Ah, the holiday romance! Any singleton who goes on vacation harbors a secret hope that they’ll find a little love while they’re away - some fun in the sun with the kind of person that they would never meet at home. They daydream about walking along the beach, hand in hand as the sun goes down, sipping drinks together and enjoying the local cuisine in a cosy little spot, sharing once in a lifetime experiences and having a memory to treasure forever.
For a lot of people, those dreams come true, too. Being on vacation usually leaves people happy and relaxed, more open to romance and not quite so concerned about whether or not their new partner ticks all the boxes on their mental checklist.
However, it’s usually best to leave these flings on vacation and keep them as lovely memories, not try and make things work long term. Yes, sometimes people will meet the love of their life on holiday, and they’ll still be married when they are in their 80s; but more often than not, when the tan fades, so does the glow of romance - and having to dump your beach boyfriend will definitely tarnish those sweet summer memories in the future.
Not sure if your vacation fling is the real deal? Here are 25 signs that you should probably say goodbye at the airport.
25 There’s A Huge Language Barrier
Having a partner who speaks another language can be an amazing way to learn it yourself - and there is definitely something especially romantic about hearing your new love whispering sweet nothings that you can’t quite understand. However, if you want to make things work long term, you have to be able to communicate with more than sign language for ‘would you like another drink’.
Long distance relationships involve a lot of talking (and not a lot of activities beyond that), so if you can’t actually hold a conversation in a mutual language, this probably won’t work.
24 They Have No Internet Access
This is pretty rare, admittedly, but if you’ve fallen for someone who lives in the middle of nowhere and has to travel to get to a computer (or one with internet access, at least), it’s going to make things extremely difficult for your relationship.
Unless you are truly happy with the idea of being old-school pen pals until you can meet in person again, it’s going to complicate things if you don’t both have the ability to message, e-mail and video call in order to stay in each others’ lives once you’ve returned home.
23 You Are Totally Different At Home
Vacations are a perfect time to let your hair down and have some fun - and to do all those things that you would never dream of doing at home. However, if someone falls in love with vacation-you, and at-home-you is completely different, it’s unlikely things are going to last. If you’re a type-A career hound at home, and take two weeks a year to totally switch off from the office and laze around all day, don’t expect your lazing-around boyfriend (or girlfriend) to stick around when career-girl comes back.
There’s nothing wrong with being a bit different on holiday, of course, it just means that holiday flings aren’t going to go the distance.
22 You Earn Far More (Or Less) Than Them
Being on vacation often means meeting people from all income brackets - especially if you meet up with a local while you are on the trip of a lifetime. But it’s hard to make things last if you’re a high-flyer at home, pulling in a six figure salary… and they are struggling to make ends meet on the island where you took your winter vacation. For one thing, the chances of them flying out to meet you are slim if they can’t afford the ticket, and even if you always go to them, the difference in lifestyle will quickly become an issue.
21 They’re On A Gap Year
A gap year is a European tradition that is fast becoming more common in North America - where people take a year off in between high school and university to do some traveling and have a little fun. Often, you’ll meet gap year travelers in hostels or on adventure breaks, but don’t expect a fling with someone on a gap year to last.
It’s right there in the name; they are taking a year off from their life, and when they get home again, things will be very different. Time to settle down, get cracking on the career… and leave those gap year romances in the past.
20 You Have Nowhere In Common To Live
Let’s say everything else works out, and the two of you are totally compatible… where are you going to live? At some point in a relationship, even a long distance one, the idea is to move in together - and that will only work if you can agree on where that should happen.
If you are a city girl and he’s a country boy, it doesn’t matter how much the sparks flew on your cross country trek, you two are never going to find a common space to live together.
19 They Make No Plans To Visit
Things might be going incredibly well, and you’re having the romantic vacation of your dreams, but if there is never a conversation about the future, chances are you don’t have one.
If your beachside boyfriend is happy to tell you how beautiful you are, but not to make plans, he is probably not looking to turn things into a long distance relationship when you leave. An even more obvious sign is if they do talk about the future, but only to tell you that they would never want to come to where you live, because they love home too much... but oh, they’ll miss you!
18 They Are A Seasonal Worker (And You Aren’t)
There are plenty of travelers who spend years bouncing from the ski slopes to the beaches (and everywhere in between), working a season in one place at a time. It’s a great way to experience lots of different places (and to enjoy ski season and summer at the water), but it does mean that these travelers are probably not looking for something long term.
Seasonal workers are past masters at the short-term fling, and know how to enjoy a little romance without being heartbroken when it ends with the season - so rather than worry about it, take a leaf out of their book and just enjoy things while they last.
17 You're Both Attached To Home
For a holiday romance to become a lifelong partnership, someone is going to have to move. Either you both have to decide on somewhere new to start a life together, or one person has to move across the world to join the other, and if you are both deeply attached to home, that’s probably not going to happen.
You might bond over how much you love your hometowns, and how you would never want to live anywhere else. But if you mean it, it’s just not something that will work in the long run.
16 Living In Totally Different Time Zones…
A major obstacle in the world of long distance relationships is the dreaded time difference. You may have the best internet connection in the world, but that’s not going to get you anywhere if one person is always asleep while the other one is awake.
Most of the time (pun intended), people can work things out so that they connect during those few hours when both people are awake, but depending on when you sleep, work, and relax, those hours might not line up - which brings us neatly to the next issue!
15 …With Schedules that Don’t Match Up
It’s possible to get around even the worst time difference as long as your schedules line up somewhere - after all, you only really need an hour or two to spend together on a video call to keep the romance alive. However, work schedules can make that impossible, even if you live in the same time zone.
On vacation, you might have both stayed out all night, but if you are a morning person back home, and they are working the graveyard shift, it’s going to be well-nigh impossible to find time to chat (when one of you isn’t falling asleep with exhaustion).
14 Totally Different Cultural Norms
One of the best things about traveling is experiencing different cultures - it gives us a great window into another world, and helps us gain perspective on our own. Meeting someone new who sees the world differently is novel and wonderful… but not the best thing for a long term relationship, especially if their family hold particularly strict values that are common to their culture but not yours. Would you be expected to give up your work to stay home and raise a family with your vacation lover?
Unless you want that yourself, dealing with the parental pressure to conform to another culture might be too much for your budding romance.
13 Haven’t Talked About Anything Real
It’s easy to fall for someone on vacation without ever really having a conversation with them; after all, there is so much to do that you don’t actually need to! You can spend your days sunbathing, out having adventures, hiking and touring, eating and drinking and dancing, and never chatting about anything more consequential than the weather and the music.
There’s nothing wrong with that, either. But if they’ve never asked about your family, your childhood, or your future - they probably don’t intend to be in your life for long.
12 They’re Big On Romantic Gestures (But Not Practical Ones)
It’s easy to get carried away with the romance of a holiday fling - and grand gestures seem easier away from home. That can be wonderful, of course; who doesn’t want a souvenir of their romance or a beautiful memory that could fit into a rom com with ease? But if you want things to really last, make sure that there are some practical gestures in there too.
Does your vacation romance also want to take you to the airport or help you change the last of your cash, or are they only interested in the stuff that makes them feel like they are in an indie movie?
11 You Aren’t The First Vacation Fling
There are people who enjoy a little romance when they find it (but are still looking for that one big love), and then there are those people who are serial daters, who just love some commitment-free dalliances away from home. If they mention a different romance with every trip they’ve taken, chances are they aren’t looking for anything major from you, either.
If they are open about always finding a vacation partner, don’t start thinking you’ll be the one to break that pattern. You might, of course… but it’s not likely.
10 Met Through A Dating App
Sometimes, it can be really fun to do some swiping while on holiday - and it’s definitely a fun way to meet locals, discover some great places that aren’t mentioned in the guidebooks, and do a little comparing between who is single on holiday (and the kind of singles you meet at home). But chances are, if someone is actively looking for someone to unite with on holiday, they aren’t looking for a major relationship… and the same goes for singles nights and set ups at resorts and hotels.
They are a whole lot of fun, but you have a better chance of making things work if you weren’t actively looking for a short term fling.
9 your Friends Didn’t Get Along with them
If you are crazy about your vacation Romeo, but the friends you are vacationing with are clearly unimpressed, then it’s probably not going to work out. As a general rule, if you like and respect your friends, you should listen to them when it comes to your partner.
How are things going to play out if your new love comes to live with you, and all your friends think they’re terrible?! Your friends may be annoyed because you are choosing to hang out with Romeo instead. They know you best, so pay attention to how they feel and react, in case holiday love is blind.
8 Pet Peeves are being ignored
For some reason, it’s a lot easier to put up with annoying habits on holiday. Who cares if they track sand into the hostel? It’s a hostel! It’s always sandy! Eating with their hands? How bohemian! Hasn’t had a haircut in six months? That’s backpacking life! B
ut if you are ignoring the behaviors that would usually drive you crazy, ask yourself; is this because this person is just that special, or are you willing to overlook annoying habits because you are feeling extra laid back on vacation? If it’s the latter, this won’t work at home.
7 You Haven’t Told Anyone Back Home About Them
You may not be actively hiding your holiday romance, but if you aren’t mentioning them in phone calls or postcards (except maybe to giggle over the… ahem… good use of a hotel room), that’s a solid sign that you aren’t thinking about the long term. When you meet someone that you can immediately see a future with, you want to tell everyone - your mom, your best friend, your cat sitter, you name it.
If you catch yourself avoiding mentioning them or talking about them in a way that could be about a friend, have a look at your own emotions when it comes to making this a long term thing.
6 Most of the bonding was Over A Holiday Hobby
The holiday romances that manage to go the distance are the ones where two people find a real connection based on their values and passions. However, if the connection you’ve made is over a brand new hobby you picked up on vacation… don’t expect it to last.
It’s common for people to get really excited about a new thing they learn on holiday; but when you get home, those dreams of surfing every weekend start to collect as much dust as the wetsuit you probably shouldn’t have shelled out for.
If your primary connection is based on a hobby you won’t keep up with, that relationship may soon start to collect dust too.
5 The Whole Holiday was spent In The Bars
There's nothing wrong with a drink, and a lot of people use vacations as a chance to really let their hair down and have some fun. Throw in resorts with all-inclusive bars or beach towns with super-cheap drinks, and it’s easy to spend the whole holiday in party mode.
But if you’ve never really hung out with your new love outside of the bars, it’s not too likely that things are going to go the distance. Things will definitely change when you take off the party hat and get back to a normal lifestyle.
4 You Never Spend Time Alone
Especially if you are on a cruise, staying in a hostel, or on an adventure vacation, it’s easy to spend all of your time around a lot of other people… except those summer nights, of course. However, if you never spend any time a deux, you have no way of knowing if you actually like each other - and not just the fun group dynamic that you are both a part of.
It’s also telling if you’ve never bothered to carve out a little alone time or date time - if neither of you have made that a priority, it probably means you aren’t too interested in becoming a long term couple.
3 Can’t Agree On How To Stay In Touch
If things are going to work out in the long run, you are going to have to find ways to stay in touch until you see each other again - and that only works if you can agree on what that is.
If they hate social media, but you are really bad at long e-mails, then that’s not a good sign! Not only is it going to make it hard to keep talking on a practical level, but having wildly different opinions on how to do something doesn’t bode well for the two of you having a harmonious future in general.
2 Different Life Goals
This is a potential relationship killer for anyone, not just for people that you meet on the road; but it’s a big one. Are you taking a vacation before returning home, and planning out your life and career path in a big house in the city? If she’s planning to spend the next year building a farm in the country where she can raise kids, don’t expect this to last past the airport. It’s simple - for a relationship to work, you have to want the same things… not just want each other.
1 They Seem Too Good To Be True
Because if it seems too perfect to be real… it’s probably not real. Being on vacation can make everything seem more intense than it would otherwise, can make us ignore bad behavior or overlook annoying habits, and can make everyone act in a way they might not at home.
If your new partner seems utterly flawless, either you are looking at them through holiday-tinted glasses, they are projecting their ‘holiday persona’, and not their true self, or both. The best relationships - and the longest lasting - are the ones where you can see each other clearly, and love each other anyway.