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'Dry tripping' extends Dry January into alcohol-free travel

By Dana Forsythe
Non-alcoholic Budweiser Zero beer was served at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Doha, Qatar. Part of the non-alcoholic travel trend is linked to destinations where drinking is not as culturally ingrained. File Photo by Chris Brunskill/UPI
Non-alcoholic Budweiser Zero beer was served at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Doha, Qatar. Part of the non-alcoholic travel trend is linked to destinations where drinking is not as culturally ingrained. File Photo by Chris Brunskill/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Trading in beers and shots for mocktails and straight-up seltzer, some younger travelers are taking Dry January one step further and "dry tripping" -- traveling around the world without consuming alcohol.

Melanie Fish, chief trend tracker for Expedia Brands, who coined the term, said half of travelers interviewed by the company said they would be interested in staying at a hotel that offers easily accessible alcohol-free drinks like mocktails or nonalcoholic beer.

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In a post on Expedia, Fish said a combination of factors, including increasingly "sober curious" parents, the wellness boom and popularity of destinations where drinking isn't so culturally ingrained -- Dubai and Egypt, for example -- have contributed to the trend.

According to a Drizly study, the non-alcoholic drinks category grew 62% year-over-year in 2023.

In a survey by BevAlc Insights, 63% of respondents reported they have tried or intend to try zero-proof beverages in 2024, and a third specifically plan to drink mocktails.

"This coincides with the soaring growth we have seen in the non-alcoholic spirits category in particular in the past year," Liz Paquette, head of consumer insights at Drizly, said in a post on the company's website.

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A 2020 study found 20-somethings are drinking less than previous generations and the trend is expected to continue.

"Hotels.com found two-thirds of American travelers are interested in staying in hotels that offer alcohol-free options and 60% of respondents said they planned to book a detox trip in 2024," Fish said.

Hotels are looking to attract these consumers by getting creative with the range of activities being offered, she said.

Dry January started to spread in popularity in 2012 and has become a household term for abstaining from drinking for the month of January.

In the past few years, some cities have welcomed bars and stores that specialize in non-alcoholic drinks.

Opening late last year in Montreal, Hochelaga's Apéro à Zéro, offers full-bodied flavors of wine and chilled beer without the intoxicating effects. Earlier in January, Boston got its own version in Dray Drinks, located in the city's South End neighborhood.

A 2016 study published in the National Library of Medicine found positive physiological effects to be gained from taking part in the exercise, including improvements in concentration and sleep patterns, as well as "having reduced cholesterol and lower glucose levels, lower blood pressure, weight loss overall and losing 40% of their liver fat."

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There is no safe amount of alcohol that doesn't affect health, according to the World Health Organization.

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