NEW YORK — Whether you’re looking for friendship or romance, it might be worth taking a trip — as over a fifth of Americans say they met their future spouse while traveling.
A survey of 2,000 Americans who have traveled internationally looked at the importance of connecting with others and the lasting relationships that can form while on vacation.
Networking while not working
In addition to the 23 percent of respondents who married someone they met while traveling, a third have had a “vacation romance” and a quarter currently have a best friend they met during a past trip. Some respondents didn’t even need to make it to their destination to find romance — three in 10 have dated someone they met on a plane.
The study — conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Exodus Travels, which offers international group and self-guided tours — also found some vacation relationships are longer lasting than others, which may be a good thing for these respondents.
Seventy-seven percent have made lifelong friends while traveling — and of those, they’ve made an average of five pals. Other respondents have had these relationships turn into “social media friendships” or remain “vacation friendships.” On an average trip, respondents will make four new friends (whether they stay in touch post-trip or not) and gain 12 new followers on social media.
Losing touch doesn’t have to be a negative
Four in five Americans believe making new friends while traveling makes a trip better, even if they don’t stay in touch afterward. For 69 percent of respondents, traveling — and the people they’ve met along the way — has made them a kinder and more interesting person.
Two-thirds (66%) add meeting new people while on a trip leads to a much better experience, and 77 percent believe meeting the local people makes the journey more rewarding and immersive.
“Connecting with new cultures and engaging with personalities that you don’t encounter in your day-to-day existence at home can be an inspiring, enlightening and life-changing experience,” says Robin Brooks, Director at Exodus Travels, in a statement. “Meeting people from different backgrounds — whether those are fellow travelers from around the world or the locals in your destination — can be the most meaningful and memorable part of an adventure.”
“After almost a two-year pause on overseas vacations and general get-togethers due to the pandemic, traveling, making new friends, reconnecting with old ones and being together is now at the top of many people’s minds,” Brooks adds.
Don’t be afraid to travel solo
Americans are most excited about the new experiences that will come with travel (44%) as it’s once again safe to do so. Meanwhile, others are looking forward to seeing and spending time with loved ones (44%). According to respondents, travel can also strengthen existing bonds (71%).
Sixty-nine percent of people surveyed believe the right travel companion can be a make or break for the trip — and 71 percent have met someone while traveling who gave them a new perspective or changed their lives.
For those looking to meet new people while traveling, respondents believe participating in different activities is the best way (31%). That was followed by taking group tours and participating in hotel events — which tied for second (28%). Respondents also think that being active is a great way to meet people (27%), while others think spending time at a bar or restaurant led them to connect with others (26%).
Interestingly, one in five people found it easier to meet people when they’re traveling solo. That’s not the only benefit to traveling on your own: 49 percent of respondents have taken a life-changing solo trip.
“We’re not surprised to see so many respondents say the people they travel with are a make or break for the trip,” Brooks says. “Because of that, it’s important to participate in activities and set yourself up to meet new people while traveling. We’re a strong believer in the importance of group tours as a way for travelers to bond and grow while on a trip — it’s a great way to push yourself out of your comfort zone while spending time with others.”