Travelling Drunk: The Dangers of Excessive Drinking While on Holiday

With summer approaching, people are finalising their holiday plans. Many will travel to foreign countries where fun in the sun is often combined with alcohol and parties. But excessive drinking while travelling can lead to many unforeseen dangers. We discuss here how you can better ensure that you have a good vacation instead of a disastrous one.

drunk travelling beach party

This summer many people around the globe will pick up their backpack, buy a plane ticket, and head to a foreign land in search of adventure – and parties.

A beer at lunch? – “Why not? We are on vacation!”
A beer while waiting for the train? – “Why not? We are on vacation!”
An all-night party serving unlimited alcohol? – “Why not? We are on vacation!”

While partying on holiday can be fun, and even help us relax, it can also lead to excess drinking – so much so that many people end up being drunk for most of their trip abroad. This poses many dangerous risks both during travel and once they return home, including an increased risk of developing an addiction.

Dangers and Risks of Excessive Drinking While Travelling

For many, travelling and drinking seem to go hand-in-hand, especially those who are younger. While having a couple of drinks may help you relax a bit, travelling while drunk can pose many dangers. While drinking can be dangerous, of course, even at home; the threat becomes magnified when you are in a city or town where you are unfamiliar with your surroundings and know few or no people. A UK ad campaign warns travellers to remember that there is ‘another side to paradise.’

Here we have listed some of the dangers that can occur when you drink in excess while on holiday.

1. Traveller’s medical insurance may not cover you.

Many people do not realise that most travel medical insurance companies will not cover claims that involve your intoxication.

The clause may read like this:

“We will not pay under any circumstances if you were under the influence of any intoxicating liquor or drugs, except a drug prescribed to you by a Medical Adviser, and taken in accordance with their instructions.”

What this means is that if you get drunk at a full-moon party in Thailand and decide to give the burning jump rope a try and proceed to burn the flesh off your arms and legs, you may have to cover those medical bills by yourself.

Of course, each case is looked at individually and every insurance company has different policies, but it is better to be safe than sorry and limit your alcohol intake while travelling to ensure that your travel medical insurance will be there if you need it.

2. Loss of important documents and belongings.

Losing your purse or wallet is something that can happen anywhere, and it often does for those who drink excessively. Losing important items such as money, credit cards and passports while travelling abroad can be devastating.

Imagine a situation where you are in a foreign country, and you have no passport and no access to money. You will have to first get yourself to your local embassy and then find a way to financially support yourself while you wait for your new passport, which in some countries can take weeks. One night of ‘fun’ can easily ruin the rest of your vacation, or worse.

3. Getting in to fights or arrested.

Unfortunately, after having a few too many drinks, being polite and in control is not in the forefront of some people’s minds. Being intoxicated while amid your own culture is one thing, but it is important to remember that different cultures may find your drunken behaviour obnoxious and even insulting, which can lead to problems.

While travelling abroad, you can never be sure exactly who you are dealing with (let alone offending) and what they may be capable of. As for getting arrested, it is important to remember that foreign laws may be far stricter than what you are used to, or expect. You may receive a sentence that could drain your bank account or worse, leave you stranded in a foreign jail. This will not exactly be the holiday you had in mind.

4. You become vulnerable to crime and violence.

When intoxicated, your ability to use logical reasoning diminishes. Taking a ride from a stranger or sharing drinks with locals you do not know may sound like a fun way to get some cultural experience, but it is also an excellent opportunity for criminals to take advantage of you. Maintaining your sobriety is a better way to ensure that you always make educated and reasonable decisions that leave you less vulnerable to scams, crime and violence.

5. Spiked drinks.

This is a serious threat all over the world, so always keep your drink covered and within eyesight to ensure that nobody spikes your drink with anything that can render you drugged up or unconscious. The more you drink, the more likely you are to forget about doing this, and you may leave your drink susceptible to being spiked.

6. Dehydration.

Especially when travelling in hot climates, getting drunk can quickly leave you dehydrated, resulting in severe medical risks. If you are going to drink while travelling, be sure that you consume adequate amounts of water.

7. Increased risk of developing addiction.

While addiction does not exactly happen overnight, extended periods of travelling, where getting drunk is a frequent activity, can rapidly increase your chances of developing alcohol addiction. This is especially true in the case of extended travel that lasts one to several months. Many travellers find it very difficult to stop drinking even after returning home – setting themselves up for alcohol addiction.

Avoiding the Urge to Travel Drunk

When buses or planes are delayed, you may feel that cracking open a few beers or travelling drunk will make the journey more enjoyable. Instead of drinking, explore some alternatives. Sit back and enjoy the moment; take in the scenery and live in the now. Getting impatient for that next bus? Try a bit of mindfulness meditation to clear your mind. Think you need to have a beer (or two or three) at every meal? Try a delicious local smoothie or fresh juice instead.

Not only will you avoid the dangers associated with being drunk while travelling in a foreign country, you will avoid the hangovers and will be able to fully appreciate the scenery, culture and excursions that you paid so much money to experience.

If you or someone you know is currently dealing with an addiction, we at The Cabin Chiang Mai strive to provide effective integrative addiction treatment. Trained addiction specialists provide advanced and comprehensive addiction treatment through our unique Recovery Zones model. This ensures holistic emotional repair and growth that will allow you to live a life of long-term addiction recovery.

Remember that addiction is a disease and is nothing to be ashamed of. If you would like more information about addiction treatment, or are interested in a free and no-obligations assessment for you or someone close to you, contact us to get started on the path to the freedom of long-term recovery.

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