By Expedia Team, on July 17, 2013

Expedia 2013 Flip Flop Report

It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s a sharknado? No, silly (but seriously, be ever-vigilant of sharknados). Maybe it’s just a nudist sunbather. Or rather, is that a speedo? Yes, that’s right sports (and nude colony) fans, it’s one of our favorite times of year. To celebrate the long days of summer on the beach, it’s time to launch of the Expedia 2013 Flip Flop Report and all the nudist and shark-related fears that come with it.

The Expedia Flip Flop Report isn’t our quest to settle the question of, “flip-flops or sandals?”, but rather an annual study conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Expedia of the behavior and preference of over 8,000 beachgoers around the world. Because let’s be honest, is there anywhere that’s better for people-watching than the beach? What’s a summer beach trip without its shares of “oohs,” “ahs,” and banana hammocks? 

So what did this year’s study reveal (no pun intended)? Much to our surprise (and some peoples’ disgust), it revealed that wearing a Speedo gets two thumbs up from most of the world. That’s right, Speedos are now globally-approved. 65% of beachgoers worldwide reported finding that Speedo-style bathing suits are “acceptable.” This percentage was highest in France, where 9 out of 10 respondents (91%) were A-Ok with Speedos. U.S. beachgoers, however, were split at 52%. Does that mean you should go out to purchase a pair of Speedos and show some leg? We’ll let you be the judge!

But that’s not all. It would appear that parts of the world, especially Europe, like to let it all hang out. While about one-quarter of beachgoers worldwide are “comfortable” with topless beaches, the 2013 Expedia Flip Flop Report revealed that France is quite a bit more comfortable with toplessness, with 73% of French beachgoers being “somewhat or very comfortable” with topless beaches. However, Germany takes top honors. That’s because nearly one out of every five German beachgoers (17% to be exact) who were surveyed have spent a day at the beach in the buff.

Read all of the findings from the Expedia 2013 Flip Flop Report.

But what about beach safety? For travelers, that’s one of the most important considerations. As it turns out, beachgoers might not be as concerned about what’s beyond the breaking waves, like sharks and jellyfish, but rather more concerned about what lurks on the beach: petty criminals. 54% of Americans cited “having wallet/possessions stolen” as their chief beach fear, with just 7% citing galeophobia, the scientific term for the fear of sharks, as a reason to refused to leave the shore. We admit, though, that the study was conducted before the world knew how dangerous a Sharknado could be, so Singaporeans may be onto to something with 41% refusing to go into the water due to fear of sharks.

Whether these findings will change peoples’ beach habits remains to be seen. What we do know is this: life is a beach, and as long as we can feel sand between our toes and sunshine beating down on our face, we don’t care what you wear (or don’t wear). While planning your next beach getaway though, take advantage of the latest package savings coupon from Expedia and see our Expedia Viewfinder bloggers best beach recommendations around the world.

What’s your favorite thing to do at the beach?