To Drink or Not to Drink on Your Travels?

Drinking on vacation is a staple for many, but should it be?
Drinking on vacation is a staple for many, but should it be?

Is Drinking on Vacation Worth It?

By Kaelie Piscitello

Wine WitchSometimes the best part of vacation is a refreshing glass of wine at dinner or a cocktail after touring around.

However, sober travel is rising, and many opportunities to experience alcohol-free cruises or retreats pop up daily. To drink or not drink on vacation? Well, it depends on the traveler.

Whether you choose drinking as a tool for empowerment or abstain from it altogether, sober retreat leader Megan Wilcox and author Natalie MacLean share their experiences with alcohol to motivate self-love and positivity in women around the world.

The Highs and Lows of Drinking on Vacation

Best-selling author and wine expert, Natalie MacLean, has just released one of Indigo/Chapters’ Most Anticipated Books of the Season, “Wine Witch on Fire.” the book follows Maclean’s journey as a divorcee rebuilding her career and touches on how she “reconnects with the vineyards that once brought her joy.”

Throughout the book, MacLean also tackles the misogyny embedded in the wine industry and how it encourages women to drink too much. According to MacLean, the travel industry explicitly targets women and encourages them to drink.

Red White and Drunk All Over New CoverShe said, “Many spas and vacation spots are targeted to women as a “girls’ getaway,” often translating to heavy drinking in between treatments.

The profit motive underlies this as well as tapping into women’s feelings of thanklessness for all they do for their families. They’ve earned this special treatment.”

Though MacLean explores the pitfalls of drinking in her memoir, she also touches on how she used wine and the vineyards she once found solace in to revive herself. Though alcohol can trouble others, MacLean believes it can also bring people back to life.

MacLean explained, “Wine drew me outside again, connecting me with the earth. It got me out of my head and away from the computer I was chained to in my previous tech job.

Some employees there slept under their desks to work longer. We were “mole people,” I used to joke. We shrank from sunlight.”

More About MacLean

MacLean is currently touring to promote Wine Witch on Fire, and during the tour, she has learned books, travel, and wine are all personal experiences people have.

She explained the best part of traveling during the tour was “on a small intimate scale, whether it’s a discussion with a book club, friends or those you meet on the road.”

In addition to Wine Witch on Fire, Natalie MacLean published a free wine guide for book clubs, wine groups, and individual memoir readers. She wrote two more books: Red, White, and Drunk All Over and Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World’s Best Bargain Wines, and she encourages readers to visit their nearest wine country and ones abroad if possible.

According to MacLean, in the tasting room at her beloved vineyards, she "drank the wine to make the sun and soil part of me. Then I wrote about it to metabolize my feelings and digest its sensuality."
According to MacLean, she “drank the wine to make the sun and soil part of me in the tasting room at her beloved vineyards. Then I wrote about it to metabolize my feelings and digest its sensuality.”

A Sober Perspective

Though many people love drinking on vacation, there is nothing wrong with abstaining. A startling 28% of college students do not drink, and 35% of people worldwide participated in “Dry January” in January 2022.

Megan Wilcox, certified professional recovery coach leader, offers sober vacations for women seeking a booze-free trip with Wellness Marketing. Wilcox felt drawn to create “Dream and Discover the Dry Life with Megan Wilcox” as part of her SobahSistahs Retreats based on her life-changing experience searching for sobriety.

She said, “Once I removed alcohol from my equation, the transformation was significant. Everything seemed to fall into place, and I felt more balanced and in harmony with my values.”

Wilcox takes a different approach to alcohol than MacLean, but both are worth exploring.
Wilcox takes a different approach to alcohol than MacLean, but both are worth exploring.

According to Wilcox, the people drawn to her sober retreats in Punta Cana, Mexico, gravitate towards it for healing and connection.

She hopes her sans-alcohol retreats will bring women the opportunity to have meaningful interactions with others. Drawing from her own experiences on the retreats, she explained, “Without the distraction of alcohol, we are able to remain in the moment and truly engage with one another.”

Women can expect to engage in yoga, one-on-one conferences with Megan, and meditation sessions during the retreats.

The retreat lasts five days and four nights and will help women set new goals and learn ways to socialize without alcohol.

What Women Should Know Before Attending a Sober Retreat with Megan

Wilcox explained the SobahSistahs retreats have a strict no-judgment policy. She hopes the attendees can “uplift and support each other through every step of their journeys.”

She knows from experience the connections women made on her retreat’s last lifetimes, and she said the women who come together to engage in her excursions feel the most rewarded in her experience with them. She said, “Knowing that we’ve built a vibrant, enduring sisterhood that continues to uplift and inspire long after the retreat concludes” inspires her.

Wilcox still has spots open for her retreat in Punta Cana in October 2023. Anyone wanting to book the retreat can use the code sober200 to save $200.

Though both Wilcox and Maclean take different perspectives on alcohol and the influence it perpetrates on women’s lives, both women provide balanced arguments to the spectrum.

To drink or not to drink?

Tasty Treats and Yummy Drinks for a Season at Home

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