Eating Disorder Recovery, Family and Vacation Planning

When it comes to vacations, this is something that many of us typically look forward to and anticipate with excitement. Taking a break from the normal day to day schedule can be a welcomed escape, whether it be for a weekend or an extended period of time.

Going to a different place, experiencing new cultures and cuisines can also be an exciting part about traveling and planning vacations. However, for someone who is recovering from an eating disorder, vacations can take on a whole new meaning.

Planning a Vacation While in Recovery

If you have a family member who is recovering from an eating disorder, you may wonder how to plan a vacation that allows them to feel included while also supporting and maintaining what they need for their recovery. Before planning a vacation with your loved one, be sure that they are in fact cleared for travel and able to take extended time away from treatment.

Vacations should ideally be planned when your family member has been stabilized in outpatient care for a significant period of time. Once this has been established, you can safely begin making plans.

Rosewood Click-To-Call Banner


The most important thing is to communicate openly and honestly with your family member and understand what things would best support their continued recovery efforts, possible triggers to avoid, and how you might be able to help them if and when needed. It might be easier to start with a shorter trip to begin with, especially if your loved one is recently out of treatment.

Trying places that are closer to home for a weekend trip can give your family member the opportunity to learn how to be flexible within a different framework. Your family member will also need to maintain consistency with meals and snacks, so be sure to discuss this with them and take this into consideration when planning your trip.

Planning For Success

While vacations are typically a welcomed thing, this may feel entirely different for your family member in recovery. They might fear being outside their normal structure, in different environments, or not having the resources and support around them they are used to.

Remember, maintaining an open channel of communication is key to having a successful trip. Encourage your family member to discuss vacation plans with their treatment team to be able to plan ahead and plan for potential challenges . Try to focus on the quality time you will be spending together as a family and offer extra grace to your loved one as they continuing working through their recovery journey.

Community Discussion – Share Your Thoughts Here!

If you are in recovery, what things were helpful to you in planning for a vacation or trip?

Crystal Headshot 2About the Author: Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves as the Director of Content and Social Media for Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope, where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work.

As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH/AH and nutrition private practice.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on January 3, 2017
Published on