I’ve just got back from La Palma, Canary Islands, it was one of the best sober holidays I’ve been on to date!
A year ago, if you’d asked what my favourite thing to do on holiday was, I would have probably said “drinks by the pool”, or “a nice glass of wine at a lovely restaurant”.
In fact, my holidays started and ended with alcohol; from a glass of prossecco at the airport, to drinks on the plane to early evening g&t’s and buying a commiseration I’m going home now bottle of something at duty free before the return flight. I didn’t always drink a lot, but my focus was definitely on alcohol and then usually the hangover – or just the not feeling so great – afterwards.
Things have changed since I stopped drinking, and these days I can’t think of anything better than going on sober holidays. Words I never thought I’d type, but it’s true.
Arriving back from La Palma on Sunday evening I felt rested, refreshed and like I had completely relaxed whilst away. This was a big contrast to the times I got home from holidays hungover, feeling like I needed a holiday after the holiday I’d just got back from and a five day juice cleanse.
It has, as always, taken me a little while to embrace the sober holiday.
I had a lovely few days in Portugal at the start of the year sipping on diet coke and swimming first thing every morning, but before heading on a girls holiday to Spain in the summer I was on the phone to one of my sober friends at the airport with her coaching me into getting on the plane. I was petrified that everyone was going to think I was a loser, that I would be left out, or encouraged to drink. Needless to say, I got on the plane, and had a brilliant time, but her coaching and implementing some of the tips below helped me get there.
It’s important to be prepared for sober holidays, to be aware of what might trigger you into thinking having a drink might be alright, or just one wont hurt. If you’re committed to this alcohol free journey, a sober holiday is a brilliant treat and once you’ve done one – you’ll never look back!
5 tips for a brilliant sober holiday:
Tell someone you’re travelling with that you’re not drinking
You don’t have to announce it to the whole group if you don’t want too, but telling at least one person you are travelling with that you will be doing a sober holiday so that you have some support, and someone watching out for you.
Get your own room, if possible
Now obviously if you are sharing with your partner then that’s a bit different, but if you are travelling with a whole group of friends (and if they are all drinking) I’d highly recommend seeing if you can have your own room. With your own room, you have somewhere private you can go back too to relax, to do any of your morning or evening routines that help you stay alcohol free (I meditate and do yoga, a single room helps). It also means that if you want to go home early, you can and you won’t be too disturbed when everyone gets back.
Take plenty of books, films, and entertainment material
Whatever keeps you entertained, take it with you! I downloaded and took a total of five books for four nights in La Palma, and I read four of those books! (FYI I highly recommend The Power for some relatively easy fiction reading) Reading keeps my mind occupied and stops it wandering to “Oh I’m a bit bored I could have a drink …”
If reading is not your thing, take films, or podcasts, or audiobooks with you. Basically, however you love to relax – take it with you!
Decide what you are going to drink instead & try new drinks!
“Cervesa sin alcohol” has become my go to phrase on the sober holidays I’ve been on so far; essentially alcohol free beer in Spanish.
If you chose to not drink alcohol free alternatives, deciding if you’re going to have tonic water or diet coke or whatever else you like to drink in advance so you’re not tempted at ordering stage is key.
You can also take drinks with you if you’re checking luggage in or driving to your sober holiday, and most foreign supermarkets and health stores have wide ranges of different alcohol free drinks so you can stock up for your hotel room or villa.
Plan your sober holidays in advance
Now I’ve never been much of a holiday researcher, I’ve always been more of a turn up and see where it takes me, This has changed now I go on sober holidays.
Whether you want to chill by the pool the whole time, or explore the local scenery, or hike or go to museums, it is worth taking some time to plan and decide what you want to do – and how you will do it – in advance.
You wont be hungover so you have way more time to enjoy your sober holidays. Could you get up one day to watch the sunrise? Go to an early morning yoga class or perhaps take a walk on the beach alone? Whatever is fun for you, carve out some time for you and enjoy yourself!
Doing it this way, means you can also plan your outfits – and maybe even treat yourself to some new sober holiday clothes?? I wore this Miss Tunica tunic by the pool and out for dinner safe in the knowledge that I’d look after it and it would look just as lovely the next day!
Last but certainly not least. One of the major benefits of alcohol free living is that you get to enjoy and remember every single moment of your life.
Sober holidays are definitely different, but they become even more fun!
Do you have any tips for making the most of sober holidays? I’d love to hear them!
Leave a comment below or chat to me on Instagram.
All my love, L xx