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Vacation Romance: Leave It or Let It Last?

Vacation romance can be tricky! Learn the signs of staying power, and the signals that you should call it quits.

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Ahh… vacation romance! So many people fantasize about the possibility of falling in love in some magical corner of the world. Imagine meeting a stranger while staying at a vineyard in Tuscany, relaxing by the pool in Santorini, or even just chatting up the person sitting next to you on a plane or train. It sounds like something out of a novel, but the truth is, it happens sometimes. 

A vacation fling can happen in the real world. When you’re traveling, you might be more relaxed and open to meeting new people. What happens when your vacation is over and you have to return to real life? We are going to explore some advice on holiday romances and whether or not you should hang on to them when you get back home. If the summer flings are meant to turn into a long-term relationship, we’ve got some tips to help navigate the difficulties of a long-distance relationship as well.

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What kind of vacation romance is it?

There are as many kinds of vacation romances as there are types of vacations—weekend getaways, month-long trips, summer vacations, and vacation spots (like favorite cozy cabins) that you return to over and over again. No matter where you go and how long you stay, there’s always a chance to meet someone special. 

Some connections are easy to categorize as just vacation flings, like the all-too-common rendezvous that seem to run their course in one night. Sure, there’s always the slight chance that spontaneous moments can transform into something more, but it’s rare. That’s a lot different than someone you meet in Venice at the beginning of a two-week cruise around Italy that you spend full days getting to know.  

The length of time you spend with the new love interest will make a big difference in how things are able to progress once the vacation is over. There should be some kind of foundation built and you should have addressed some of the basic information about each other. For example, if you have an entire two-month summer vacation and meet someone, there’s a better chance that you’ll have spent enough time together that you feel like you’ve gotten to know each other pretty well by the time the vacation is done. 

Vacations with groups of people make it easy to meet other people because you’re usually all being social and having a good time, but it’s harder to get to know in those settings and it might just be a night or weekend of fun flirting. If you don’t know things like what they do for work or where they live, you probably haven’t created a foundation to build off of. 

Signs to Leave Your Vacation Romance Behind

How do you know if this vacation romance should remain just that and not turn into something more long-term? These few signs can help you determine whether or not it might just be a fling that you can leave in the rearview mirror when you head home. Vacations should be fun, and you are allowed to spend your time however you want, but that doesn’t mean every romantic connection needs to turn into a committed relationship. If any of these sound familiar, it’s best to let it go.

1. Your gut is telling you something isn’t right.

It’s always best to trust your gut. If there is something inside your head or heart telling you that it’s not right, don’t ignore it. Sometimes you might notice that something isn’t adding up with what the person is telling you, or they are dodging certain questions. If you get a bad feeling at any point during your time spent together, get out of the situation.

2. You aren’t the only one.

Some people live for vacation romances! They use their time away to meet lots of new people and see if there are any sparks. If the man or woman you hit it off with is also flirting with others or has been chatting with other new people on the same vacation, that probably indicates that it’s not worth investing too much time and energy into continuing the relationship beyond your trip. You want to be able to trust the other person and feel special. If they are striking up flirty conversations with others, that’s never a good sign.

3. There doesn’t seem to be the same level of interest.

Does the person seem intrigued by you? Do they ask questions? Do they listen to the answers? If the two of you just enjoy casual flirtation while having drinks by the pool, and there isn’t much of an exchange about real-life topics, it’s probably not worth pursuing past vacation. On the other hand, if you find the conversation flows and feel like you’ve known the person forever, well, read on. It might be worth exploring a little further!

Signs You’re Vacation Romance Is Worth Pursuing

If you’re searching for signs about this vacation romance and whether or not it’s just the beginning of your love story, we’ve got a few signs to watch for to help you get started. Read through these to help you figure out where your relationship stands.

1. You feel like you’ve known each other forever.

Have you ever met someone and just fallen right in step with them? Conversation flows easily and you skip over any of the awkward silences that sometimes happen when you first meet someone. If you have that feeling, this is a great sign. It should be incredibly easy to talk to them and feel comfortable around them when you are spending time together. 

This doesn’t mean you should just automatically know everything about them, but they should feel somewhat familiar. It makes the getting to know each other phase of a new relationship so much easier. You can be laid back and relaxed when you’re together.

2. There are no surprises.

Social media is one of the easiest ways now to get a glimpse into someone’s life. It might just be a highlight reel, but it’s a good introduction. If you log on and are surprised when you see that the person has children or maybe they have a bunch of farm animals, that might be a sign that you didn’t learn as much as you thought about the person.

If you had some quality conversations, you shouldn’t be surprised by much. Not everyone is going to have as much of their personal life online as a blogger or influencer, but a quick Google search is never a horrible idea. It will turn up any news headlines, a LinkedIn profile with some job insight, and maybe even some high school sports records (which would just be a fun add-on.)

3. The logistics make sense.

Geography matters. If you meet someone who lives on the opposite side of the earth from you, it might make it impossible to pursue a relationship. You have to take into account the time zones and distance to meet up with each other in the future. For example, if one of you lives in New York City and the other is in Los Angeles, that’s a five-hour long flight and a three-hour time difference. Finding time to FaceTime or chat on the phone can be a little tricky with work schedules and sleep schedules not matching up.

There are so many factors for this to consider, so this will be completely different for each scenario. You might meet someone that travels to your city often for work or has family nearby. Think about all the opportunities you may have to see each other and how easy it will be to continue chatting with each other and if it doesn’t seem too hard, this won’t stand in your way.

4. Your future plans and dreams align.

You may not get the chance to cover all your hopes and dreams for the future when you’re together on vacation, but this can make a big difference when it comes to the likelihood that the relationship will work. Find ways to bring it up in conversations just like you would with anyone new that you’re dating. If you are determined to get married and have a family as soon as possible, you want to make sure you’re seeking out partners that share those ambitions. 

Some people are on the fence about those decisions, but others have made up their minds and don’t want the same things as others, so it’s necessary to go down that path and see if you are aligned about your future goals and dreams.

5. It hurt too much to say goodbye.

The heart doesn’t lie. If you found yourself dreading that moment when you’d have to part ways and say goodbye, you probably had some pretty strong feelings brewing. Goodbyes aren’t supposed to be easy, so if you walked away without any tears or emotions, you should probably reassess. 

If your plane ride home was gut-wrenching and you were already excited to call or text that person when you arrived, it’s something that is worth continuing. Pay attention to how the other reacts at the same time because you might get an idea of how they are feeling.

6. Your friends approved.

Trips with friends are so much fun because you get to spend some quality time bonding with each other away from the normal stresses of everyday life and routines. It isn’t ideal to meet someone that you’re romantically interested in on these trips because it will take away the time you spend with your friends, but it can also be extremely beneficial. 

If your best friends are with you on the trip, they will get a chance to meet the person you are chatting with and give their opinions and two cents on the matter. Your friends know you best and will help you spot any red flags that you might miss because you have your blinders on. Ask them for their take on the situation.

It works the opposite way too. If you meet someone on vacation and they are on a friends’ trip, you can get a glimpse into what kind of people they spend their time with. The company you keep can say a lot about your personality. Spend a little time with your friends, and you’ll be sure to get some deeper intel about the person you are falling for.

7. Conversations flowed naturally.

You don’t want to feel like you’re on a job interview when you are starting to date someone. Score the conversations that you had with the person. Did it flow naturally? Was there plenty to talk about? Did you feel like one person did most of the talking? Was there an exchange of information back and forth? We’ve all had conversations that felt weird or off for whatever reason. 

If your romantic vacation fling was all physical and lacked in the communication and conversation area, it might be a sign that it’s not meant to last. It will be important to be able to easily talk to each other if you decide to continue pursuing something more with this person. When it’s a struggle to chat and text, it will be extremely difficult to keep things going until you see each other again.

8. You made plans to meet again.

Did you leave your vacation with plans to see each other again? Goodbyes are tough, but it’s easier when you know you won’t have to wait too long. If you had a conversation about making plans to see each other again in the future, that’s a great sign. That doesn’t mean plane tickets are booked and everything is locked in, but some discussion about when, where, and how is a good start.

Once you’re back home and you get into a regular routine of checking in with each other, you should be talking and planning on how to meet up. It might take a few weeks or months, but there should be forward movement to meet up again. If neither of you is making moves, it might be a red flag that the excitement is no longer there. 

Tips to Make a Long-Distance Relationship Work

No matter what your love life has looked like in the past, long-distance relationships have unique challenges that you probably have not experienced. Usually, you’re able to see each other as often as you’d like and get face-to-face time. Long-distance relationships require a little more patience and trust, but if you’ve found the right person, it can work out. 

Communication is key!

The most important thing in any relationship is communication, but it could be argued that it’s all you have in a long-distance relationship. Once you leave your vacation destination, you won’t be able to see each other in person very often. Make sure you alter your routine so you have plenty of time to talk to each other and check in. 

You should communicate about big things and continue the process of getting to know each other. Schedule phone dates where you can focus on each other and your conversation for a while. Building trust is important in any relationship. The best way to do that when you are long-distance is to be transparent. Share as much as possible and make sure that the other person never feels iced out or ignored.

Use technology, but don’t shy away from old-school methods.

Thanks to the advances in technology, it’s never been easier to keep in touch with someone that lives far away. Facetime and Skype allow you to video chat with ease and see each other when you are talking. You can play games together online or watch shows on Netflix together. The options are endless for ways to connect.

It’s also fun to utilize some of the old-fashioned methods as well. Send each other letters and small gifts through the mail. Those options require a bit more effort and will be a nice keepsake for them. Flowers, stuffed animals, and fun reminders of your time together are all great options. Thanks to Amazon and other online retailers, you don’t even have to worry about shipping. 

Switching up the methods you use helps keep things fresh. You’ll have fun sending and receiving things and you can utilize all the cool new apps and tech choices. Just be grateful you aren’t relying simply on love letters today.

Set clear expectations.

Part of building a solid foundation for your relationship is understanding each others’ expectations. Have a conversation early on about whether or not you’re exclusive and what you are looking for in this relationship. You don’t want blurry lines because someone will end up getting hurt. 

Get an idea of how often you will check in with each other, what your schedules look like, and how often you think you want to plan to see one another in real life. In some instances, you might be very far off from the other person’s thoughts and expectations and that can create issues if it isn’t addressed.

Always have a plan for “next time.”

Each long-distance relationship is different, but there should always be a plan for the next in-person meet-up. If you live in cities that aren’t too far apart, maybe you plan for once or twice a month. For people on opposite sides of the country, it might be a little less than that. Whatever cadence you decide on, try to have a tentative plan for the next time before you part ways. 

Having a plan to look forward to helps ease the goodbye portion of your time together. You can get excited about the future instead of being sad about the past. Obviously, plans change and things come up, but as long as there is always a placeholder for time together, you’ll be able to get through it.

Show them your daily life.

Dating someone that doesn’t live anywhere near you means that most of your in-person interactions happen in vacation-like settings as you travel to see each other. That can make it difficult to see how someone is in their normal daily routines. Share those unimportant details because it gives much better insight into how you spend your days and the little things in life that might not come up in conversation.

Share your meals every day or how you drink your coffee. Talk to each other while doing chores. Show them where you live, and send pictures of your yard and your pets. This might feel silly, but it’s incredibly intimate and will help you feel like you’re getting to spend more time together because you are inviting them to be part of your normal daily routine. Plus, it can give you great conversation topics – like who would do which tasks around the house if you lived together and what your favorite foods are.

Be realistic.

So you’ve done everything right and it still feels wrong. Not every relationship ends with a married couple and a lifelong commitment. Be realistic about where your relationship is heading and break up if you aren’t feeling joy and contentment anymore. It’s better to cut someone loose than drag them along while you try and convince yourself that it’s something it isn’t. 

Breaking up over the phone is a bummer, but it’s important to be fair with your partner. With distance between you, sometimes you can’t wait to have that conversation in person. You definitely don’t want to be moving on while your partner still thinks you’re moving forward together (we’ve all seen that storyline play out on sitcoms and movie storylines.) 

Hopefully, this gave you some clarity about your vacation or summer romance. Sometimes, these relationships last a lifetime, and other times, it’s best to enjoy it in the moment, then move on and get back to searching for someone closer to home.

Did you find a fairytale romance or just a holiday fling?

If you do want your vacation romance to work long-term, be sure to take a look at our advice for couples! When it comes to relationship bonding, we’ve literally written the book on it! This section of our Connect blog offers tips and tricks for making the most of your relationship. We’ve even come up with a list of “40 Long-Distance Relationship Activities to Deepen Your Connection“!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can vacation romances last?

Vacation romances come in many types. If you find yourself falling for someone you met on a trip, it’s possible to make the relationship last, if there are signs it’s worth pursuing and you work at it.

How can I make a vacation romance work long-term?

You can transition your vacation romance to a long-distance relationship by taking time to talk to each other often and making plans for meet-ups in the future. Communication is key!

How can I have meaningful dates with my long-distance partner?

Adventures from Scratch: Date Edition is the perfect relationship companion! This interactive book can help you make the most of time with a long-distance partner and have meaningful conversations.

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