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Could these 7 travel experiences help brighten your Dry January?


Time outdoors is a real tonic for those setting out on Dry January.
Time outdoors is a real tonic for those setting out on Dry January.   -   Copyright  AleksandarNakic/Getty
By Lottie Limb

With 2022 upon us, those ambitious resolutions we made before New Year’s Eve are being put to the test.

And after the drunken indulgences of December, ‘Dry January’ is one of the most common. Though COVID-19 once again put a dampener on parties and celebrations around Europe, it’s likely many people kept the drinks flowing at home.

This could make it harder for those determined to cut the habit. While going out to pubs or bars in the evening leaves you open to temptation. But dropping alcohol doesn’t mean you just have to sit tight through the gloomy days of January.

There are plenty of things to do and places to go to have some sober fun - here are our seven favourites.

7. Go on an off-grid adventure

Host Unusual
Find a countryside bolthole and just bring the right food and drink for you (or friends who are also doing Dry January).Host Unusual

Taking yourself off for a remote stay could ensure you start the year on the right path. A lakeside bothy in Scotland or a glamping experience in Ireland’s Donegal might provide the peace and solitude you need.

Escape the allure of alcohol with long walks during the day, and surround yourself with your best intentions - be that a pile of books, a musical instrument, or the kit for a new hobby.

Check out this list of ‘off-grid’ places from Host Unusual for a trip to unplug (and de-glug).

6. Enjoy an escape room with friends

Giving up booze doesn’t mean dodging all social occasions, however. Though alcohol is often the glue that binds an evening together, there are many other ways to unwind with friends.

Before you pack the board games away for another year, why not invite some mates over for a games evening - accompanied by mocktails or other soft drinks.

The market in escape room boxes is booming. Or you could take your code-cracking skills to the next level with a day out at an actual escape room. Budapest, Prague, Berlin, Sofia and the Netherlands have lots of hidden spots to test the little grey cells.

5. Visit the finest art galleries

Sean Pavone/Getty
Brush up on your art history at the Rijksmuseum.Sean Pavone/Getty

For a calmer indoor experience, invite some colour into your January with trips to Europe’s best galleries and museums.

From the Centre Pompidou to Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, there are plenty of photogenic places to pass the time and reacquaint yourself with the continent’s finest treasures.

Swap blurry-eyed nights for a close look at the brilliant photos of Hélène Binet at the Royal Academy in London. Or plan a trip around a painting; such as Gustav Klimt’s last work, Lady with Fan, on display at Vienna’s Belvedere Palace until mid-February.

4. Abstain in style at the spa

Your body is a temple, and you can give it the star treatment it deserves on a relaxing spa break.

Five spa breaks in Europe with breathtaking views can be found in Iceland, Scotland, Switzerland, Austria and Greece. In the UK, a recent list of the most ‘zen’ locations put Devon in first place.

As well as booking a massage and other treatments, some time at the gym might not go amiss - providing the endorphins you need to keep your motivation up.

3. Set sail on a boating trip

Will Perrett/Getty
A narrowboat crossing the Chirk Aqueduct on the Llangollen Canal on the Welsh border.Will Perrett/Getty

Experience life from a different perspective with a boating trip. Cruising along the UK’s network of canals on a narrow boat, for example, could take you to some surprisingly scenic places.

It’s one of the oldest ways to get around, so there are lessons for history-lovers here too. Did you know you can travel across an ancient aqueduct on the Welsh border by boat?

Going in search of new sober experiences could go hand-in-hand with a commitment to slow, sustainable travel in 2022.

2. Throw yourself into positive resolutions

Resolutions that involve giving something up can feel like a chore, but by putting the time you would have spent at the pub towards a positive resolution, January is bound to feel more constructive.

Carving out time for a new hobby can take you to some unusual places - from beautiful libraries to tactile pottery classes or climbing walls, the theatre or opera halls.

1. Reconnect with nature

Let’s face it, it’s not the best time of year for enjoying the great outdoors. But reconnecting with nature is sure to help keep you healthy and committed to your goals.

Set a routine for going out for a sunrise run or sunset walk and you’ll be on track for a joyful 2022. Starting now means you can relish in the lighter, warmer days and more abundant wildlife when spring kicks in.

If you found your Dry January rewarding enough to carry on, dozens more opportunities will crop up as the year passes - like fruit juice making experiences in the summer, open-air cinema nights, yoga retreats and beach trips.