It’s nearly summertime and vacation season is upon us! Just because you’re sober now, doesn’t mean you have to give up fun group vacations with your friends and family. There are plenty of ways to vacation sober without the stress. It just takes some planning.
Here are a few quick tips to help you plan your first sober vacation. Whether you’re enrolled in a sober living program and you have a weekend pass to use, or you’re planning ahead for your first major family road trip later this summer, these tips will help ensure it’s a fun, sober, and overall successful experience.
7 Tips for Sober Vacations
- Take your recovery support with you.
Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean your sobriety is too. In fact, your sobriety should continue to be your top priority, regardless of where you find yourself in the world. Fortunately, today it’s all too easy to bring the Big Book with you wherever you go, find and attend local 12-step meetings in various locations around the country, and keep up with your sober friends and sponsor back home. All of these things can easily be achieved with a smartphone if you download the AA 12-Step Toolkit app or something similar.
- Consider an organized tour.
When choosing where to go on your trip, you may want to consider an organized tour to reduce as much stress from the planning as possible. People in sober living programs and in addiction recovery, in general, are more susceptible to stress, and putting any unneeded stress on yourself will not only make for a less relaxing trip, but it could also increase your risk for relapse.
- Take advantage of the outdoors.
Instead of planning a trip that’s focused on the bar and party scene, why not take advantage of the great outdoors instead? Of course, outdoor recreational activities like camping, hiking, and horseback riding have plenty of great benefits for people in recovery, but these activities also tend to be less expensive and less high-risk than spending a night out in a sprawling urban party scene. All it takes is a little bit of research to find a great national park with plenty of fun activities to fill a weekend.
- Choose sober travel buddies.
Nothing good can come from spending a weekend or a few days traveling with your old drinking buddies, so why not focus on building new healthy relationships with some of your sober living roommates or friends from your AA group instead? Traveling with a group of sober friends is an excellent opportunity to develop those relationships and it’s also a great way to keep one another accountable to your sobriety goals in a new environment.
- Keep in touch with your sober living roommates, sponsor, and counselor while you’re away.
If you choose to travel on your own or with family members, it’s a good idea to stay in touch with your support system back home. This way, you’re less tempted to just check out of reality (and check out of your sobriety). Keep your sponsor on speed dial or set up a group chat on Facebook with your sober living roommates and check in at an agreed time every day. This may help remind you that you have people counting on you back at home and a vacation is not a free pass to give in to cravings or relapse.
- Have a plan for triggers and temptations.
It’s safe to assume that while traveling and vacationing in any destination, you’re bound to run into triggers that will test your sobriety. It would be wise to come up with a plan to cope with possible trigger situations and discuss this plan with your sponsor, a sober living roommate, or one of your sober travel buddies. That way, you’ll be prepared for anything that comes your way.
- Don’t forget about self-care.
Let’s face it—maintaining a healthy, nutritious diet isn’t always the first thing on our minds when embarking on a road trip, but maintaining your self-care practices should still be a top priority. Even while you’re vacationing, plan your days to start each morning with ten minutes of meditation, make time for a few gentle yoga poses each evening, and pack your own road trip snacks before you leave your sober living home so you don’t end up binging on convenience store junk food. And don’t forget to get a good night’s rest if you can. These things will all help you stay alert, healthy, and focused while you enjoy your trip.
8 Best Sober Vacation Destinations
San Antonio, Texas boasts several fun things to do for sober travelers. One of Texas’s largest cities, visitors enjoy delicious food, great attractions like the River Walk, Alamo, and several cultural art centers and museums. Outdoor activities are also great options for people in recovery, and San Antonio offers many great places to hike and explore including Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, Brackenridge Park, Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, and more.
In Orlando, you’ll never lack fun things to do! Home to popular theme parks like Universal Orlando Resort and Disney World, this warm and balmy location isn’t just fun for kids. It’s also a great spot to vacation sober. Hit the beaches, get your thrills on all the rollercoasters you could ever want, and enjoy fresh, delicious seafood from excellent, highly-rated restaurants. Although alcohol is easily accessible at most dining locations in Orlando, it’s a family-friendly location and you’ll have way too many other things to do to stay busy, such as checking out Blue Spring State Park or shopping on International Drive.
Nashville is a great place to travel sober, as it has a thriving recovery community and many recovery-related activities and events taking place regularly. For music lovers, Nashville also offers live shows, outdoor concerts, and popular sights and attractions like the Grand Ole Opry, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, among many others.
A national park is an excellent choice for a sober traveler, as there are very few temptations for people in recovery and limited access to alcohol and drugs. Yosemite National Park in California is a popular spot for outdoor enthusiasts and you can hike or camp as you explore the area. Known for its giant sequoia trees, Yosemite National Park is a gorgeous place to visit and offers a breath of fresh air for people in recovery.
The city of New York may have a large nightlife scene, but it also offers plenty of activities for non-drinkers. From Central Park and the Statue of Liberty to the Empire State Building and Times Square, there’s no lack of exciting attractions to visit and see! New York City is also home to an amazing array of foods from all different cultures and an incredible arts and culture scene featuring renowned museums like Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Liberty Science Center.
San Francisco is full of exciting new things to experience that don’t involve alcohol or drugs. The city is a sprawling and welcoming tourist destination with plenty of healthy food options and popular attractions to keep you busy. Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate Park along with Pier 39, countless beaches and museums, manicured Japanese tea gardens and more all make for a great sober vacation. Not to mention, San Francisco is home to many AA and AA meetings, many of which cater to the LGBT community.
Denver is well-known for its scenic location and exciting indoor and outdoor activities for visitors and residents alike. Local breweries are a common sight, but the city also provides many different sober ways to spend your time there. If you’re looking for outdoor activities, hiking, outdoor concerts, biking, scenic adventure tours, the Denver Zoo, and skiing or ziplining in nearby Breckenridge are excellent options. You may also enjoy the Downtown Aquarium, Denver Art Museum, or shopping the outdoor 16th Street Mall. Denver also has a thriving arts and culture scene with world-class museums and exhibits.
Although Boston has a large bar and nightlife scene, it also boasts a strong recovery community with plenty of opportunities to connect with local AA or NA groups. If you’re looking for a fun East Coast destination with easy access to recovery groups, this is it! Make the most of your sober vacation to Boston by filling your time with whale watching, authentic Italian food from the historic North End, renowned museums, fall foliage tours, local festivals and events, and historic attractions like Old Corner Bookstore, Park Street Church, Black Heritage Trail, and many others.
Vacationing while sober doesn’t have to boring or tedious. With a little extra planning and support, you can easily enjoy an exciting adventure without any mention of drugs or alcohol.
Continue browsing our sober living blog for more helpful tips on living sober or contact Eudaimonia Recovery Homes today to enroll yourself or a loved one in a transitional housing program.