Sorry folks, Valentine’s Day is over, and half of the couples you saw flooding your Instagram feed with #bae #forever will be broken up by summer. Oh, you were one of the people that posted a gratuitous kissing selfie? Well, we sincerely wish you the best of luck in your romantic endeavors — but perusing airfares wouldn’t hurt, in case you have to make a quick escape.
Whether you’ve just been dumped, plan on dropping a big bomb on your partner soon, or can’t imagine this relationship outlasting cuffing season, getting out of town and experiencing something new is one of the healthiest, most beneficial ways to move on from a failed relationship. You can jumpstart your brain with bungee jumping, eat your troubles away, or go somewhere to feel sexy in the sun — all of which make for a better rebound than Tinder. Here are 10 great options for your post-breakup vacation.
Get your adrenaline pumping again in New Zealand.
After a breakup, sometimes your brain just goes into stagnation. You enter a time where all you want to do is sit on the couch and think about what’s wrong with you, what’s wrong with them, what’s wrong with the new season of Westworld. And that is not acceptable. The best way to jumpstart your brain into thinking about other things is flooding it with adrenaline, and nowhere will you do that better than in New Zealand.
Introduce yourself to whitewater rafting on the only-slightly-terrifying Tongariro River, or go all out and raft a 20-foot waterfall on the Kaituna. You can hurdle toward the ground with only a bungee cord attached to you in the birthplace of bungee in Queenstown, or scale a via ferrata to a waterfall in Wanaka. All over the islands, you’ll find stuff like hiking active volcanoes, skiing down cliffs, and skydiving over wine country, all of which will have you going home with a brain that’s recharged and onto other things.
Get mindful in India.
Yes, ok, every sad newly single soul who read Eat, Pray, Love is probably looking at airfare to India right now too. But you know what? It wouldn’t be so popular if there wasn’t something to it. Skip the big cities and get out into the serene countryside where you can try a yoga retreat or go temple hopping down south in Tamil Nadu or Mysore.
If you want to clean out your system, India has the best vegetarian and vegan food in the world, and if you’re ok with the hot stuff, the combination of peppers and meat-free flavors will leave you feeling purified of your past relationship. Once you’re done with your meditations, Intrepid Travel can take you on the first-ever vegan food tour of India, which will take you eight days from New Delhi to Jaipur to Agra, trying spicy animal-free delicacies from places you’d never otherwise find.
Get out and party in Cartagena.
Though self-medicating your way through a breakup isn’t ever really advisable, in this colonial city on the coast of Colombia you can have the wildest nights of your life or the calmest week you’ve had in years. The walled old city is rich in colorful architecture and cobblestone streets, where you can spend your days learning about conquistadors before retreating to Playa Blanca or Punta Arena for a relaxing afternoon on a Caribbean Beach.
As night falls, watch the sunset from the top of the city walls with happy hours drinks at Café Del Mar, then enjoy a leisurely feast at La Vitrola where the miles-long menu offers plenty of ways to have an unforgettable meal for under $40. Then it’s time to explore the nightlife, where you’ll literally dance until the sun comes back up over the walls. Given the Colombian penchant for hospitality, you’ll likely find yourself watching it with new friends who won’t let the party end for a few more hours.
Get lost in the wilderness in Dominica.
Heading to the Caribbean to sip fruity drinks on the beach after a breakup seems like a pretty obvious choice. But for a restless soul who needs more stimulation than a piña colada can provide, delve a little deeper into the region with a trip to Dominica. The wildest, most untamed island in the region has a 115-mile trail that traverses the island, most of which is back up and running just over a year after the destruction of Hurricane Maria. Along the trail, you’ll find yourself hiking through thick jungle to massive tropical waterfalls, with few other tourists to interrupt your communing with nature.
Even off the trail, Dominica is full of ass-kicking hikes that leave you in slices of tropical heaven, where you’ll appreciate the power of nature before basking in its wonders. With friendly locals and cheap prices at bars and restaurants, you’ll be able to unwind after a day of roughing it for almost nothing. After a trip to Dominica, you’ll walk away with newfound awe at the resilience of planet Earth and realize that if nature can rebound this quickly, so can you.
Get healthy in Tuscany.
“Tuscany??” You say in amazement. “You mean that place with all the food and wine and restaurants that stuff you with carbs? Sounds more like a place I’d go to eat away my problems.”
And you can certainly treat it that way. But part of the Italian paradox — where they consume loads of carbs, cheeses, meats, and wine yet never gain weight — is the nature around them. In Tuscany, before you enjoy the delicious bounty you can spend the morning on walking tours of the hills then take an afternoon cooking class before swimming in the ocean at sunset. Eating fresh vegetables and clean, unprocessed food from some of the best soil in the world will leave you looking and feeling healthier than you have in years. So when you get back from vacation and people ask how you’re doing, it won’t be a post-breakup cover when you say, “Honestly, I’ve never felt better.”
Get sexy back in Miami.
Is spending a weekend in South Beach a total post-breakup cliché? Absolutely. But now is no time to worry about being on the cutting edge of travel, and for feeling wanted again after a nasty split, Miami will do wonders for your self-esteem. Yes, you can spend the day being your best-tanned self then refreshing your wardrobe with a retail spree in the Design District or Bal Harbour. Then spend the night mingling with the beautiful people at mega-clubs like LIV and E11even.
But if you don’t want to deal with doorman judgment and a 24-hour fashion show, Miami has far more approachable ways to feel sexy too. The Latin beat that permeates the city will have you salsa dancing at all hours, from Ball & Chain in Little Havana to Salsa Mia in South Beach. You can relax poolside and enjoy light cocktails in a garden at the Broken Shaker or at a swanky rooftop pool at the One Hotel. Miami is a place where just about everyone can find a way to feel glamorous for a weekend. And way too good for whomever it was you left back home.
Get inspired by seeing the northern lights.
Depending on who you were dating, sometimes your personal travel bucket list takes a bit of a hiatus when you have to consider things like “other people’s schedules” and “where somebody else wants to go.” And if going to Arctic extremes in the dead of winter wasn’t your ex’s idea of a vacation, now is the perfect time to go take that freezing cold trip you’d always wanted.
While the northern lights are never a guarantee, heading up to Finland, Alaska, or the Yukon Territory in Canada during the darkest days of the year can be poetic. Because as you, dear singleton, now find yourself in a dark place, the bright electrical storms that illuminate the cold winter sky remind you that beautiful colors and breathtaking moments can still be found in the harshest of environments.
Get it all in Peru.
If your inherent indecisiveness is why you’ve found yourself in this whole newly single mess, Peru is the place to go. For a cultural immersion that reminds you nothing of life back home, it’s an ideal place for a homestay in a local village or even with a native tribe. Want to learn history, hoping to never repeat it? Explore the ancient civilization of Machu Picchu.
If you prefer to eat your way through a breakup, you can do it in Peru without packing on the pounds by smashing ceviches in some of the best restaurants in South America in Lima. Or if you’re looking to get your blood pumping again but New Zealand seems too far, you can trek the Inca Trail, hike the Andes, and encounter exotic animals all over the Amazon jungle. Or get lost in the marvelous architecture of European-inspired Cusco. Trying it all, you won’t even have time to feel sad, and you’ll return home with way better things to talk about than your failed relationship.
Get generous by giving back pretty much anywhere.
Meeting good, kind people is crucial after any breakup. They’ll be sympathetic and support you when you’re down and also remind you there are people out there better than your ex. Serving the world is the perfect place to meet those types of people and feel internally grateful for your life at the same time.
Service tourism — whether it’s helping build schools in Central America, tending coffee farms in Asia, or even working with elephants in Nepal — is guaranteed to give you perspective on life that keeps you from wallowing in self-pity. From Habitat for Humanity to community outreach at the Four Seasons in Costa Rica, voluntourism opportunities can be found everywhere. The destination isn’t as important as the intention, which will leave you feeling better about life when you return.
Get a new perspective on your hometown.
Naked Eyes really summed up the pain of visiting all your familiar haunts post-breakup when they crooned “There’s Always Something There to Remind Me.” But assuming you live in a large enough city, there’s also plenty, to paraphrase Audioslave, that doesn’t remind you of anything.
Book yourself a weekend in a cool new hotel in a part of town you never visit. Then make a list of all the fun museums, activities, and attractions in your city that you’ve always wanted to visit but never did when you were in your coupled-up rut. Hit a new coffee shop for breakfast and new restaurants for dinner. And by the end of your staycation, you’ll have a whole new list of favorite places that have nothing to do with your ex.