5 Tips for Staying Sober on a Business Trip

by Rebecca A. Watson on June 19, 2016

in Recovery, travel, vlogs

Before I started my new job, I thought my advice for staying sober during vacation was enough for anyone looking to maintain a lucid outlook during a business trip. Sure, there were a few differences, the most notable being that you are there for work, rather than play, but wouldn’t that make it easier?


Because team building can be fun, but it’s still work, which likely means fewer drinks.

Turns out that is hardly true. I have gone on a few work trips now, Geschäftsreise auf Deutsch, and while some of the tips I give in my holiday post do work, the two aren’t identical.

This is evidenced by a group dinner I went to, where when I asked the waiter for something non-alcoholic to drink, he said I could have what was on the table. Which was wine. (Maybe Spaniards don’t think wine has alcohol in it?)

At any rate, I made a video on my last trip of a few things I thought of and thought I would share it with you. We were in Mallorca (I know! But we really did work ridiculous hours most every day.) and there were plenty of opportunities to drink and plenty of times to practice my will-power.

Case in point: At one dinner, the servers kept putting wine and champagne in front of me and I kept refusing until finally a colleague said rather loudly, “The lady doesn’t drink!” I was equal parts mortified and grateful. This sober thing can be a challenge, even a few years in.

That being said, there were a few opportunities to enjoy the beauty of the island as well.

That being said, there were a few opportunities to enjoy the island as well.

And while I made this at about midnight after a few days of working long hours and meeting new colleagues (mostly in German as well!), I think it’s got some valuable points. So watch it and tell me what you think!

Main points for those of you not interested in watching the video:

  1. Figure out what you will tell people, because they will ask.
  2. Have a drink order planned in advance.
  3. If possible, arrive late (skip the “drinks and snacks”) and leave early (don’t get a nightcap afterward).
  4. Say no to evenings out with colleagues when it’s not mandatory.
  5. Get an accountability partner.

That’s it everyone! Make sure to read my other posts about recovery, and share your comments below about what you do to avoid booze during business travel.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Faylinn September 20, 2016 at 4:14 pm

This weekend, I have to go on a business trip and have been stressing about how I am going to stay sober. I am trying to abstain from alcohol, because I have realized that it is a bit of an addiction for me. Because of that, I really like your idea about saying no to evenings out with colleagues. However, I might tell a couple of my colleagues about this plan in advance so that they know that they shouldn’t ask me.


Rebecca A. Watson October 1, 2016 at 4:03 pm

Hey Faylinn … it is all about planning. I hope it worked out for you!


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