your time off, allowing you to rediscover what truly excites you about traveling. 

It's time to embark on an adventure that nourishes your soul and sparks joy every moment. 

Bon voyage!

Written by: Elena Rogers

← Older Post Newer Post →

dri/kit Blog


Busting the Nightcap Myth

The nightcap is a staple of the drinking culture. It's often used as an excuse to stay out just a bit longer before heading home...

Read more
Alcohol Free Mocktail Recipe

Recipe: The Lover's Buzz

Heighten your senses, stimulate your mind, and bring on a tingle from head to toe with a cocktail that’ll keep you buzzin’ all night long. ...

Read more