How to stay sober while traveling and still have fun

Two basic rules I live by while staying in hostels.

Sara Burdick


Playing Tejo, I won twice 🤣

I have gone back to hostel living; on top of always being the oldest one in the hostel, I am always the nondrinker.

When I first quit drinking, it bothered me that everyone asked me why I didn’t drink or told me to have a little it’s ok. So I stopped going out, and I stopped staying in hostels, or I chose the most boring hostel, and then I would never meet anyone.

I realized that was not an option. I love meeting people while traveling, I love going out, and I love to dance. If I stay at a hostel with zero atmosphere, I will remove a few of my life’s joys.

So I still go out and try to dance; I do it all sober. I allow everyone to ask me all the annoying questions; they no longer bother me.

The magic bullet for staying sober while traveling is a combination of time and desire.

What does time have to do with sobriety, a whole hell of a lot.

The longer you are sober, the less you care about what other people think of your sobriety. The first year was rough, I admit. Then the second that came into play was desire.

I desired not to wake up hungover or regret what I may or may not have said the night before. The desire to be hangover free and healthy was more substantial than my desire to drink.

It all comes down to not picking up that first drink; that is the rule I utilize.

Instead, I get a soda or lemonade, plus watching others get stupid around me makes me realize why I don’t drink, so all I have to do is wait until the liquor starts to flow, and then I go. Once most people are drunk or even getting tipsy, they do not know you have left or remember you leaving the next day.

I can stay out until about 1 am, but that is my absolute max. Usually, anything after 1130 gets messy. Last night we went out to play Tejo, and I was out until 1 am. I am still tired this afternoon.



Sara Burdick

I quit the rat race after working as a nurse for 16 years. Travel and Storyteller. I live in Colombia.