Ah, vacation. The sun on your face, a light breeze in the air, and - a drink in your hand? It tends to be the usual cliche in the media at least. Years of watching films, reading books, or even consuming advertisements have taught us that if you're on vacation you need to have some form of alcohol to enjoy yourself because that's peak relaxation. Yet, as anyone knows, having a few drinks to have fun at a party or at home tends to be relatively safe depending on the situation you're in. But how does this translate to traveling abroad, especially when you're by yourself?
Location, Location, Location
First and foremost, your desire to drink abroad (or not) is likely going to be influenced by where you're going. This can translate into two main criteria: safety and culture. So let's start with the biggest factor that may influence your decision to drink.
Whenever you're traveling alone, you should research your destination beforehand. It's something I've mentioned before and something I will shout from the rooftops from now until forever. One of the first things you should look into is the safety of the county, city, and neighborhoods or districts you plan to visit. Not just sweeping generalizations, but actual information on crime rates if you can find them. Don't read too much into some of the statistics, but be aware of what some of the more common issues are. Does theft happen often? Have stabbings been on the rise? Are the local law enforcement corrupted?
This is all vital information that not only helps with your interest in drinking but your general safety when traveling the area. You should also pay extra attention to how people like you are treated in the area. If targeting or racism is an issue towards your gender or race you'll want to be hyper-aware and I don't think anyone would recommend drinking while traveling alone in that scenario.
Depending on where you're from originally, this might be something you're already familiar with. The culture around drinking can vary greatly depending on the country, or even the area, you're visiting. If you're visiting a country where drinking alone, or drinking at all, isn't widely accepted then the decision to drink while traveling solo is an easy one. But you might find that the area you're visiting has a vibrant nightlife or positive drinking culture, even around drinking alone. It's worth looking into before you depart so you can have a good idea of what you're getting into.
Hold Your Liquor
Knowing how you handle drinking will give you a better idea of if you should drink alone. Are you a social drinker? Do you get into fights when you've had one too many? When you get drunk do you tend to get sick? All of these are important notes to keep in mind when making your decision. If you have any doubts about your ability you shouldn't risk it, it's better to keep your wits about you when possible.
It's also important to mention that, when traveling alone, you should do your best to not be too inebriated. While having a few drinks is fine for having a good time, it can get dicey to drink dangerously no matter where you are.
Be Aware of Where
Research the area you're headed to before you arrive. Learn where the nearest police stations and hospitals are in case of an emergency. Know the signs of alcohol poisoning or drink tampering so that you can seek care as soon as possible. If something feels off, you feel unsafe, or you're not sure then seek help at a safe location.
Should You Drink During Solo Travel?
Ultimately the answer is up to you. A trip doesn't have to involve heavy, or any, amounts of drinking for you to have a good time. But if you do choose to indulge in a few alcoholic beverages make sure to do so responsibly. Always know where you can get help if you need it, just like you would at home in case of an emergency. If you're nervous about the possibility of drink tampering there are plenty of items out there you can use and bring with you to check your drink. You can also bring items such as pepper spray or other self-defense devices if you're nervous about traveling alone after drinking. However, you'll need to check local laws to make sure you can legally carry these items where you'll be.
When safety is your number one concern, it might be best to skip the drinks. But it is possible to drink safely if you know your own limits and are aware of your surroundings should you choose to indulge!