Deciding to go to rehab can be a hard decision to make. Deciding where to go for rehab, can be just as difficult (there are over 14,000 drug rehabs in the country). The easiest way to narrow down where to go for rehab is to determine if you want to stay close by with a local rehab center or if traveling for rehab would be beneficial. Both have their merits and drawbacks and can have significant differences in their cost and your experience. Let’s take a closer look. 

Why leave home for rehab?

First, let’s clarify that when we refer to ‘traveling to rehab’, we don’t mean going off to far-flung, exotic places tucked away in the corners of the world. It could simply be a facility located a few hours away in a different part of the state you reside in. In most cases, however, it’s used to describe in- or outpatient rehab in a different state. 

But why would anyone go through the potential hassle of having to get on a plane, train, or bus when there’s probably a great addiction treatment center in a nearby city? One reason might be because a person is traveling to a renowned facility that may be well-regarded for having state-of-the-art treatment, unique therapy modalities, great amenities, or it’s in a desirable location. 

Another key reason why some choose a rehab out-of-state is that being away from home can make the decision feel more real and with the new location comes a fresh start. Internal motivation has a major influence on the outcome of addiction treatment and a change of scenery can get a person excited to leave their old, unhealthy self behind. The idea of traveling and going somewhere new can also be a great selling point for someone reluctant to go to rehab at all. 

Pros of Traveling for Rehab

Research has shown that your environment can play a pretty big role in perpetuating drug use. That’s why sometimes, being close to home isn’t what’s best. If you’re surrounded by familiar places in a city you know your way around or have access to transportation (could be your car or friends that live nearby), it can be harder to put yourself in the mindset that you’re about to embark on a journey that will change your life radically. 

The main benefits of traveling for rehab are:

  • The change of scenery can be exciting and help rehab to be a more enjoyable experience
  • Separated from negative influences or triggers (your favorite bar, a toxic ex-spouse, drug-using friends)
  • Being away from familiar surroundings makes it harder to abandon the program and just go back to your usual routine
  • A more immersive recovery experience since you’ll probably be staying on-site or at a recovery-specific housing
  • Unique experiences depending on the location

Cons of Traveling for Rehab

The primary reason why a person would choose a local rehab center is for logistical reasons. Without the need for major travel, going local means lower cost, fewer disruptions to your life, and you can begin treatment right away. Unsurprisingly, these directly reflect some of the greatest drawbacks to choosing a rehab that’s far from home. 

  • It’s expensive. In addition to the cost of travel itself then there are auxiliary costs like housing, food, or childcare if you’re a parent
  • Majorly disruptive to your current routine as you may be uprooted for months at a time
  • Loss of income if you need to take extended time away from work
  • Requires more preparation to begin treatment. When willpower is passing, the longer it takes between agreeing to go to rehab and getting in the door can increase the odds you change your mind and back out
  • Away from your support network of family and friends. You may feel lonely when you first relocate

Should I travel for addiction treatment?

Deciding where to go for rehab is a balancing act of weighing what’s most important to you: cost, convenience, access to friends and loved ones, being in a fun or exciting location, or maybe experiencing treatment at a particular facility. 

If this is your first time going to rehab, or if your addiction is mild to moderate, you might find that local treatment is perfectly effective. However, if you’ve tried multiple times and treatment doesn’t seem to stick, switching to a new locale could be just what you need to get excited about getting sober.

If you or a loved one is looking for addiction treatment far away or in your hometown, you can find both options in our national drug rehab directory.