Dry Tripping: A sober curious travel trend to try

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While wine tours and sundowners are still popular choices for tourism, more and more South Africans are embracing “dry tripping” – where travellers choose to explore destinations and experiences without the involvement of alcohol.

But why is this travel trend causing such a stir? Buckle up for a sobering (pun intended) exploration of this exciting trend.

Dry tripping: An international travel trend

This shift towards mindful living and seeking enjoyment beyond alcohol is not only taking place in South Africa – it’s a global travel trend. New terms like “sober curious” and “mindful drinking” reflect a growing awareness of the downsides of excessive drinking and a desire for more conscious choices.

Research shows that this movement is especially popular among Gen Z and Millennials, who are leading the charge towards a more balanced lifestyle. Books like “We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life” have become manifestos for the sober curious.

The tourism industry has also taken note, with the emergence of dry tripping (and “sober tourism”, as it’s also known). Specialised tour companies cater to travellers who prefer to explore the world without the influence of alcohol, and travel agents are brushing up on the best “dry” restaurants, destinations, and experiences around the globe.

What to expect from SA’s dry tripping scene?

You certainly won’t find yourself sipping a soda water in the corner if you choose to go ‘dry’ on your next local getaway. The mocktail revolution has arrived, and it’s anything but boring. Mixologists across the country are shaking and stirring up non-alcoholic concoctions that rival their alcoholic counterparts in complexity and creativity – plus, they’re usually infinitely more affordable.

Take Ferryman’s Irish Tavern at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, for example. Their Blue Lagoon mocktail, a delicious mix of Blue Lagoon syrup, lime, and lemonade, is a refreshing twist on a classic. Or head to Marble Restaurant in Johannesburg, where their No Drama Llama – a blend of pineapple juice, almond syrup, citrus, and grenadine – is as playful and mouthwatering as its name suggests.

But it’s not just about the drinks. The local culinary scene is stepping up to the plate with innovative non-alcoholic pairings that enhance the flavours of local cuisine. Think multi-course meals where each dish is complemented by a unique, alcohol-free beverage (featuring ingredients, like kombucha, fruit shrubs, teas, vinegars, and high-quality mineral waters like S.Pellegrino), that add an extra zing to every nibble.

For example, this year, Cape Town’s FYN restaurant introduced a new offering of half pairings, allowing diners to sample both the wine and non-alcoholic pairings with every dish on the restaurant’s renowned tasting menu.

Planning your dry trip

Planning your dry tripping adventure is a breeze with Flight Centre South Africa and its Travel Experts. All of these experts are well-versed in the growing world of sober travel and can curate personalised itineraries that cater to your specific interests, budgets, and preferences.

Whether you’re dreaming of a relaxing beach getaway, an exciting safari, or a cultural city tour, Flight Centre’s Travel Experts can handpick dry-friendly accommodations, activities, and experiences that ensure you have an unforgettable time, sans alcohol. They’ll also share insider tips on the best non-alcoholic foodie spots and where to find them, ensuring you don’t miss out on the unique flavours of your destination.

As younger generations embrace moderation and prioritise experiences over excess, it’s clear that dry tripping isn’t a passing fad – it’s a refreshing extension of the modern balanced lifestyle, and it’s here to stay.

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