There are a lot of reasons to travel after your heart gets broken. All of the new sights, sounds and smells you encounter on a trip can distract you from the dizzying, all-encompassing pain throbbing in your chest. Traveling can boost your confidence at a time when you’re feeling broken and vulnerable.
Benefits aside, traveling post-split can be a terrible idea if you choose the wrong destination. Going full “Eat Pray Love” in India? Great idea. Spending a week at a major honeymoon magnet? You’re probably better off weeping at home.
When it comes to triggering places to avoid when you’re still healing, here are the ones that come to mind.
Las Vegas may sound like a great place to rebound when your heart feels as though it’s been ripped out of your chest, then lit on fire, and even though it’s out of your chest you can still feel it being burned alive — but beware. Even if you’re with friends, Vegas can be incredibly lonely. Although there’s something for everyone here, you’ll find yourself surrounded by a lot of couples and a lot of sad distractions.
If you’re still hellbent on going to Vegas, don’t end up sobbing on the Strip guzzling down yardsticks of Long Island iced tea. Instead, try seeing Vegas like a local. You can eat, drink and attempt to be merry in neighborhoods like Chinatown, Fremont East and the Arts District.
It’s perfectly possible to have a fantastic time alone in Paris, but it’s referred to as the City of Love for a reason. The city oozes romance from every cobblestone corner, there are lovers drinking wine everywhere you look, and even the architecture manages to looks romantic.
If the sight of beautiful, scarf-wearing people kissing each other’s necks might send you into a grief-racked downward spiral, skip Paris. A better alternative for brokenhearted fans of European food and architecture is Lisbon.
Hawaii is a spectacular place to visit for people who love the outdoors, tropical weather, incredible food, culture and surfing. However, Hawaii is also a destination-wedding and honeymoon magnet. The islands are teeming with couples celebrating their weddings.
Skip the islands altogether while you’re mourning your relationship. Instead, try Tel Aviv, where you can eat and surf just as well, plus distract yourself from the fact that your heart was shattered into a billion pieces: Dance until dawn, thanks to the Israeli city’s world-famous nightlife.
Couples from across the world are pulled to the Greek island of Santorini like moths to a flame. Maybe it’s the twinkling Aegean Sea that shines beyond the cliff-perched towns, or the spectacular sunsets that dazzle. Regardless of the romantic reason, the happy couples are all over.
Dodge the hoards of Instagram husbands dutifully photographing their beaming brides, and opt for a trip elsewhere in Greece. Start with a few days in Athens, nursing your wounds in relaxing hammams and sampling cocktails and fantastic meals. Then get your sun-and-sea fix with a few days in the Cyclades.
Remote island destinations such as Fiji, Bora Bora or the Maldives
Do not, under any circumstances, plan a post-breakup trip to the Maldives or a comparable far-flung island nation where you’re stranded on a resort with nothing but honeymooners and couples celebrating big anniversaries. Sure, you could hole up in your overwater villa and bawl your eyes out. But if you plan to eat dinner outside your quarters, you’re going to be surrounded, perhaps exclusively, by tables of two.
Escape to our planet’s other beach destinations, such as Indonesia, where you can pour your heart out to friendly backpackers who might be on the road for the same reason. A few options include Bali, where you’ll find all of the modern conveniences known to man with a backdrop of tropical jungles and mesmerizing ocean views, or the more remote Gili Islands, where the roads are rough but the natural beauty is just as stunning.
Two words: gondola proposals. Don’t put yourself through the trauma of witnessing that love and joy unfold before your swollen, teary eyes.
That doesn’t mean you have to skip Italy completely. There are other cities there that will, yes, be full of lovers but have lower potential for sending you into a wailing fit in a canal. Like Florence. The Renaissance city has so much to offer besides a close-up of Michelangelo’s “David.” Get lost in the food and flower markets of Sant’Ambrogio, or walk off your pecorino coma on the hiking paths near Piazza Desiderio.
Have you ever seen a commercial for Sandals Resorts? They’re composed of scene after scene of couples walking down the beach holding hands, couples laughing in hot tubs, couples eating dinner alone under the stars. These commercials should serve as a signal that adults-only all-inclusive resorts, like Sandals, are made for pairs. And do you want to suffer at a couples’ paradise in the wake of a broken heart? No. No, you do not.
Save Sandals for your next big relationship, and get swept up in the magic of Mexico’s culture this time around. Choices abound for the despondent to find solace south of the border. For beaches and mezcal, there’s Oaxaca. For endless art and fine dining, there’s Mexico City. For architecture and your Instagram clout, there’s San Miguel de Allende.