Should I Travel for Rehab?: Pros and Cons

Choosing which alcohol and drug rehab to attend can feel like a big decision. Narrowing down your search may be difficult, especially given how many high-quality addiction treatment programs are out there. But knowing what you are looking for in a rehab can help you choose the right program for you—and that includes whether you stay close to home or travel for rehab.

In this article:

How to Choose Where to Attend Rehab

There are many different factors to consider when choosing the right drug rehab for you and your needs. With over 14,000 U.S. treatment facilities to choose from, the decision may seem daunting at first: should I stay close to home or should I travel for rehab?

Every drug and alcohol rehab has its own unique treatment approach, philosophy, and treatment setting. Some rehabs may have a holistic approach, integrating complementary practices, such as meditation, yoga, and acupuncture, into your treatment plan. Others might take a faith-based approach to addiction recovery, offering prayer circles and religious study groups in addition to therapy. These rehabs are available all over the country, from the beach and mountains to the desert and city. Whether you stay in-state for treatment or choose to travel for rehab, you will benefit from 24/7 care and a highly-structured treatment environment to help you jumpstart your recovery journey.

If you aren’t sure whether you want to stay close to home or travel yet, you may want to begin by checking which rehabs are covered by your insurance plan. Your insurance provider can give you a list of in-network treatment programs, both in state and out. Choosing out of these facilities can help keep your costs down since your plan likely provides at least partial coverage for addiction treatment.

No matter where you choose to attend rehab, you’ll want to makes sure to find a program that specializes in treating your specific addiction, as well as any other needs you may have, such as co-occurring mental health treatment and medical care.

Advantages of Traveling for Rehab

Traveling for rehab broadens your treatment choices quite a bit, especially if you live in a rural area or a small town or city where there aren’t many rehab options. Traveling to a new state or city may give you a more diverse selection so you can ensure you receive high-quality care.

Here are some advantages of traveling for rehab:

  • Exposure to different treatment approaches: If you are open to traveling for rehab, you will be able to access treatment approaches that might not exist near you, such as holistic practices in California.
  • Rediscover your identity: Many people with a substance use disorder lose their identity while using drugs or alcohol. Traveling for rehab can provide you with the time, space, and separation necessary to find yourself again, without depending on loved ones.
  • Separated from triggers and stressors: Traveling out of state for rehab separates you from your everyday using environment and reduces exposure to potential drug-using triggers, as well as unhealthy relationships.
  • Increased privacy: Many people worry about the social and professional consequences of attending drug or alcohol rehab. Traveling for rehab can reduce the chance you’ll be recognized during treatment, ensuring your privacy.
  • Higher chance of completing treatment: Since treatment is voluntary, you may feel tempted to drop out of a rehab close to home, especially if there are triggers or drug-using influences around. Attending rehab far from home may hold you accountable since you can’t easily return home.
  • Opportunity to visit a new place: When you travel for addiction treatment, you have the opportunity to get to know a new place, especially if the rehab you choose integrates recreational or outdoor activities into their treatment plans.
  • Make sober friends: Going away for rehab provides you with the opportunity to meet sober, like-minded friends who can become a part of your support system—especially if you have trouble finding people with your same values close to home.

Disadvantages of Traveling for Rehab

Although there are countless advantages of traveling for substance abuse treatment, going to rehab out of state has some disadvantages as well. These may include:

  • It may be a bit more difficult (though not impossible) for your treatment team to create an aftercare plan in your hometown.
  • It can be challenging for family members and friends to visit or have an active role during your treatment process.
  • The costs associated with traveling for rehab can add up, especially if you are flying.
  • The sober friends you make at an out-of-state rehab won’t be able to provide in-person support when you return home after treatment.
  • You may get homesick at treatment.

Benefits of Staying Local

Staying local for rehab has its advantages too. For instance, receiving treatment in your hometown can save you a lot of money related to travel costs, such as gas or airfare. Here are some other benefits of attending rehab near you:

  • You will be close to friends and family, who can visit you during treatment and provide much-needed support and encouragement.
  • You and your family can attend family therapy together to improve communication, heal broken relationships, and learn boundary-setting.
  • Since your treatment team will be familiar with the area, they’ll be able to make a well-informed aftercare plan for you, including a sober living home, peer support groups, or step-down care in outpatient treatment.

Cons of Attending a Local Rehab

When weighing whether you should travel for rehab, you’ll want to consider the disadvantages of receiving addiction treatment close to home. These may include:

  • You may be choosing a lower quality treatment program without considering other options.
  • You might be tempted to quit the program early, before you’ve made lasting changes in recovery.
  • Loved ones could distract you during your recovery process.
  • Drug dealers or friends you used to use with could distract you or trigger a return to substance use.

Find a High-Quality Rehab

If you need help choosing a rehab program, either close to home or in a different state, you can call our 24/7, confidential helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357) (Info iconWho Answers?) . One of our caring and compassionate treatment support specialists can help you find the right program for you, based on your needs, treatment preferences, and priorities.

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Additional calls will also be forwarded and returned by a quality treatment center within the USA.

Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by Boca Recovery Center, Daylight Recovery Center or another licensed drug and alcohol rehab facility, a paid advertiser on Rehabs.org.

All calls are private and confidential.