Sun, Sea and a Holiday Romance

Vacation relationships are too often brief encounters

If you've been on holiday abroad and met someone just a bit special, you're far from being alone. Because recent research for AA Travel Insurance suggests that nearly a quarter of travellers have, at some time, enjoyed a romantic encounter.*

Those aged between 25 and 34 are most likely to have enjoyed a holiday 'fling' (a quarter of the respondents who admitted to having had a holiday romance) – yet such relationships seem rarely to stand the test of time.

In fact, more than two-thirds (68%) never saw their newly found partner again, even though some kept in touch for a time. Of them, half described their relationship as a 'five-minute wonder', while the other half said it was 'fantastic' to have a 'no-strings' affair.

Some (13%) said they fell 'madly in love' and did meet again, but still the relationship didn't develop further.

Teresa Brewer, manager of AA Travel Insurance, suggests that for many it's not just the pressures of home and work that are left behind but inhibitions too, and that helps to open the doors to a romantic encounter.

"It's clear that most holiday romances are just that – they don't go any further because things you might share when on holiday just wouldn't or couldn't work when you get home.

"But occasionally a spark is struck that turns into the long-term flame of love – in fact, nearly a fifth (18%) went on to form a long-term relationship, while a surprisingly high number (7%) say they had met their lifetime partner while on holiday."

Just over 11% of those aged 60 or over say they had met their future wife or husband during a holiday.

Says Teresa Brewer: "I believe that is a reflection of changing opportunities to develop a romance. When those aged over 60 were young, they didn't have the benefit of social networking or the club scene that we have today, so a holiday presented a good opportunity to meet someone special."

She adds: "Holidays really can throw up the unexpected – including the possibility of meeting your perfect partner. But whether that happens or you just enjoy a short holiday encounter, you'll want to be sure you can enjoy your hard-earned leisure time and make the most of the opportunities that come along. For most that will be simply enjoying new experiences and seeing new sights.

"However, it really is important to make sure you have decent travel insurance because sometimes the unexpected may be less welcome – and that's when insurance can make a real difference."

Key findings

22% of respondents had experienced a 'holiday romance' abroad; the 25–34 age group (25%) were most likely to have done so.*

Of those respondents who had experienced a 'holiday romance':

  • 39% said it was a 'five-minute wonder' and went no further
  • 29% had a 'fantastic' fling and kept in touch for a time but didn't meet their partner again
  • 13% 'fell madly in love' but it didn't last
  • 9% 'fell madly in love' and went on to form a long-term relationship
  • 7% met their lifetime partner on holiday
  • 11% said it was 'the best thing that could have happened'
  • 3% said it was 'the worst thing that could have happened'
  • 2% had property or money stolen off them by the person they met

* 3,000 interviews were carried out by One Poll for AA Travel Insurance in December 2010.