The 8 Types Of Travel Romances

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The 8 Types Of Travel Romances

By Carrie Thompson

Love can strike you anytime, anywhere, especially when you’re traveling. It’s like the Swine Flu of emotions. Whether you’re traveling with a long-time partner, or sharing a brief kiss outside a club, there is no doubt romance and traveling go together like nothing else. Of course there are all sorts and durations of love and relationships, so lets have a look at eight of the most common.

1) Love The One You’re With

There is nothing at all wrong with the random travel fling now and again, provided you’re both single and willing. Why not? You’re out in the world having the time of your life. So if you find yourself dancing barefoot with a beautiful Frenchman in Colombia, or making out with a Brit like two shipwrecked refugees in the Caribbean, good for you. If you decide to take things a bit further than a little harmless kissing, be sure to protect yourself. I don’t know about you, but my idea of a vacation souvenir doesn’t involve something penicillin won’t shake. If that’s the sort of activity on your travel itinerary, you might want to bring along supplies yourself. Protection can be hard to come by in certain parts of the world. Oh, and if you’re considering taking Mr. or Ms. Wonderful back to your hostel room, please make sure you don’t get yourself kicked out of the hostel. Maybe that hammock on the beach is the better alternative to a dorm full of sleepy travelers.

2) Different Area Codes

There is an old saying — like from the 90’s — that when you’re in a different area code from your current girlfriend or boyfriend, you’re free and clear to do what you like. Forget area codes, what if you’re on a completely different continent? Or what if you cross the International Date Line? I’m not one to judge, but I think if you’re traveling for an extended time, keeping a significant other back home (without an express understanding along the lines of “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”) is a monumentally bad idea. Really, if you’re beginning your round-the-world-trip, your goal should be to minimize your baggage, not to leave him or her behind. Travelers often do hook up with other travelers. I’m just saying, why put yourself and someone else through it? Just break it off (or take a break) before you leave. On the other hand, I have met travelers who were 100% faithful to the girlfriend or boyfriend back home, despite all of the temptation in the world.

3) The Couple That Travels Together

Traveling with your significant other can pose significant challenges and rewards. You want to experience the culture and the travel community, but you still want some time to enjoy one another. Balance, in this particular situation, is the key. Spend time in the hostel getting to know your fellow travelers, but generally you’ll want to spring for a private room if the budget affords.

If you find a person or a few people going in the same direction, traveling in a group can improve your dynamic and change things up a bit. In real life, a couple doesn’t spend every waking minute together. It’s unreasonable to think that you should do so just because you’re far away from home.

I asked my friend and avid traveler Heather about this subject, as she travels with her husband frequently. “You always need to remember to be flexible and have a sense of humor, and support each other,” she says. “Most importantly, remember to extend the same polite consideration to each other as you would any random travelmate. If you are a museum person and your partner is a nightclub person, remember to compromise. You can both give input into an itinerary that benefits you both. Nothing causes a fight like one partner not pulling his or her fair share of the planning. The benefits of a partner can also reduce your travel stress considerably. I do also have to say, it is far more comforting to puke your guts up in a palm thatch hut with someone you know than a room full of strangers.”

She also points out the benefits of traveling with a significant other. “Traveling with a partner also includes familiarity with each other’s habits, likes and dislikes.” And what about those couples that just don’t get along on the road? Perhaps travel is just the thing to put that relationship in perspective. “If you can’t get along while you travel, perhaps the relationship needs a bit of a health check anyway,” she adds.

4) Well, Hello There

Crushing on a fellow traveler is not only normal, but honest to goodness reasonable. They’re interested in the whole travel culture, and they have similar experiences and goals. You meet in some romantic, exotic locale and you instantly feel a certain kinship for meeting this person so far from home.

Can it work? I think so. One of my friends and co-workers met her Scottish boyfriend while he was traveling in New York City. Their first kiss was at midnight on New Year’s Eve two years ago and they’re still together today. Even though they live in very different places, they make an effort to spend time together at least once a month. While they don’t have any big plans as of yet, I bet they’ll be telling that story to their grandchildren one day. Another couple I had the pleasure of traveling with were from the United Kingdom and Argentina. They met in New Zealand, fell in love, and are now living happily in Buenos Aires.

5) Cultural Immersion

It is not all all unlikely you’ll meet a local if you spend any significant amount of time in one place. In fact, I’m sure you’ll meet tons of locals, but getting really involved with one is a different story. It’s a story that happens pretty often. Say you’re spending a year in Australia studying and your neighbor is some super hot Aussie, complete with the great accent, why wouldn’t you want to date this person? You will need to be aware of cultural differences and learn a little bit about what being in a relationship with a person of that background really means.

I don’t want to doubt your local romance, but be aware that he or she could just be on the hunt for a visa. (Something I learned first-hand by a particularly handsome man in Brazil). Lots of people are looking for the opportunity to relocate to a different country. If you aren’t cautious, you might just be somebody’s meal ticket.

Taking that super hot motorcycle taxi driver with a 6th grade education home to live in Indiana with you may not really be the best plan. There are, however, countless people I have met who have successful relationships with “locals” from other countries. The difference is that they generally stay in the country where they met.

6) On The Prowl

Of course, there are people who travel with the specific intention of meeting someone while on the road — something akin to a hunt or a big game safari (a man/woman hunt if you will). When you do meet some amazing fellow traveler, be cautious you aren’t being snagged by one of these praying mantises. Unless, of course, you want to be.

However, beware of those looking just to get a notch on their belts in every city or country they visit. If you hear something like, “I’ve never messed around with anyone while traveling before,” beware, you just might be that notch.

7) You Can Buy Me Love

Like it or not, sex tourism does exist in many parts of the world. Whether it be a serious one-time-only business transaction or a local looking for a green card, love for hire most definitely does exist. I don’t feel obliged to go into the politics or moral issue of the whole thing, but I would like to acknowledge that people do frequent certain destinations for that specific purpose. As a woman, I’ve always suspected it would be cheaper to buy some girl dinner and a few Cosmopolitans, but I guess, to each their own.

8) Meet Me In Paris

It’s the stuff of Hollywood movies and teenage dreams. Girl meets boy on romantic journey. Girl and/or boy must return to real life. Girl and boy agree to meet someplace spectacular (and generally lofty) like the top of the Eiffel Tower or the Empire State Building on a given date. I’m not sure if this has ever actually worked for anyone, but the romantic in me genuinely hopes that it has. The romantic in me also thinks this may just be the very best kind of travel romance in the entire world.


  • Patrick AndAndreas

    You might find this interesting about travel and tinder.

  • theElliottQuest

    Awesome article!! Impressed.. lol Here’s my take on travel romance

  • Pingback: Travel Romance – A Survival Guide | The IgoUgo Blog()

  • Dave

    Great article, and I LOVED the advice about putting the at-home relationship on hiatus before going abroad. It's nearly inevitable that temptation will be met on the road if you're traveling for any length of time.

  • Carrie Thompson

    I'm a big fan too! And oh how I've wanted to put up a billboard myself a time or two :)

  • Travel romance is a favorite of mine. If you really like this person, make sure you get their contact information. Don't just write it on the back of a receipt because months later you may consider purchasing a billboard ad in San Jose, Costa Rica….Alejandro, it's Sammi, Call Me @ 001-000-000-0000. Even when you do stay in touch, the flame could turn into a memory and he's just a hot guy you show off on myspace to your friends. I agree with Carrie, detach yourself if you plan on being away from your significant other for a while traveling. It could save you mega bucks on international calls, save time b/c your not typing lengthy emails, etc. Enjoy your freedom and then compare which was more enjoyable, freedom or love.

  • Carlene G.

    Nice article, Carrie! Excellent read. :)

  • Erin J.

    Carrie, your article doesn't disappoint! Witty and honest as always.

  • Deni

    I found some good points in this article… now if I could only travel more! :)

  • Insightful, entertaining and informative.
    Cosmos? Who would have thought? :)

  • Debbie Hadsel

    Good advice…especially about the taxi driver with the sixth grade education and the visa seekers. :-)

  • Cheryl Daughenbaugh

    This was a fun article to read!

  • Beth Smiht

    Nice article Carrie!!

  • Karen Arnall

    Great Article!!

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