The Risks and Rewards of Hooking Up while Traveling

When I left my couch surfing apartment in La Fortuna in search of breakfast, I didn’t expect to be walking back barefoot along the highway at night all alone, but sometimes that’s what happens when you risk dating on vacation.

I had some fun hookups while on vacation but a lot of complications arose that wouldn’t have happened if I was hooking up at home. It’s a delicate balance between risk and reward while traveling and I’ve put together this article so you can better prepare yourself for being swept off your feet in a new place.



If you’re in a new country, you’ll want to make sure your phone is functional. Make sure you have data because you likely won’t be connected to wifi if you’re hooking up in the jungle. Don’t forget to charge your phone, too! You don’t want to find yourself needing to escape with a dead phone.

Make sure you’ve downloaded helpful apps that can direct you where you need to go, or that can transport you there. Uber isn’t everywhere, but there’s a good chance a similar app exists where you’re vacationing, and if not, you’ll want to have taxi numbers saved in your phone before you need one.

Translation apps can also be absolutely indispensable if you’re not fluent in the local language. The amount of times I’ve used Google Translate to clear up a miscommunication is beyond counting.

Another good idea is to turn on your GPS function and make sure you have an app like Where’s My Droid? installed with a friend in the know so you can be found if need be.

It’s also a good idea to text someone you know who can help you if you get yourself into trouble. Preferably someone in the country. Make sure they know how to find your phone.

Stranger Danger

As with any casual sex encounter, there’s an inherent risk in not being very well acquainted. An unknown always has the potential to be dangerous. It also has the potential to be wonderful, but the point is you have no idea.

Will they respect any boundaries that you might set? Hard to say. Are they motivated by more than just sex? Maybe. Can they have an open and honest conversation about their sexual history and if there’s any chance of contracting an STI? One way to find out.

The person you’ve been flirting with is likely only thinking about what they want from this connection. They haven’t developed enough of a relationship with you to feel compelled to be good to you unless they’re the kind of person who is good to others by default. Or good to people like you by default.

They might be interested in stealing your money, passport, or other valuables. They might have some sort of vendetta against people of your nationality, sex or orientation. Or alternatively, they might think they’re in love with you and expect more than what you’re willing to give. Regardless, it’s a good idea to assess why someone wants to hook up.

Gut feelings

When you’re hooking up with strangers, it becomes even more essential to pay attention to your gut. Even though most of us have gotten used to ignoring our guts, we can still tap into those feelings when they happen. If we’re paying attention.

Our bodies pick up on subtle information that our conscious minds miss. They might pick up on lies and deception, or just high levels of anxiety. Maybe it’s the eye contact or their breathing, but it’s all being aggregated into a holistic picture of the encounter that leaves you feeling something.

Pay attention to whatever your body is telling you. Even if you can’t come up with a logical reason for it, if your body is telling you that something isn’t right, listen to it. Our instincts could be the difference between a whirlwind sexual adventure and being robbed, or worse.

Location, Location, Location!

Pay attention to where in the world you are and what the sexual health statistics are like. Is there a high rate of syphilis? AIDS? Is this an area known for sexual assault? Sex tourism and prostitution? How religious and marriage-oriented is this place? All of these details are important to take into account as you assess the risks for yourself.

Not only should you consider where in the world you are vacationing, but you should also consider where you’re hooking up. Are you in public? If so, do you know what the laws are around public indecency if you get caught? Are you at their house, a hotel, or hostel? If so, can you safely escape if you need to? Would you be able to get back to where you’re staying or to a different, safer place? Again, remember to let a friend know where you are and how to geolocate your phone.

Then there are the less scary, but still essential considerations of location. Are you on a beach? Do you have a plan to prevent sand from getting into places you don’t want it to be? If you’re outdoors, do you have insect repellant? Are you familiar with the flora and fauna of the area? Think about these things before you get into the heavy petting because you definitely won’t be thinking of that then.


People can be so judgy. They judge you for being too cheap, or not frugal enough. They judge you for being uptight, but then also for being too wild. And every person has their own ways of measuring these traits, and different thresholds for what is “too much”. You can’t win and there’s no point in trying.

If you want to go out and get frisky — do it! Have fun! You’re on VACATION! Just make sure that you’ve taken the time to check in with yourself and that you know what risks you’re taking on and what you’re willing to do before you get yourself into a sticky situation. If you’re traveling with others, consider how your actions might impact them.

Keep your feelings as your guide and if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Trust yourself, stay informed, and hopefully, it’ll all work out.



Casual hookups while on vacation or traveling abroad can be so much fun! It can boost your confidence, give you great stories and really enhance your trip.

Day to day life can be so boring and monotonous. You go to work, come home, eat, relax, repeat. Maybe you see friends here and there, maybe you go out and do something fun, but that’s not all the time. On vacation, you have fewer (if any) commitments and time affords you more freedom. There are plenty of opportunities to do something (or someone) fun.

Stress Relief

You’re probably traveling, at least in part, because you want to relieve stress. What could be a better relief than plentiful orgasms? If you pick a responsive (or talented) lover and can communicate your needs effectively, orgasms can be just a lick away!

Sex relaxes your body like nothing else and can even energize you, too (once you’ve had some time to recuperate). There are orgasms, massages, long walks on the beach….so many ways to relieve stress with a vacation lover. If you’re single or otherwise free to explore sex with others, why wouldn’t you?


If you happen to be hooking up with someone who speaks a different language than you do, you might learn some extra intimate phrases you wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to. For instance, I learned que rico, la diosa, and te gusta while traveling in Costa Rica.

New lovers from different places with different customs and sexual habits may also offer you the opportunity to learn more about yourself and what you like. Maybe they have a certain way of touching you that really fires you up, or maybe their style of flirting is surprisingly effective on you. Or maybe you learn that you really do not like certain things, and that’s helpful to learn, too.


It’s no secret that humans are hardwired for novelty.

As much as we can also definitely be creatures of comfort, variety truly is the spice of life. Sexuality is especially charged up by novelty. Think about times when you’ve gotten really turned on. It’s probably not from something you see or experience every day.

Traveling is FULL of novelty! New places, new food, new people…our senses become so flooded with novelty, it’s no wonder people get so horny on vacation.

Adventure is out there!

I had a great adventure and don’t regret it at all, but I definitely learned firsthand that there can be more risks than you realize (and of different types), when you decide to date in an unfamiliar place.

So go out and have fun, but prepare yourself for the unexpected. You never know where your heart will take you!