7 Reasons Why I Can’t Be Bothered to Drink (A Lot) Abroad

December 6, 2013
7 Reasons Why I Can't Be Bothered to Drink (A Lot) Abroad


foreign-correspondent badge final There are all sorts of reasons why people pack their bags and venture off to new places. Some people are interested in meandering through unknown streets, and some want to return to an old familiar setting. Some people want to escape the humdrum of everyday life, and some want to create an entirely new existence. Some people want to be engulfed in an enriching and healthy cultural experience, and some just want to get drunk and party.

While I’m all for engaging in the occasional raucous shindig, I just can’t logically allow myself to participate that much while I’m traveling out of the country. I’m aware that this makes me sound like the biggest wet blanket in the world, but before you cast me off as a loser and social pariah, check out my reasons for remaining (mostly) alcohol abstinent abroad, and ways to stay safe if you choose to indulge in your wild side.

Why I Can’t Be Bothered to Drink (A Lot) Abroad

1. It’s a huge money waster.

This is probably the biggest reason why I’ve refrained from consuming a bunch of drinks on this particular trip, a low-budget backpacking journey. The cheapest 12 oz. Chiang, the standard go-to beer in Thailand, is 35 baht and the most expensive mixed drinks I saw in the southern islands are 200 baht. When the cost of two beers is equivalent to a meal I simply can’t rationalize squandering that a couple times a week.

And let’s be honest, what fun is it to down just two beers and call it a night? A night out most often results in much more than two drinks. And Thailand is most likely one of the cheapest places to buy booze! Traveling in Europe or Australia would severely drain your travel savings. When I’m traveling for an extended period time on a limited budget with no income, it just doesn’t financially make sense to spend that much on nonessential pleasures.

2. Hangovers are day wasters.

On both short and long-term trips, usually the main objective is to do and see as much as possible. Well, when you wake up the morning after a night of partying with a pounding head, nauseous stomach and eyes foggy with sleep deprivation, you most likely won’t want to hop on that crowded tour bus or take that long trek.

Depending on the activity and your travel plans, you may be unable to reschedule, irrevocably cheating yourself out of doing something really cool. Sleeping in with a nasty hangover can be especially disadvantageous if you have an early bus, plane or train tocatch. Missing pre-booked transportation can be costly and inconvenient.

3. Fitting in with the party people can be troublesome.

While on vacation, many people want to spend their money, indulge in way too many drinks, be loud, irresponsible and boisterous, find a fun foreign one-time fling and turn it into a drunken escapade to brag to all their friends about. And if this is how you get your kicks, who am I to judge? Keep on doing what you like, but I think I’ll pass and do what I like. One of my favorite parts of traveling is meeting fellow adventurers, and hearing about their backgrounds, the places they’ve been, and how they make this lifestyle work for them.

But these conversations rarely happen at a bar when you have to compete with loud music, increasingly distracted and slurred speech, and men trying to get in your pants. That last one is probably the toughest obstacle. So I think I would much rather have these conversations in a calmer setting, preferably in a cafe over tea, where hands can be kept to themselves and topics can remain more dignified than how much beer you can chug.

4. Keeping your wits about you is imperative.

You know how your mothers always tell you to be careful and not to talk to strangers? Well I can’t reinforce this enough. Sure, it’s fun to strike up a conversation at a bar and do a little harmless flirting, but no matter where in the world you are, this could put you in a potentially dangerous situation. The threat is significantly increased when you’re drunk. Suddenly leaving your friends, listening to sweet nothings tinged with an adorable accent, and following a cute stranger back to his hotel seems like a romantic rendezvous. But, THIS IS NOT A GOOD IDEA! And it’s really quite scary.

Even if he doesn’t have malicious intent, you still end up in a place you are unfamiliar with, in a country you are unfamiliar with, and usually without a cell phone to call your friends. This could make for an extremely awkward and extended morning-after. Instead, use the buddy system religiously, and make sure you always have a friend in view.

 Why I Can't Be Bothered to Drink (A Lot) Abroad

5. Consuming all of those odious extra calories is a waste.

Trying new foods is a big-time priority for me. In Thailand especially, there is so much deliciousness to sample, and I would never want to stifle the new flavorful experiences available to my palette. Unfortunately, this is at times detrimental to my waistline. That and being too undisciplined to keep up a good workout routine while traveling makes staying in shape a difficult feat. Beer and mixed drinks exponentially add to the calorie intake, without offering any new tastes.

6. Possibility of injury is heightened.

Booze has often been referred to as liquid courage, a more flattering term than accurate. As mentioned before, your discretion diminishes as quickly as your feeling of invincibility grows, leading to a whole assortment of ways you could hurt yourself. Between alcohol poisoning, stumbling around, and attempting daring new tricks, it’s pretty easy to subject yourself to injury. If you don’t have traveler’s insurance this could be a serious financial issue, or it could even cut your trip short. These are huge risk factors to consider when you find yourself reaching intoxication.

Why I Can’t Be Bothered to Drink (A Lot) Abroad.

7. Getting dolled up is not worth the effort–or extra luggage.

For longer term backpacking trips, the amount of space you have for clothes is extremely limited and it is necessary to bring versatile, more practical attire. This eliminates slinky nightwear, heels, accessories, and makeup. I certainly don’t want to cart around extra pounds on my back just to look like a stunner and attract attention I don’t even want for a few nights out.

So you see, all the baggage that goes along with participating in the party atmosphere just isn’t worth it to me. If you don’t mind the effort, have saved up enough money to partake in the boozing festivities, and feel you are responsible enough to make wise decisions even when under the influence, go for it. Maybe it will be the rare occasion that I decide to not be so practical, and we can party like rockstars together.


Photos for 7 Reasons Why I Can’t Be Bothered to Drink (A Lot) Abroad by Unsplash. 

About Mandi Schmitt

I am a world wide traveler currently calling San Diego, CA my home. Dissatisfied with typical vacation traveling and the conventional lifestyle, I have endeavored to teach, study, intern, and live abroad as much as possible. No matter what comes along, I am determined to sustain my nomadic tendencies.

One thought on “7 Reasons Why I Can’t Be Bothered to Drink (A Lot) Abroad

  1. April 1, 2014

    Haha Mandi, these are too true. I try to keep these things in mind when I’m traveling as well, although that doesn’t always work out so well 🙂

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