Expedia Heat Index 2016

Investigating connections between travel and love

No matter where on Earth you visit, no matter what cultures you explore, one thing is certain: We all love love.

Well with Valentine’s Day almost upon us, Expedia decided to delve into traveler opinions about love and the connection between love and travel. The resulting study, the “Expedia Heat Index,” was released today and reveals some super-powerful things about the way we open our hearts on the road.

The study was commissioned by Expedia and conducted by GfK, a market research firm. As part of the effort, GfK asked 1,027 Americans a range of romance-related questions, including which cities offer the most attractive dating populations, which destinations are most romantic, how often they have begun or ended love affairs while traveling, and much more.

Top-level takeaways were not surprising. A majority of travelers appear to feel most amorous when they’re away from home. Americans rate Paris as the world’s “most romantic” city. And an overwhelming number of people consider Los Angeles to have the “most attractive” dating population.

Lower-level findings were a bit more obtuse. Consider this: 32 percent of survey respondents felt beach travel is the “most romantic,” followed by 27 percent who preferred international and exotic destinations. Also, more than half of respondents (55 percent) said they would be “very or somewhat likely” to propose to a significant other while on vacation.

The bottom line: Travel gets people’s romantic juices flowing, and can be a good barometer of a couple’s compatibility.

 

J’Adore Paris

Paris, France, is my favorite city on the planet, and, when it comes to romance, other travelers agree by a pretty wide margin. The City of Light ranked highest among our survey respondents for the most romantic city to visit with a significant other. When asked to select the most romantic cities from a list of global destinations, Paris was the runaway winner, chosen by 69 percent of Americans. Other cities in the Top 10 for American respondents were Rome (56 percent), Florence (43 percent), New York (26 percent), and Barcelona (24 percent).

Paris also was chosen as the city where Americans would most want to spend Valentine’s Day when single.

(In related findings, the best city in which to live as a single person was New York, at 48 percent.)

The Expedia Heat Index also put together a list of cities that survey respondents consider to be “sexy,” and Paris topped that list (um, duh), with 61 percent of the votes. Other cities to make this list included Rome (49 percent), Rio de Janeiro (37 percent), and Florence (35 percent). Miami was No. 5 on the list with 34 percent.

Our survey also gathered opinions on which destination is home to the hottest hotties. The answer: Los Angeles, which nabbed 41 percent of the votes. Other cities that made this list included New York (36 percent), Miami (32 percent), Paris (30 percent), and, again, Rome (25 percent).

Americans get frisky on holiday

Light the candles. Cue up the Barry White. Shimmy into the fancy underwear. Travel is a time to get busy.

This was yet another resounding takeaway from our Expedia Heat Index study, which suggested the majority of Americans believe travel provides a romantic spark. Just more than 50 percent of our respondents said they were “more likely” to be intimate with their significant other while on vacation than they are at home. Score! (Literally!)

While 72 percent of survey respondents said they like getting intimate in hotel rooms when away from home, 45 percent said they get after it in the shower, 25 percent tabbed the beach, and 23 percent preferred hot tubs. ICYW, 4 percent copped to romping in a rental car.

Viewfinder Tip: For more memorable (and romantic!) Valentine’s Day gifts, buy your special someone experiences, not stuff. 

It seems we Americans also are less inhibited when we’re away from home. Expedia Heat Index results reveal that just more than 15 percent of Americans have hooked up with someone they met on vacation, while 5 percent have elected to extend a vacation because of a romance that started while traveling.

Finally, our data indicates that travel is a bit of a milestone in a budding relationship. When asked how soon in a relationship they considered it to be appropriate to take an overnight trip with a significant other, 30 percent of respondents said within 1-3 months, 25 percent said they’d wait to 4-8 months, and 10 percent said they’d go away for the night within the first month. About 4 percent said they have taken a trip as their very first date. Long live spontaneity!

Buy travel, not roses

As you plan your Valentine’s Day celebration, remember that experiences make people happier than things. Instead of spending US$60 on a bouquet of roses or making a reservation at a local restaurant, consider picking flowers from the countryside in Croatia, or a reservation for a restaurant on the other side of the world. To make this easier, Expedia.com currently is offering 30 percent off more than 1,500 hotels worldwide for travelers booking anytime between February 3-29, 2016 as part of the newly launched #TimeForVacay sale.

We can’t guarantee that you’ll get lucky on your travels, but we can guarantee you’ll feel lucky to have gone. What happens after that, of course, is up to you.

Expedia compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site, such compensation may include travel and other costs.

Sarah Waffle Gavin

As head of PR and communications at Expedia, Sarah Gavin holds responsibility for influential programs for the Expedia brand and is the force behind the creation of the Expedia Viewfinder blog. Sarah has a strong background in technology communications and came to Expedia after six years of working on the Microsoft business for Waggener Edstrom Worldwide. Part foodie, part tech geek, part mom, part traveler, when she's not strolling through the shops of Manhattan or sitting poolside in Mexico, she hangs her hat in the burbs of Seattle, Washington at the intersection of travel, technology, and motherhood.

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