Sharks and Speedos and nudist beaches, oh my! No, we’re not talking about the upcoming premiere of Sharknado 2: The Second One. Instead, it’s time for one of our favorite events of the year: the release of the annual Expedia Flip Flop Report.
This annual report examines one of our (and my personal) favorite types of vacations: beach vacations. Each year we hit the beaches to find out about the good, the bad, and the ugly vacation habits of beachgoers today. Birkenstocks or flippy-flops? Speedos or banana hammocks? Two-piece or one piece? Clothing required or clothing optional? These are just some of the questions we ask beachgoers, and many of the answers are rather revealing (especially from the nudists and naturists who respond).
While there were many surprises in the 2014 Expedia Flip Flop Report, it was no surprise to see that, yet again, the beach is the world’s most popular destination. More than one half (56 percent) of the study’s respondents took a beach vacation in the past year, with 75 percent of global travelers indicating that they are “very” or “somewhat” likely to take a beach vacation in the next 12 months.
Not only do people love going to the beach but they’re willing to go to great lengths to get there. Nearly 30 percent of respondents said they would work weekends for an entire month in exchange for just one extra beach vacation per year. But that’s not all they’ll do—11 percent of respondents said they’d be willing to experience influenza for a full 48 hours in exchange for a beach vacation. Now that’s commitment!
One of the most surprising stats is that there is a growing acceptance toward Speedos. Last year’s study revealed that 65 percent of beachgoers worldwide find Speedo-style bathing suits to be “acceptable.” This year, that number jumped to 74 percent. Also of note: For the third year in a row, Germany took top honors in the category of nude sunbathing. (In case you’re wondering, we didn’t find any direct correlation between Germany’s feeling toward nude sunbathing and their success in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.) Germany is joined at the top by Austria; 28 percent of respondents from both countries reported they have spent at least a day at the beach where they can let it all hang out.
“Sharks” is another topic that comes up year after year on the Expedia Flip Flop Report. In this year’s study nearly half of respondents (44 percent) expressed anxiety over getting in the ocean due to fears of sharks. For some reason, the number was highest among Brazilians; 84 percent of respondents from that country said they were afraid of sharks to some extent. This all is despite University of Florida’s recent “International Shark Attack File Report,” which revealed that last year saw the lowest number of unprovoked shark attack incidents (72 worldwide) since 2009. You actually are more likely to get attacked by a cow—seriously.
No matter how you spend your beach vacation, we hope you’ll keep Expedia in mind. We also hope you’ll take advantage of some of our current vacation package deals and coupons for trips to some of the best beaches around the world. John Morrey, vice president and general manager of Expedia.com, said it best: “Expedia will help you get to the perfect beach, but when it comes to behavior on the sand, you’re on your own.”
See the complete findings of the 2014 Expedia Flip Flop Report here.