How I survived an overseas vacation with out drinking a drop of alcohol


It really is springtime and I am on vacation in Italy performing my finest to reside La Dolce Vita: sitting in a tiny trattoria on a attractive, warm evening and watching people today stroll down cobbled streets on their nightly passeggiata.

Surrounded by chattering vacationers, I spoon up tiramisu right after enjoying scrumptious bruschetta with vine tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella and really feel (practically) content material.

The only factor missing is a significant glass of chianti. Or a sweet limoncello. Or a grappa.

Of all the challenges of a year of not drinking booze, going to Italy ought to certainly be up there with the hardest of them.

But, spoiler — I survived this distinct challenge with out drinking a single drop.

Flip’s suggestions for a no-booze vacation

  • Refocus on the positives. No hangovers signifies much more power and time to discover new cities
  • Turn your glass upside down in restaurants to stay away from becoming presented wine 
  • Treat your self. Invest cash you would have spent on booze on other points you delight in
  • Experiment with non-alcoholic drinks. Mocktails that come with an umbrella and stripey straw are entertaining and really feel festive 
  • Have a glass constantly in hand when holidaying with buddies — they will skip more than you when getting rounds and sooner or later overlook you happen to be not drinking.

It really is correct that holidaying with out alcohol in a nation renowned for its wine and liquors can really feel sorely like deprivation, even when you happen to be indulging in lots of other treats.

To do it, you will require steely resolve, mainly because the alcoholic temptations begin even prior to you have boarded the plane.

Initially, there is the inevitable passage by way of duty cost-free, with what appears like acres of glittering liquor bottles at rates so discounted it feels rude not to stock up on the maximum permitted.

Getting survived that gauntlet, if you are fortunate to beg a pass, the subsequent cease is the airport lounge, exactly where a properly-stocked bar provides cost-free wine, champagne and cost-free-pour whiskey to indulge in at all hours (and I witnessed lots of people today acquiring stuck in prior to breakfast).

Then it is onto the plane, with its hours-extended provide of commonly gratis G&ampTs — in truth, the 1st factor hosties hand you is a drinks menu.

And that is all prior to leaving Australian airspace, let alone touching down on foreign soil excellent for increasing wine grapes.

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I had a very good time with out alcohol — you can also

For several of us, drinking and holidays have develop into inextricably intertwined and it feels weird to have one particular with out the other.

Photo of mocktail and nibble food on a table that Flip Prior enjoyed on her Italian holiday
Image I ordered a mocktail and out came this. I like this nation.(ABC Life: Flip Prior)

Alcohol is a faithful companion for occasions when operate and other life responsibilities have been consigned to a back seat and we have luxurious hours to sleep off any excessive late-evening behaviour.

Let me guess: the concept of holidaying with out a cocktail in hand possibly tends to make you aghast.

You consider it can not be performed and it would be a horrible, pointless encounter.

But you can do it, and nonetheless have a very good time. I am living proof.

Suitable now, I am sipping a ridiculous, fancy strawberry mocktail in the course of my final aperitivo and reflecting on how I’ve survived what initially felt an not possible process.

As I’ve travelled about, I’ve identified bars and restaurants across the nation constantly currently lined with tipsy vacationers swigging spritzes in the sun not extended right after breakfast.

Wines and spirits are outrageously inexpensive in Europe and each and every area has a neighborhood drop that restaurateurs are keen for vacationers to attempt.

Getting in an exotic place with fascinating new varieties undoubtedly tends to make it appear tougher to say no — and wine with dinner in Italy is de rigeur.

But obtaining had a bit of practice more than 3 months, refusing booze in bars and restaurants is beginning to develop into automatic.

And there are some approaches that support to shut down dissent.

Tricks that helped me resist temptation

Flip kneeling down patting two cats in Italy
Image I created a couple of furry buddies in the course of my sober vacation.(ABC Life: Flip Prior)

When I was with buddies, the trick was to constantly have a complete glass of some thing in hand, so they looked previous me when getting a round.

By the time they have been two drinks in they frequently stopped noticing I wasn’t drinking and remarking on it — and by the time they have been drunk, they forgot about it altogether.

Turning the wine glass upside down on arrival in restaurants and quickly ordering mineral water commonly stops the drinks menu becoming proffered in your path.

Understanding to unwind with out alcohol

Illustration of woman staring at clock that says 5pm

Two months in to my year of sobriety, it lastly occurred: a ferocious craving for wine. But I tricked my craving brain into considering its emotional trigger had been fulfilled, writes Flip Prior.

Study much more

It tends to make it clear to service employees you are not interested in drinking, with out any awkward conversations.

Although it may well really feel unnatural at 1st, you will be shocked at how small any person else cares.

Couple of service employees would give any person a difficult time for declining alcohol. Not like buddies or loved ones, who I’ve identified far much more most likely to apply social stress.

Of course, even as your mouth learns to say no, your head may well be screaming: “Bring me wine, dammit, I am on holidays and I deserve it.”

I know. I know. I get it. I genuinely do.

There have undoubtedly been occasions when I’ve felt I was missing out.

Like the evening I declined neighborhood wine in that candlelit trattoria, on that excellent spring evening in Rome.

Or the day I visited a pal, and her Italian husband’s Australian visa unexpectedly came by way of, and his mother cracked a bottle of sparkling red to celebrate with a toast.

Or when on the bits of the trip I travelled solo, I had to stroll previous busy bars as an alternative of venturing into them: an unwelcome new departure for a person who’s constantly loved staying out late.

How to reduce back on the booze

Two women toasting with soft drinks with pool in background for story about reducing alcohol consumption

For some of us taking a break from alcohol can be difficult, even if it is some thing we genuinely want. But placing a handful of very simple approaches in spot can support you be booze cost-free.

Study much more

Normally, hopping on a bar stool and chatting to bartenders more than a drink is a fantastic alternative when travelling solo, but I’ve felt awkward about performing that with just water in hand.

One thing about drinking in foreign nations feels wild and cost-free and entertaining and holds the guarantee of adventure.

Not performing it can really feel a frustratingly boring and lonely option.

In specifically grumpy moments, gazing at ancient frescoes depicting people today acquiring frisky below the gaze of angels when quaffing wine, I believed: Who am I to reject human vices, when they’ve been enjoyed more than millennia?

But in the finish, my resolve proved as unshakable as the columns holding up the Pantheon and I sailed previous the 100 days mark of my quest.

I had much more power (and dessert)

Managing mental well being when travelling

Travel blogger Michael Turtle looks out a ferry window as he arrives in Penang by boat. He manages his mental health while away.

It really is worth placing some work into organizing if you happen to be worried about the effect of travel on your mental well being.

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On the entire, I identified any short-term challenges or weakened resolve could be overcome with a bit of viewpoint — would drinking a wine genuinely be worth resetting my alcohol cost-free days back to zero?

Reminding myself that any impulses would pass and focusing on the positives of the selection not to drink also helped.

Not becoming hungover meant I was awake early and had the power to stroll for hours each and every day about cities and up and down mountains, soaking in unbelievable sights, culture and history with out sleeping away mornings in bed.

Revenue I saved on cocktails was spent on slightly fancier dinners and tickets to museums and other attractions. And becoming sober and alert to my surroundings created me substantially much more confident to use public transit systems alone at evening, saving a fortune on high priced taxis.

Although I may well not have been capable to sample neighborhood vinos, the exact same can’t be mentioned for pizza and pasta, which I enjoyed in vast quantities with out a skerrick of guilt.

And hot tip — when you happen to be alcohol-cost-free in Italy, it is completely reputable to consume tiramisu and gelato each and every single day.

I will drink (sparkling water) to that.


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