When picturing a vacation, many people envisage laying on the beach or by the pool in the beating hot sun with a drink in hand.

While travel is all about seeing the world, drinking on vacation has become extremely normalized, and many people can’t imagine taking a break without alcohol.

However, drinking on vacation is not a necessity for having a good time. There has been a rise in sober vacationing these past few years as a solution for those who cannot or should not be drinking while on vacation.

Unfortunately, sober vacations aren’t a widely talked about topic as many people struggle to picture a relaxing holiday without the consumption of articles.

To educate you on all you need to know about this rising trend, this guide will cover:

  • What a sober tourism/ sober vacationing is
  • How to plan a sober vacation
  • The best sober vacation destinations.

Let’s get into it.

What is Sober Tourism / Sober Vacations?

Sober tourism or sober vacationing describes the act of traveling while staying completely sober, which means you do not consume any alcohol.

It has been a rising trend in recent years, as many people are starting to practice sober living or are choosing to travel without drinking alcohol.

Not all people who engage in sober tourism are recovering from addiction. Many people do it for safety or budget reasons, as buying alcohol while on vacation can be costly and has the potential to ruin the trip if overdone.

However, many people who practice sober living in their day-to-day lives are also choosing to engage in sober tourism, as practicing sober living doesn’t mean that you should miss out on having fun on vacation.

Sober tourism simply puts more emphasis on non-drinking activities that still allow you to relax and unwind without alcohol.

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How To Plan A Sober Vacation: Tips and Tricks

From wine tastings to beer gardens, it seems that many key travel experiences seem to be tied up with alcohol.

However, a sober vacation is still possible, you will just need to engage in some extra planning. Here are some of our best tips and tricks to help you plan a sober vacation:

1. Research destinations or tour guides with sober-friendly activities and support groups

One of the best tips is to simply plan. There is a wealth of resources online regarding destinations that are suitable for those who wish to have a sober vacation.

Furthermore, many places now offer specific tours or guides for those who wish to remain sober on their trip.

By planning ahead and doing your research, you can save yourself a lot of time and angst and ensure that you have properly planned a trip that won’t jeopardize your sober goals.

2. Inform travel companions about your sobriety and preferences

For activities and destinations that are not specifically sober-friendly, it is a good idea to inform them ahead of time that you are sober and wish to remain so during your stay.

At events such as tastings or group tours, alcohol is a normal part of the experience, so you want to ensure that you are not accidentally served alcohol.

An accidental slip-up could be all that’s needed to undo months or years of recovery progress, so it is important that you take steps to mitigate any potential issues.

3. Look for non-alcoholic options at restaurants and sober bars

According to the European Supermarket Magazine, 2022 saw a 9% increase in interest in non-alcoholic beverages, and a whopping 70% increase in non-alcoholic beer sales.

This has resulted in most bars, restaurants, and supermarkets stocking non-alcoholic beverages, which are the perfect choice for those who wish to have a sober vacation.

When going out to eat or shopping at the grocery store while traveling, look for the non-alcoholic version of your favorite drink.

Alternatively, you may even wish to choose soda or juice instead, as many find non-alcoholic imitation drinks to be too overwhelming.

No matter what you choose, there are just as many sober-friendly drink choices available when traveling.

4. Plan sightseeing, outdoor adventures, or cultural experiences

Many people’s ideal vacation plans involve alcohol, whether that be an all-inclusive resort, clubbing, bar hopping, or wine tasting.

However, these aren’t sober-friendly activities and also aren’t the best way to see all that a country has to offer.

If you wish to take a sober vacation, plan to do sightseeing or outdoor activities that don’t involve alcohol.

Not only will this allow you to get the travel experience without the need for alcohol, but it will also take your mind off drinking and distract you from the other non-sober-friendly activities you could be doing.

Here are some of our ideal sober vacation activities:

  • Hiking in national parks
  • Guided city tours
  • Museums and art galleries
  • Yoga and wellness retreats
  • Outdoor sports (kayaking, biking)
  • Cultural festivals
  • Cooking classes
  • Beach relaxation
  • Wildlife safaris.

5. Embrace the experience!

Our most important tip is to simply enjoy your sober vacation! You are making a wise decision that is beneficial for your health, so don’t let the fact that you can’t drink get you down.

By embracing it, you are proving to yourself and others that you are making the right decision.

Plus, you’ll probably be surprised by how many people are also on a sober vacation alongside you.

Drinking is steadily becoming less and less popular, with a 10% decrease in drinking amongst adults aged 18-32 in the last 20 years.  Many other people are embracing sober living and sober travel, and so should you!

The Best Sober Vacation Destinations

Need help finding where to book for your next sober travel adventure? Here are some of the best sober vacation destinations:

1. Sedona, Arizona, USA

Sedona in Arizona is one of those special destinations that should be on everyone’s bucket list.

Popular with those who are in touch with their spiritual side and practitioners of meditation, it is known to many as the New Age capital of the world.

It is a stunning desert township that is graced with views of the towing surrounding canyons and red rock buttes.

The well-being focus of this destination makes it the ideal spot for a sober vacation. Many people who travel there do so with the mindset of improving their health, so there are many sober-friendly events and activities for visitors to enjoy.

2. Bali, Indonesia

While many might think of Bali in Indonesia as a party destination, they couldn’t be further from the truth.

From rainforests, rice fields, and temples,  Bali and the surrounding area are filled with incredible sober-friendly activities and breathtaking sightseeing excursions.

Plus, there are many sober-focused retreats and resorts available for tourists to book so you can enjoy all the trappings of a typical Bali resort while being in a sober-friendly environment.

3. Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a destination that is so beautiful that your mind will not even begin to think about alcohol.

The country is known for its stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and delicious food, all of which can be enjoyed without the need for alcohol.

Whether you want to book an action-packed vacation or a calm and relaxing retreat, you will find something that piques your interest.

It is the perfect environment for you to embrace your sobriety and enjoy all of the fun and memory-making that vacations are all about!

4. New Zealand

If you’re looking for a vacation destination that will take your mind off of alcohol and let you thrive in your sobriety, you can’t go past New Zealand!

Not only does New Zealand offer options for those looking for an outdoors-based holiday with its towering mountains, long stretches of beautiful sandy beaches, gorgeous lakes, and unique wildlife, but it also has many bustling cities and charming townships for those who want an urban experience.

Plus, the people of New Zealand are extremely friendly and inclusive so you will feel more than comfortable on your sober vacation there.

5. Banff National Park, Canada

The best sober vacations are ones where you can easily book activities and excursions that are not based on alcohol, which is why we love Banff National Park in Canada so much.

Banff National Park in Canada is arguably one of the most beautiful places in the entire world, and almost all of the activities in and around the area should be enjoyed sans alcohol.

From hiking around the turquoise lakes, climbing the snow-capped peaks of the Rocky Mountains, or taking a nighttime excursion to try and catch the Northern Lights, you will constantly be entertained on your vacation here!

This is also a great option if you are looking for a destination that encourages self-reflection, as there is nothing like time in the great outdoors to spark some self-improvement.

The Bottom Line

Sober living does not mean you have to miss out on vacationing – you simply have to do some extra planning and research!

Many people are turning to sober vacations as a way to travel without breaking their commitment to sobriety.

The best part? Traveling sober will open up a whole new world to you, and you will find yourself trying activities and seeing sights you never previously dreamed of seeing.

If you have the travel bug but are committed to sobriety, don’t wait to book your next adventure!

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