How to Plan a Sober Vacation While in Recovery

Updated April 10, 2018
taking a sober vacation


One of life’s greatest rewards is taking a vacation. But if you’re in recovery, there are some key factors to keep in mind when planning your dream trip. Above all, you’ll want to choose an environment that won’t encourage a relapse, but you’ll also want a place that helps you de-stress and reflect amid an undoubtedly challenging time in your life. Along with feeling more refreshed and confident, realizing you don’t need drugs or alcohol to enjoy life might be the best souvenir you’ll bring back.  

Strategies for Staying Sober While Traveling

Planning is perhaps the biggest favor you can do for yourself before taking a sober vacation alone. Here are some tips:

  • Bring recovery literature or recordings to keep you on the right path.

  • Call the local AA or NA in the area you’ll be visiting and consider reaching out to other recovery patients if you feel lonely or simply want to vent.

  • Have the alcohol in the minibar removed in advance.

  • Don’t fall into HALT (hungry, angry, lonely, or tired) mode, as these emotions can trigger a relapse.

  • Stay in touch with your home network to include your AA or NA sponsor.

  • Keep up with your normal routine so you don’t need vacation recovery mode on top of everything else.

Benefits of Taking a Sober Vacation


Going through therapy while simultaneously maintaining both a job and personal relationships is a recipe for stress. If there was ever a time to put yourself first, it’s now. Stay on top of sobriety goals while taking a time-out period that encompasses meditation, yoga, massage, and simple moments of peace.


Grab a journal, take a moment, and express yourself without thinking about anyone making assessments. Give yourself credit for taking the brave step toward sobriety and forgive yourself for the reasons that brought you to this place.


There’s never a better time to find yourself than while on vacation. One of the best ways to do so is by trying out a new activity—perhaps even one that scares you a bit. Activities like surfing, snorkeling, paddle boarding, horseback riding, and skiing are notoriously easy to book through an organized provider at the resort or vacation destination of your choosing.

Choosing the Right Vacation

  • Best: There are a variety of resources that offer vacation groups, retreats, and budget-friendly getaways located all over the world that are specifically catered to the newly sober individual. Many of these organized trips are surrounded around a theme such as a particular sport, music, beach, etc., but all focus on celebrating sobriety and helping individuals continue their path to recovery while on vacation.
  • Worst: It goes without saying that the types of vacations to avoid while in recovery include party boats, hedonistic retreats, casinos, and spring break-like destinations where there will be recreational activities that can prompt one to fall off the wagon.

Taking a vacation is beneficial for anyone, but even more so for an individual in recovery. Getting away is also an important lesson in non-avoidance. Bailing on social situations is not an answer to sobriety, but learning to reinvent the way you have pleasure in your life is.

If you need help planning your vacation, Viator has all the resources you need!


Contributor: Henry Moore

About the author:

Henry believes travel can change you, and good health preserves you. He combines both in his work on