The stats say that one in four Britons has a holiday romance—but how exactly can you make it happen, and, more importantly, ensure it’s a positive experience? Travel expert, Richard Mellor, talks us through the tricks of the trade.
The recent statistics are compelling. Freed from inhibition and the humdrum of daily life, one in four Britons now has a holiday romance during their lifetimes.
Not only that but increasingly, age isn’t a barrier. Quite the opposite: a recent trend has seen the over-50s enjoying more amore abroad than ever before. In fact, many are now deliberately planning holidays with single friends in the hunt for love, or simply a sunny fling.
Go somewhere hot
Sun, sea, sangria and sultriness: all elements which can bolster cautious Britons’ confidence, and create an exotic, enticing atmosphere.
For more mature tourists, recent studies show that the likeliest locations for love are old favourites: Italy, Spain, Greece and France.
If you're feeling a tad self-conscious, pick out a swimming kit that makes you feel confident. Using a little fake tan, or bronzing moisturiser might also take the edge off that first poolside adventure.
Equally, sunburn is a total turn-off, so pack plenty of strong sun cream. This is not a time to risk factor 15 lotion on the first day.
Strike a balance
Try not to rely on romance to make or break your trip; that puts an undue pressure on your holiday. Rather, plan for a great vacation either way and look on any romance as an added bonus.
That said, holidays aren’t a time to play it cool. You might only have a week or less in which to catch their eye, so acting fast is crucial. Try to be braver with making the first contact than you would be at home. Nobody likes having regrets, after all.
Talk to the locals
Curiously, the most popular choice of partner is a fellow UK traveller—in one survey, only a quarter of over-50s holiday romancers had their liaison with a local.
A shared language, humour and experience—in the sense of being somewhere unfamiliar—help explain why. There’s also more security offered by falling into the arms of a fellow Brit, and perhaps greater long-term prospects.
Establish your singledom
This is vital—if you’re on the market, you want the relevant customers to know about it. That doesn’t mean wearing an “I’m single and looking” t-shirt, though, or noisily advertising how cold your bed can get.
Instead, find a subtle way to announce your romantic availability. Drop a comment about all your married friends, or make an airy, non-whimsical mention of your last partner.
Got your eye on someone special? Look ahead, and see if you can cannily arrange a little you-and-them time. If you’re on a guided trip, perhaps there’s a short journey during which you can engineer sitting together?
For hotel or villa-goers, is there a possible excursion to be taken, or a cool bar to visit? Talk about it, and hope your intended expresses interest; “oh,” you’ll casually say, “maybe we could go together?”
Don’t get too drunk
Sure, a little alcohol can aid and abet, freeing up both personality and dancing feet. But getting too drunk means you risk indignity and/or the object of your affection keeping a safe distance.
Show that you’ve got a hedonistic side, but only in tantalising flashes.