Traveling in recovery can be challenging, but it can also be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do.  When you were an active drug or alcohol abuser, there were likely many things keeping you from seeing the rest of your state, your country or the world. You likely did not have the money or motivation to get out there and travel, and furthermore, maintaining your addiction may have made it impossible to do so.  Now, though, you are clean and sober and free, and it’s time to get back out there – but how?  Where should you go and what should you do?  There are a variety of sober-centric travel ideas out there to get you started, while helping you to stay on the right track.

Challenges of Traveling in Recovery

There are many obstacles and potential triggers you may encounter while traveling in recovery, but if you are aware of them and plan for them, they should not be too much trouble.  When you are traveling, you are out of your comfort zone and away from your routine – and that can be dangerous.  However, if you take steps to ensure that at least the vital parts of your daily structure are still in place, that familiarity and support will surely help to keep you strong.  For example, if you meditate and journal to support your recovery first thing in the morning or before you go to bed at night, keep doing that.  If you check in with your sponsor daily at home, use the advantages of technology to continue to do so when you are traveling.

It’s also important to keep the trigger acronym HALT in mind; be vigilant against becoming hungry, angry, lonely, or tired.  You’re probably more active than usual while traveling, so be sure to eat more than usual and to rest more than usual when you can.  Plan ahead and know when and where your next meal will be.  If things don’t go exactly as planned along the way, use deep breathing to keep anger from arising within you.   Travel can be stressful on all parties involved, so watch out for potential drama with your traveling companions, too.  If you need to take some time apart to cool down, do so, and if you feel lonely along the way, call a friend at home to check in.

Great Vacation Spots for People in Recovery

The challenges above may sound numerous and daunting, but as long as you are aware of them and prepare accordingly, you can do anything, and travel can be a lot of fun.  Also, there are a variety of settings that can indirectly help to support your recovery simply due to their inherent environment, and you should perhaps consider those types of places first if you are just getting back out there on the road.

  • Visit countries with less prominent alcohol culture. There are many countries in which drinking alcohol is a part of every day life for much of the population, or, where heavy drinking by tourists is encouraged. Don’t visit these places first. Consider places like Egypt, Morocco, Indonesia, or parts of India if you are looking to avoid alcohol.  For a complete list of alcohol consumption by country, visit this list.
  • Choose an active vacation. Go biking, hiking, skiing, backpacking, or cycling – and not just for one day, either.  Look for vacations that keep you going day after day!  There will be no time to think about drugs or alcohol, and at night, all you will want to do is rest up for the next adventure.
  • Go to a retreat center. There are retreat centers all over the USA and the world. You could take an art class, sign up for a yoga program, or go deep into your meditation.  Most retreat centers want their guests to cleanse, focus and turn inward, so they rarely offer alcohol on site.
  • Visit a health spa. A health spa is kind of a combination between an active vacation and a retreat center, but why not combine the two for a very exciting and healthy vacation?  You can sign up for hikes, meet with nutritionists, listen to lectures on healthy topics, and take in a massage at the end of the day.  You will feel rejuvenated while you are at the spa and that feeling will continue afterwards, reminding you how good clean and sober feels!
  • Sign up for a volunteer vacation. Use your vacation time to help others, and in turn, learn a lot about yourself.  There are volunteer vacations out there of all kinds!  You can do environmental work, teach abroad, help to build homes for the poor, or clean up after a natural disaster.  The possibilities are endless, and you will be so focused on helping others that you won’t even think about using.
  • Take a self-driving tour of your state or country.If you are at the wheel, you are in charge, aren’t you?  Sometimes when traveling with others you get pulled in a variety of directions – and some of them can be dangerous for your recovery.  If you go alone, or with someone else who is also in recovery, you can choose where you go, when you eat, and how much rest you need to get. You can avoid risky places altogether, and move forward confident and secure.  US National Parks might be a great place to start, as you will be in awe of their beauty and there is so much to do!
  • Travel with a sober travel group. There are many sober travel groups out there that either offer drug and alcohol free group travel experiences, or that simply bring together like-minded people for the trip of a lifetime.  These are easily searchable online, but for starters, check out Sober Vacations International, GoNOMAD Travel,Travel Sober, Sober Travelers, and Sober Celebrations.

How to Support Your Recovery While Traveling

All of these suggestions above can be great for traveling in recovery, but whether you choose these ideas or not, there are ways you can further support your recovery while out there exploring.  First, you should probably at least initially avoid all-inclusive resorts and cruises.  Both of these types of travel have a strong alcohol culture and may not be right for you.  Second, be aware of the challenges mentioned at the beginning of this post.  Make a plan for every obstacle and be ready to put it into action.  Bring recovery literature or recordings to listen to, and make sure you stay in close contact with people at home.  Stick to your normal routine as much as possible, and try to attend a meeting whenever you usually would or any time you feel challenged.  Avoid places like bars and dark alleys, and ask the front desk to remove the mini-bar from your room before your arrival.  Most of all, stay strong, and focus on the good time you are having.  Travel will change your life every time you do it.   Keep your recovery in mind while exploring the world and that change will always be for the better.

At Clear Sky Recovery, we want to help you get to the point where you can get out in the world and explore safely, free from drugs and alcohol. Our facility in Cancun, Mexico, should be your very first stop. There, we will help you break free of your addiction by administering anibogaine detox treatment that will help you get to the root of it.   From there, we will help lead you through a therapeutic experience that will make you the person you always knew you were.  Please call us today for more information; we look forward to hearing from you.