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The connection between travel and love

Paris romanceRomance is in the air, and a majority of travelers appear to feel most amorous when they’re on the road. This is the takeaway from a recent study examining American attitudes toward travel and love. The study, commissioned by Expedia and conducted by GfK, is titled the “Expedia Heat Index,” and reveals that 32 percent of respondents felt beach travel is the “most romantic,” followed by 27 percent who preferred international and exotic destinations. Another 22 percent of respondents tabbed the countryside, while 4 percent selected cities.

Equally interesting: More than half of respondents (55 percent) said they would be “very or somewhat likely” to propose to a significant other while on vacation.

GfK asked 1,027 Americans a range of romance-related questions, including which cities offer the most attractive dating populations, which destinations are most romantic, how often they have begun or ended love affairs while traveling and much more.

Sarah Gavin, Expedia’s Head of Communications, said travel and romance are tightly intertwined. “Travel can also be a good barometer of a couple’s compatibility,” she said. “It’s well known by now that ‘experiences’ make people happier than ‘things,’ so this Valentine’s Day, rather than making a reservation at a restaurant nearby, consider a reservation on the other side of the world. You won’t regret it.”

J’Adore Paris

Not surprisingly, Paris, France, ranked highest among respondents for the most romantic city to visit with a significant other. When asked to select the most romantic cities from a list of global destinations, Paris was the runaway winner, chosen by 69% of Americans. The top ten most romantic cities, according to Americans, are:

1. Paris 69%
2. Rome 56%
3. Florence 43%
4. New York 26%
5. Barcelona 24%
6. Rio de Janeiro 23%
7. San Francisco 21%
8. Cancun 20%
9. London 20%
10. Vienna 18%


Paris was also chosen as the city that Americans would most want to spend Valentine’s Day when single. Fourteen percent chose Paris and 12% chose New York, followed by Las Vegas (11%), Miami (7%) and Rome (6%). The best city to live in as a single person, however, is New York City, according to Americans. 48% chose New York, 35% chose Los Angeles and 33% chose Las Vegas.

A similar mix of cities are considered to be “sexy,” with Paris (61%) and Rome (49%) topping the list.

The ten sexiest cities are:

1. Paris 61%
2. Rome 49%
3. Rio de Janeiro 37%
4. Florence 35%
5. Miami 34%
6. Las Vegas 32%
7. Cancun 30%
8. New York 28%
9. Barcelona 27%
10. Los Angeles 21%


The order of sexiest cities, however, did not necessarily correlate to the order of cities with the “most attractive dating populations.” Los Angeles (41%) is considered by Americans to have the world’s most desirable dating pool. Americans feel the cities with the most attractive residents are:

1. Los Angeles 41%
2. New York 36%
3. Miami 32%
4. Paris 30%
5. Rome 25%
6. Rio de Janeiro 24%
7. Las Vegas 22%
8. San Francisco 21%
9. Florence 16%
10. Barcelona 16%


Getting frisky on holiday

Americans say that travel provides a romantic spark, with just over fifty percent saying they are “more likely” to be intimate with their significant other while on vacation than they are at home. While the hotel room is the most popular venue for such behavior, cited by 72% of Americans, they also demonstrate free spiritedness. While traveling, 45% have been intimate in the shower, 25% on a beach, 23% in a hot tub, 17% in an outdoor tent, 16% in a pool and 10% on a balcony. Four percent claim to have been intimate in a rental car.

Expedia Heat Index results reveal that just over fifteen percent of Americans have “hooked up” with someone they met on vacation. Five percent have elected to extend a vacation because of a romance begun while traveling, and 23% say they would consider extending that relationship once the vacation concludes. Thirty-two percent said they would not, while 42% hedged, saying it depended “how far away” the other person lived. Four percent of Americans have ended a relationship with their partner while traveling with them, and another 4% say they have considered doing so.

When asked how soon in a relationship they consider it appropriate to take an overnight trip together, thirty percent said within 1-3 months. 10% would take an overnight trip with a new partner within the first month, and 4% have taken such a trip as their very first date. 25% of Americans would wait to 4-8 months and 15% would wait more than a full year.

About the Survey
GfK, an international market research company, asked 1,000 Americans a range of romance-related questions, including which cities offer the most attractive dating populations, which destinations are most romantic, how often they have begun or ended love affairs while traveling and much more.

The study was conducted online using the GfK “KnowledgePanel,” an online probability-based panel designed to be representative of the US general population, not just the online population. The study consisted of 1,027 interviews conducted between January 22-24, 2016, among adults aged 18+. The margin of error is +/-3 percentage points.

The Expedia Heat Index can be viewed in full on the Expedia Viewfinder blog.

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