Hangover-free holidays: why I wouldn’t travel any other way

Lauren Burnison | July 2019 | 7 minutes

Lauren used to party and drink hard - and never harder than when she was on holiday - but she's realised that she prefers to be alcohol-free when she goes adventuring.

I remember my very first sober holiday in 2016. I had made the decision to stop drinking literally that day. Up until that point, to say that I had been burning the candle at both ends was an understatement. My twenties were a string of unadulterated benders and it looked like my thirties were heading the same way. I reached a point where I physically and mentally couldn’t take it anymore, so I quit.

I was living in Korea at the time, working as an English teacher. I’d decided to go on a group trip to a beautiful island off the east coast of Korea. Little did I know that this would be the beginning of a whole new way of life.

The benefits of sober travel soon became very clear. There really is no better feeling than waking up hangover-free and ready to take on the day. Of course, this applies when we’re at home too, but starting the day off on a fresh note when exploring somewhere new is a complete game changer.

Holiday mode

Think about all those times you decided to go for a glass of wine the night before you were due to head off. “Getting into holiday mode,” I used to call it. Of course, it’s never just one. But imagine going alcohol-free. Instead of frantically scrambling around in the morning after little or no sleep, you’ll have a leisurely jaunt to the airport, with time for a coffee and some people-watching while you’re there. I know what I would choose!

Seeing more

Let’s not forget the sheer joy and elation of waking up hangover-free during your holiday. Think of all those sounds sights and smells that await you. Even if you want to do nothing but lie around on a beach all day, wouldn’t you rather do so with a clear head? For years, my priority while travelling was to party which meant that I ended up doing very little sightseeing. I try not to regret those times as they are an integral part of my journey. I am, however, well and truly making up for lost time now. Today I have the freedom to choose what I do, whether that’s a hangover-free relaxing day at the beach or a day filled with awesome and enriching activities.

Even if you want to do nothing but lie around on a beach all day, wouldn’t you rather do so with a clear head?

Feeling more

One of the biggest rewards that you reap when you kick the liquor is the ability to make more meaningful connections. This is especially true while travelling. The raw realness that we experience when we aren’t using booze as a social lubricant tends to attract others on a similar wavelength. That doesn’t mean to say that you will be an alcohol-free magnet, but you are more likely to have encounters with people that share the same values which ultimately results in more enriching conversations and even some long-lasting friendships! While out on a night boozing, on the other hand, it is very possible that you will spend a whole evening with people with whom you have zero in common with apart from a penchant for the hooch.

Travel safe

It’s fair to say that my insatiable thirst for adventure coupled with a reckless disregard for my own wellbeing landed me in a few tricky spots over the years. Let’s face it, we make dumb decisions when we are under the influence. Making dumb decisions in unfamiliar places around unfamiliar people who are also making dumb decisions is often a recipe for disaster. Sometimes I wonder how on earth I managed to get this far relatively unscathed. Removing booze from the equation means that I don’t have to worry where I’ll end up and with who. This is especially useful if you travel to countries with a higher risk of crime. It’s essentially a huge burden off your shoulders and a relief for people that love and care for you. That’s not to say you’ll never make a dumb decision but at least you will be fully lucid while doing so.

The bottom line

The bottom line is that choosing to travel alcohol-free, or even just to cut down on how much you drink, will enhance your experience in ways that you never imagined. It will allow you the freedom to choose what you do and make the most of this well-deserved me time that you work hard for every year. Imagine arriving home refreshed, connected and ready to take on life, instead of feeling like you need another holiday to recover.

There was a time when the thought of an alcohol-free holiday was completely unimaginable. Almost three years later I can safely say that there’s no way I would rather travel. Go on, give it a go! What have you got to lose?

  • Lauren is a travel enthusiast, polyglot and founder of We Love Lucid alcohol-free holidays. After having travelled and lived in various countries around the world, Lauren now lives in Ronda, a town in the beautiful mountains of southern Spain. In her free time, you can find her horse riding, kayaking and experimenting in the kitchen!