Big life decisions are like buses; you spend years waiting to make one and then they all come along at once. Following a couple of tough years through the pandemic with work and relationships, Leanne decided to take a break from booze to reassess and reposition. This decision was closely followed by one to become a digital nomad – travelling through Europe with her also-sober partner and their dog.
Dodging Ouzo in Greece: Tips & Tricks for Travelling Sober 🍸✈️
5 Benefits of Travelling Sober
#1 Waking Up Hangover-Free ☀️
Being able to wake up early without feeling fragile means you can really make the most of your holiday. Getting a full 12-hour day of sunshine whilst abroad is such a blessing, especially if you usually live in the UK. You’ll have a better tan to show off to your colleagues when you get home, and more time to do the things you love. I’ll let you in on a secret: crowds don’t typically appear until around 10am. Those tourist hotspots you’ve been dying to visit are yours for the taking when you’re able to get up early, and you’ll get the most amazing photos without having to crop people out of the background.
#2 Savour The Flavour 🍽
Travelling offers us the opportunity to try new cuisines, and taking a break from booze means you really get to taste what you’re eating! You can savour the foods you’re putting in your mouth, rather than stuffing them in to soak up the alcohol.
#3 Breaking Stereotypes 🧘🏻♀️
Brits tend to have a bad name when it comes to travelling abroad, the reason being that we get rowdy when we binge. One thing I’ve found is that locals treat you better once they find out you’re alcohol-free and not there for the carnage, as it’s often a refreshing change!
#4 Truly Experience Another Country 🗺
How many times have you been on holiday with a list full of activities and plans, only to end up partying too hard, and spending the majority of the next day hungover and grumpy AF? Choosing to skip the booze or mindfully moderate means no more wasted days.
#5 Come Back Feeling Refreshed 🪞
We've all done it, we go away for a holiday and a real break, only to spend the majority of our time boozing and partying. We get back home and joke about how tired and exhausted we are, and how we "need another holiday to get over the last one". Taking a break from booze and time to really switch off could be just the break you need.
Easier said than done you say? The sun is shining, the aperol is calling my name – how can I deny it?
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5 Tips For Travelling Sober
#1 Book Your Activities In Advance 🏄🏼♂️
Whether extreme sports or archaeological sites take your fancy, engaging in activities will leave you feeling fulfilled and wondering how you ever spent all day at the bar or in bed. This is also a great way to socialise with people in a way that doesn’t involve drinking, and will often lead to more meaningful interactions and lasting relationships! Plan your activities with military precision and pay in advance, so you won't be tempted to drink the night before.
#2 Tell Your Waiter 🥂
Waiters abroad love giving complimentary aperitifs/digestifs with a meal, and travelling sober means I’ve found myself dodging ouzo in Greece on countless occasions. Letting your waiter know that you’re alcohol-free when you enter the restaurant (e.g. politely handing back the wine menu and saying you aren't drinking tonight) will stop them from bringing you a free shot after your meal, and means you don’t have to worry about awkward rejections and appearing ungrateful.
#3 Choose Your Destination Accordingly 🎯
Drinking is going to be far more enticing if you’re spending 2 weeks in an all-inclusive hotel on the beach than it will if you’re exploring a historic city and staying in a boutique apartment. If you’re worried about willpower, choose an interesting location that’s going to offer a range of adventure opportunities that don’t involve alcohol.
#4 Treat Yourself And Don't Compromise 🎁
If you have decided to take a break from booze then make sure you soak up all the things you want to enjoy. Taking a break from booze shouldn't be about sacrifice, it should be all about the amazing benefits and experiences you gain – especially if you're on holiday. Heading to a bar for the evening? Don't just settle for any bar, pick the most extravagant unusual and theatrical bar which will truly keep you entertained past the drink in your hand.
#5 Set And Reaffirm Your Intentions 💭
Heading out for dinner in the evening? Or to that gorgeous bar we just talked about? Reaffirm and set your intentions before you go there. That might look something like "Tonight I won't drink because in the morning I can't wait to go and see _____". By reevaluating the reasons why you are taking a break from booze on holiday, and the things you are gaining from it – will make it much easier to stick to. And trust me, when you are paddle boarding through a cave at 10am – you won't be wishing that you were doing it on an empty stomach and a hangover.