“There are so many fun things to do in Seoul that don’t involve alcohol. One thing that is a must is shopping at the night marketplace. Yes, there are huge markets that only open at night, closing at 5 a.m. Almost everything you can imagine is sold, from clothes and stationery to kitchen supplies. Korea is known for its street food, and there’s so much to eat! Where there’s a night market, there’s street food. It’s not unusual to be walking around at 1 a.m. with spicy rice cakes in one hand and grilled squid on a stick in the other.
With eateries, coffeehouses, and spas that are open 24 hours, there’s so much to do that’s not centered around drinking. I don’t drink alcohol but I drink a lot of tea, so I’m always trying out tea houses scattered around Seoul. There’s a wide range from modern to traditional tea homes, and it’s always fun for me to try them out. I usually end up learning a lot about the country’s culture through tea. In my travelings, I always bring back tea as a souvenir.” — Jee Choe, digital decorator and blogger at
Oh, How Civilized
“While I’m a little biased toward my own city, Los Angeles is a great option for sober travel. You can hike and surf in Malibu, find a day spa, play beach volleyball on the famous Manhattan Beach courts, take any number of Hollywood tours, and you’re always surrounded by healthy food. One of my favorite things to do with visitors is to find a vintage car rental for cruising the Pacific Coast Highway.” —
Rachel Medlock, blogger at Wayfaring Rachel
“Scandinavian nations such as Sweden are great for non-drinkers. Not merely are beverages quite expensive at restaurants and bars, but also in Sweden, hard liquor is only sold through government-controlled stores called Systembolaget.” —
Lola Akinmade Akerstrom, travelling writer and National Geographic photographer
“Santorini isn’t a party island like Mykonos, so nightlife on this island isn’t all about drinking. The days are filled with beaches, hikes, gyros and frappes. At night is when the town comes to life — all the stores and eateries are brightly lit and open late. It’s the perfect time to go shopping. You can also watch a movie at the outdoor cinema, have a late dinner at 10 p.m ., or sit in the cool breeze overlooking the ocean at a coffeehouse. Santorini is great for people who don’t drink since there are other things to do other than go to bars.” — Choe
“Consider going to certain Muslim-majority destinations. For instance, alcohol is available in Morocco, but it’s not part of the culture. There might be alcohol served in certain hotel bars, or you could maybe purchase it from a single store somewhere that doesn’t really advertise it, but broadly speaking alcohol is not a big thing. Morocco also happens to be an amazing destination with buzzing marketplaces, ancient maze-like cities with windy streets and the Sahara Desert. It’s one of those countries where you can enjoy a coffee or a shisha but where alcohol is largely out of sight and out of mind.” — Marek Bron, travel blogger at
“Get away from the parties at the beach. Mexico City is full of history, culture, architecture, museums and great food. It is also one of the safest places in Mexico.” — Shawn Coomer, founder and managing editor of
Miles to Memories, and Mark Ostermann, senior editor at Miles to Memories
Whistler, British Columbia
“I love a spa vacation to indulge without imbibing. After tapping into a wellness-focused environment, passing on alcohol feels even easier. My favorite is the Scandinave Day Spa in Whistler for a tranquil spot tucked away in the mountains. You’ll walk around the indoor-outdoor spa in fluffy robes, jumping between heated environments( steam room, saunas, hot tubs ), cold treatments( ice pools ), and relaxation solariums or cozy fireplaces.” — Medlock
“Alcohol is pretty widely available in Malaysia, but it’s taxed heavily and consumption is much more moderate than in some neighboring countries. Whereas in Thailand, alcohol gets sold to tourists in very large quantities( even in pails in the most commercialized tourist areas !), Malaysia takes it very easy. That’s why I guess Malaysia can be an amazing tropical destination for anyone wishing to avoid alcohol altogether.” — Bron
“[ There are] nations that have stricter alcohol regulations but are still dream vacation destinations, like Malaysia. These countries would be better suited for the solo traveler, the adventurer or self-planner. If you prefer the city, places like Kuala Lumpur and Georgetown should be high on your list.
I fell in love with all of the street art in Georgetown and the melding of the three cultures; Malay, Chinese and Indian result in fantastic options for any foodie.” — Annette Richmond, blogger and travel journalist.
“As a solo female traveler in Latin America, I choose not to drink largely for safety reasons, but partially because I simply hate hangovers. When I first started traveling, I didn’t go out after dark. So I always choice places where there was a lot to do during the day. This route I didn’t keep feeling I was missing out. Then when I moved to Colombia, everything altered. I discovered salsa and bachata dancing. This enabled me to get up the confidence to go out after dark on my own and not feel pressured to drink. I also never felt like a loner, as I would spend the night dancing rather than sitting down. I recommend Medellin in Colombia or Antigua in Guatemala as two destinations I felt very safe traveling solo and have great salsa and bachata scenes. I could go out every night of the week in both of these places and dance the night away without needing a drop of alcohol. I did need a lot of water, though! ” —
Claire Summers, traveling blogger at Claire’s Itchy Feet
“Budapest is full of thermal baths and day spas, with plenty of cultural activities as well. Skip the party crowd at Szechenyi and opt for the quieter Gellert or Lukacs baths. When you get tired of soaking, you can explore Buda Castle, hike Gellert Hill, or visit any number of monuments and museums.” — Medlock
“Due to the altitude, one of the things that is recommended is not to ingest alcohol your first week in Cuzco. If you’re in Peru for Machu Picchu or the nature of the Andes, you will probably have very early mornings that are motivation enough not to drink! Bonus: Peru had delicious nonalcoholic drinks, such as indigenous herbal teas and chichas made from corn and other fruit flavors.” — van Dop
New York City
“Even though there is a big bar scene in New York, there are also tons of options outside of that — Central Park, Statue of Liberty, museums, Staten Island Ferry, Chelsea Market, the High Line, etc. There are a lot of options for a weekend trip.” — Ostermann and Coomer
“If you’re all about soaking in that’ Vitamin Sea’ while on vacay, try the Maldives. This tropical country is comprised of over 1,000 coral islands. As a Muslim country, you’d be hard-pressed to find alcohol outside of the tourist islands. So live like a local and forgo some of the comforts of Western societies. Immerse yourself in the culture and stay in a more affordable place, as tourist traps are generally more expensive. However, you can still explore these places by ferry if you want to spend some time island hopping.” — Richmond
“A golfer’s dream with some of the best public courses in the U.S. in the same area. There are also hiking trails and a beautiful coastline.” — Ostermann and Coomer
“I’m biased toward India, my home country, especially if you get off the beaten track and explore the unbelievable beauty and culture of the countryside. I recommend
sustainable travel options for a meaningful trip.” — Shivya Nath, travel blogger at The Shooting Star
Triglav National Park, Slovenia
“This stunning park that sits on the Slovenian Alps is the perfect place to reconnect with nature. With the idyllic waterfalls, snowcapped mountains and turquoise streams, your mind is more focused on taking in the sights than getting your buzz on. Dealing with the altitude and hikes will detract you from late nights of drinking! ” — van Dop
“ Though drinking is often legal for non-Muslims, drinking is usually done out of sight behind closed doors in Bangladesh. Rather than be pressured into tavern crawls, wine tastings and beverages on the terrace everywhere you look, you can easily focus on historical sights, tropical sceneries and, best of all, sober exchanges with equally sober locals. The only caveat: You may be pressured to drink copious quantities of sugary — but delicious — tea.” — Alex Reynolds, travelling blogger at Lost With Purpose
Quotes have been edited and condensed for clarity.