By Sarah Waffle Gavin, on February 10, 2015

Romance on vacation: The Expedia Heat Index

Lovers all over America will tell you that roses, chocolates, and heart-swooning date nights are some of the things that make Valentine’s Day special year after year. But according to data from our 2015 Expedia Heat Index study, released today in conjunction with GfK, an independent global market research company, travel is a big part of the annual romantic holiday, too.

Results of the study indicated all the ways travel impacts American romance. The most resounding takeaways: We are less inhibited (think: nakedness and hot-tub sex) and more open to short-term flings on the road.

Study data also indicated that Americans think Paris, France, is the world’s “sexiest” and “most romantic” city. Other destinations on both lists: Las Vegas, Cancun, St. Thomas, and Barcelona.

Nitty gritty details

Expedia’s work on this study indicates that travel does funny things to our romantic selves. Consider the following data points:

  • 52 percent of respondents said they would be “somewhat or very likely” to propose on vacation, while only 43 percent who said they would be “not very/not at all likely” to do the same.
  • 28 percent of respondents report being “more intimate” with a partner on vacation, while 39 percent said it “depends on the location.”
  • 7 percent of respondents have either ended or considered ending a relationship while on holiday with that partner.
  • 29 percent of respondents consider “1 to 3 months” as the appropriate time in a new relationship to take an overnight trip, while 27 percent believe 4-8 months is more appropriate.

In addition to these findings, I’d say the data about inhibitions are most surprising. Only 5 percent of respondents have gone topless at the beach on vacation?!?! How can’t more people care about tan lines? One answer could be in the demographics of respondents. When we broke out the data a little more, we spotted that 9 percent of participants ages 25-34 have engaged in topless sunbathing, while only 3 percent of respondents over 65 said they did the same. These numbers make a bit more sense.

(Oh, and in case you’re wondering 3 percent of respondents said they have gone fully nude.)

Also from the department of lower inhibitions: 12 percent of respondents have had a holiday fling, reporting that they “met or hooked up” with someone on vacation. While 22 percent of respondents said they would “consider extending a relationship that began on vacation,” 43 percent said it depended on how far away the other person lived. 2 percent of respondents said they have been intimate with a “hotel employee, flight attendant, or tour guide” they met on vacation.

Another finding that sticks out to me: 65 percent of respondents listed “the hotel” as the place they were most likely to have been intimate with a partner on vacation. “The bathtub” (23 percent) was the next highest venue, and “hot tub” (21 percent) was after that. A whopping 20 percent of respondents said they have been intimate on the beach. Some other fun (and in some cases, sort of gross) numbers:

  • 17 percent of respondents said they have been intimate in a tent.
  • 10 percent of respondents said they have been intimate on “a balcony.”
  • 10 percent of respondents said they have been intimate on “a boat.”
  • 8 percent of respondents said they have been intimate while hiking.
  • 4 percent said they have been intimate in a rental car.

Finally, 29 percent of study respondents told us beach vacations are the most romantic types of travel. This number came out above the 22 percent of respondents who believe “international travel to exotic locations” is most romantic. It also eked out the 22 percent of respondents who said travel to the “countryside” is most romantic. In an answer to a different question, 13 percent of respondents said “putting the Do Not Disturb” sign on your door” is the most romantic dream holiday.

Overall, as part of the Expedia Heat Index, GfK asked 1,000 Americans aged 18 or older for opinions on a range of questions. Learn more about the study here. We also put together an infographic that compiles some of the findings.


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Great deals

Because Valentine’s Day is an attractive time to travel, Expedia has collaborated with LAN Airlines and TAM Airlines to offer a variety of deals on The Valentine’s Day promotion features flights to gorgeous South American destinations that are ideal for romance, such as Rio de Janeiro; Santiago, Chile; and Lima, Peru. All flights are aboard the award-winning LAN and TAM; click here for those deals.

We also have put together an Instagram contest associated with this promotion.

Great reads

Also in conjunction with the release of the 2015 Expedia Heat Index, our team of bloggers here at the Expedia Viewfinder have written a series of blog posts on their own blogs about romantic, sexy destinations. Here are the posts that have published so far:

Sultry and alluring Buenos Aires

Romantic travel destination: Dublin, Ireland

The most romantic places in Colorado

Bali’s X-factor

Romancing a return to Cusco

Romantic destination: Hawaii Island

Reconnecting in romantic Budapest, oh yes!

Sizzling Santorini: The sexiest stop in the Greek Islands

Getting sexy in Croatia

Sexy in Sedona: Why time away together matters

Valentine’s Day romance: A long Cabo weekend

Whether you’re part of a couple looking to spice up your relationship or you’re a single person looking to find romance in an exotic locale, Valentine’s Day is a great time of year to travel. Lose your inhibitions! Have a fling! Make this the year you live with neither excuses nor regrets.