Holidays can be a great time to relax, unwind and let your hair down a bit. Whether it’s going away with your family, your friends or your partner, there are so many ways to enjoy your time away from your usual day to day, and for a lot of people that includes enjoying a few drinks. However, with more people exploring teetotalism, not all holidays have to involve alcoholic tipples.
With a big new year's push on cutting back on drinking, a lot of people attempt ‘dry January’, which is a month-long challenge of ditching the boozy drinks for something alcohol free. The challenge goes viral each year - dry January has over 86 million views on TikTok alone- and is a great way for many to kick start their journey into becoming teetotal throughout the year, as they find they enjoyed the benefits of cutting back on drinking so much.
#Alcoholfreeholidays has over 105,000 views on TikTok, reflecting a rise in the holiday trend; travellers on the app appear to be enjoying alcohol free holidays as a way to detox, refresh and enjoy the many other activities holidays have to offer. Many travellers may choose to enjoy an alcohol-free holiday as a healthy detox, so that they return from their trip refreshed. This might include escaping to a luxurious resort in the Maldives, where they can fully switch off for a while and enjoy delicious mocktails watching the sunset, or try out an alcohol-free gin and tonic whilst exploring a city and doing a spot of people watching in the evening.
To reveal how teetotal travellers feel about going on a booze-free holiday, we surveyed over 1,000 adults to reveal where they like to go and what they like to get up to. So, if you’re looking for inspiration when it comes to taking a teetotal holiday, then we’ve got you covered.
The pressures of drinking whilst going on holiday
When it comes to drinking on holiday, the levels of pressure to drink might vary depending on where you’re going, who you’re going with and what the holiday is for. Drinking on holiday isn’t for everyone and there are plenty of positives when it comes to enjoying a drink-free trip, including no groggy heads the morning after, saving some money on alcohol and trying out different activities instead.
However, whilst some travellers will be confident in committing to a booze-free holiday, there are still those who feel pressure to join in when their companions are drinking.
The pressure of drinking at the airport
We’ve all seen them - the obligatory snaps at the airport with a drink in hand. Whether it’s a celebratory glass of fizz in the airport lounge or a team pint ahead of a weekend away, people love to toast their impending holiday (and it’s also a great way to let people know they’re going away). With so many people embracing airport drinks, it can often feel as though there’s an expectation, or perhaps some pressure to post a similar snap online.
Whilst having a cheeky drink before you take off is the best way to kick start a holiday for some, one in five (21%) of holidaymakers surveyed admit they actually do feel pressure to have an alcoholic drink whilst at the airport. Perhaps it’s because they’re travelling with people who want to enjoy a tipple before they travel, or because they feel the pressure to share a perfect airport snap for their followers to see. Interestingly it was those in Northern Ireland who felt the most pressure, with a staggering 42% admitting they feel some pressure to drink in the airport.
Whilst on holiday..
If it’s not drinks at the airport, then it’s drinks by the pool or whilst enjoying a gorgeous view that people love to share online. Whether it’s indulging in an aperol spritz whilst people watching, sipping away on a mojito at the beach, or enjoying the taste of a refreshing cold beer after a day in the sun, there are so many ways drinking becomes part of a holiday routine.
And whilst there is nothing wrong with drinking on holiday, more than a quarter of respondents (27%) said that they felt some pressure whilst on vacation. This might be due to ‘fomo’ if they’re away with friends who are all drinking, or perhaps with family members who are keen to share a bottle of wine or two over dinner.
Interestingly, the survey revealed it was younger travellers who felt the most pressure, with over a third (36.9%) of 16- 24-year-olds admitting they felt pressure to drink on holiday. Whether it’s an added pressure of drinking in front of peers or perhaps sharing it on social media, younger travellers are certainly feeling the pressure more than others. The survey also uncovered that the pressures of drinking whilst on holiday decreased with age; those in the 55+ age range felt the least pressured to drink whilst away.
Most popular destinations for teetotal travellers
When asked which destinations they found the best for an alcohol-free trip, the respondents placed the USA at the top of their travel list. With 50 states to explore, the country has so much to offer travellers that doesn’t involve drinking, or losing any time to a hangover. Whether it’s experiencing city life and indulging in some retail therapy in cities such as New York or Chicago, or escaping to the wilderness and taking in the breath-taking views in one of the national parks including Yellowstone or Yosemite. With so much to see, eat, and experience, the USA really does have something for everyone.
Turkey is the next most popular destination for teetotal travellers, with the country enticing holiday goers looking for things to do that don’t involve a tipple. Turkey is home to some extremely beautiful beaches, perfect for those looking for a holiday where they can relax in the sunshine and cool themselves off in the bright blue waters. For holidaymakers looking for something to do to get themselves out and about during the day, there’s plenty of fantastic sightseeing, with historical archaeological sites, museums and hidden natural wonders to explore.
In third place is Italy, a fantastic destination that has plenty to offer visitors looking to avoid drinking. Home to impressive cities including Florence, Venice, Rome, Verona and Milan - all of which are perfect for a long weekend where you can spend your time sightseeing, shopping and eating your way around. For those looking for a longer Italian trip, road trips along the Amalfi coast can be a great way to soak up local cultures and test out delicious local cuisines.
Making up the rest of the top five are Spain and Australia, ranking in fourth and fifth place respectively. Spain, is home to popular cities including Barcelona, Madrid and Seville, which all offer visitors plenty to indulge in, whether you’re a shopaholic or you want to spend your days walking around the city soaking up the architecture. Australia is another popular destination, boasting health-conscious cities such as Sydney, so it’s easy to see why this destination would be so popular with those looking for a booze-free break.
World’s Most popular destinations for teetotal travellers
12. New Zealand
Most popular UK destinations for teetotal travellers
When it comes to having an alcohol-free break within the UK, the most popular city to visit was London. The city is teaming with museums, events, exhibitions and endless shopping, affording a plethora of activities for teetotallers to enjoy. The city is also home to an impressive selection of west end performances; theatres play host to unforgettable comedies and musicals, perfect for the entire family to enjoy.
Ranking in second place is Cornwall; the Southwest County offers a plethora of activities besides drinking. With hiking, sightseeing, surfing and plenty of gorgeous beaches to enjoy, it’s the perfect destination to head to if you’re looking for a break and a way to reconnect with nature for a while. The county is also home to some delicious food including fresh seafood, high quality local produce and the iconic Cornish pasty, perfect for those days at the beach.
Edinburgh is the best Scottish city for teetotallers, proving popular among explorer and adventurer types. Whilst Scotland might be known for its whiskeys, the city has so much to do that visitors won’t mind missing out on the pubs or bars. There is ample sightseeing to do around the city, with Edinburgh castle open for visitors all year round and tours of the Royal Mile sharing spooky tales. And for those looking for something a little more entertaining, the city is host to the Edinburgh Fringe festival which takes over the city each year during the summer.
Making up the remainder of the top five are the Northern city of Manchester and the Southwest county of Devon. Manchester is great for those looking for a jam-packed weekend away, where they can catch a gig, take in some sightseeing throughout the city and then enjoy a fun evening out at one of the many delicious restaurants. For those looking for more of a relaxing break, Devon is a great choice with plenty of scenic hikes and quaint little towns to visit.
The top ten most popular UK destinations for taking a teetotal break
Best teetotal holiday activities
Our teetotal survey participants voted sightseeing as their perfect holiday pastime, enjoying immersing themselves in the history and culture of a destination. Sightseeing activities vary by location, but getting some steps in whilst soaking up a city’s atmosphere, popping into historical buildings, museums and galleries, or heading to historical sites such as Machu Picchu or the Taj Mahal can all contribute to an unforgettable holiday.
Day trips are also one of the most popular holiday activities. Whilst these require a little more planning, they are often the most memorable holiday experiences and can be accompanied by boat trips, cycling trips or segway tours. There are lots of destinations where day trips can offer something special, such as visiting one of the Italian lakes whilst holidaying in Milan. They can also be a brilliant way to see a little more without having to change up your destination entirely.
Shopping is the third most popular activity, more so with younger travellers, with a staggering 46.5% of respondents aged 16-24 placing shopping at the top of their activity list. Exploring new stores that you may not get to experience locally, or snatching up the best deal for something because it’s made in that country can all contribute to the excitement of a foreign shopping trip. From indulging in special designer purchases or identifying the perfect memorable souvenir, it’s an excellent way to take part of your travels home with you. Shopping can also be a great way to spend the day if the weather isn’t fantastic, as you shelter from the rain by running between shops and refuelling with a coffee break.
Other popular activities making the top five include swimming, and spa days/ treatments. Both of these activities are great ways to switch off and relax from the everyday stresses of life. Swimming can be a fantastic way to see some local wildlife too, by admiring fish in the crystal-clear waters or for those who feel a little braver, you can even go swimming with some more exotic animals including sharks. If swimming isn’t your thing, then taking yourself off for a pamper session, and treating yourself to a lovely relaxing massage might be more up your street.
Top activities for people who are not drinking on holiday
2. Day trips
5. Spa days/ spa treatments
6. Hiking/ Walking
8. Playing games
9. Water sports
10. Cooking classes
Hopefully this has left you feeling inspired to try a teetotal break or to explore somewhere new, whether it’s a European weekend break in an Italian city or somewhere a little further, such as a resort in the Maldives where you can enjoy some incredible spa treatments.