Omni Traveller

Budget Backpack Travel in Europe

Dating, Relationships, and Sex While Travelling

Backpacking for a few weeks, months, or longer, provides a unique backdrop for casual companionship, friendship, love, and everything in between. Some types of intimate relationships and encounters are logistically easier than others, but when it comes down to it, you really can have whatever type of intimacy you want while on the road.



Couple kissing in Parque das Nações, Lisbon, Portugal

Parque das Nações, Lisbon, Portugal
 Photo: Pedro Ribeiro Simões

Oddly enough, dating or regularly going on dates with one or more individuals is the least likely form of relationship you’re likely to have while travelling. This is so even though it’s arguably the most common form of intimate relationship the average person experiences at home.

Dating depends on a number of factors that do not normally exist on the road. Dating, as we tend to frame it, is dependent on a fixed location. To date someone, you and another person need to be at the same place for an extended period of time. You might go on one or two dates with a certain person while you’re travelling, but the idea of slowly getting to know each other and going out multiple times in a casual manner isn’t likely to occur. Of course, it is possible if two people happen to be in the same city or town at the same time for long period of time, but this is not the norm. Overall, the act of dating is too casual to depend on casually meeting up again down the road.

Now, if you define “dating” to mean simply “going on dates”, then you can date rather consistently when you’re on the road, and without very much effort.

Of course, you will meet many available individuals while travelling. You can ask them to join you to explore your new locale, or to check-out a local restaurant. This is a great way to add some sort of intimacy to routines that may become lonely, especially the longer you travel. Just make sure you set the internal expectation that this chance encounter is likely to be the only date you will have with this person. So, enjoy it for what it is- temporary companionship that is unlikely to go particularly far or deep.



Due to the transient and intense nature of extended travel, most backpackers take an “all or nothing” approach to the romantic relationships they form with other backpackers and locals. They either consider them a fleeting presence or they become very close and serious with them rather quickly.

It’s easy to see why relationships while travelling morph into serious commitments so quickly. If a backpacker meets someone they really like, then they are likely to feel a need to make a serious commitment to that person. In fact, this alone can bring about the ability to date that person again, even on an on-going basis. Therefore, they feel a need to make the new friend a priority, someone they are willing to alter their planned schedule in order to remain connected.

If they didn’t make some sort of commitment to them, they would wonder what’s the point of aligning travel schedules, staying at a location longer than planned, or factoring a veritable stranger into one’s personal travelling equation. If not, there would be no reason to visit a country in which they have little interest just to see someone they randomly hooked-up with for one night. However, there is clear reason to make major travel adjustments if the two decide to enter into a serious relationship.

There’s another reason why people dive head-long into a serious relationship while travelling. Travel itself is an intense experience, and the impact of this experience tends to generate intense relationships.

In addition, there is yet another factor involved. It’s surprisingly common for typical backpackers to find themselves with an urge to bare their souls to fellow travellers they’ve met. This sort of unguarded communication facilities the rapid development of intimate relationships. Add the fact that travel is such an exciting experience, that very excitement comes to be associated with the positive emotions towards those met along the way.

Considering these reasons, it is easy to understand how travel can enable a desire to be swept with the quick development of an unanticipated romance.

Are serious travel relationships worthwhile? I believe most would say, “yes”. Even if the relationship doesn’t last, and it probably won’t, it’s a worthwhile experience in itself, and it will add to the overall experience of travel. Besides, romantic relationships are comforting and helps to combat the innate feelings of loneliness and isolation that inevitably become evident during extended periods of travel. It provides the ability to intimately connect with someone.

Do travel relationships ever last? Of course, some do, though it is quite unusual. Travel relationships that do last tend to be relationships between people who met while sharing a particular time-consuming experience. This allows substantial time for the two people to more naturally grow their relationship. A classic example are students at a foreign university who will naturally meet other students.

However, relationships that form between two people with perpetual, deep-seated wanderlust rarely last for very long unless there is an unusually strong bond.



To be frank: As long as you are remotely attractive and decently socially adjusted, you can have all the meaningless sex you want while travelling.

Start with the fact all travel, especially extended travel, normally generates a marked level of loneliness. Toss in the general truth that people tend to be more uninhibited when travelling, and you’ll discover that sex on the road will reveal itself as abundant. People will do a lot of things while travelling they wouldn’t do when back home. That includes all manner of pointless hook-ups with someone they just met. And that someone could easily be you.

There are some logistical difficulties surrounding having casual sex while travelling. However, they can be dispelled with a bit of boldness. Unless you have your own private room, or unless you’re willing to rent out a private room for the night, you’re going to have your hook-ups at least semi-publically.

I’m not saying you have to get it on in the middle of a crowded plaza, but you will need to accustom yourself to hooking up outside of the normal locked bedroom. Sometimes this means a hostel room where other people are staying, whether they’re in the dorm room sleeping or out on the town at the moment. Sometimes this means having sex in a currently deserted public location, such as a park.

You can also hook-up in a random corner of your hostel if you’re up late enough and if you know where to look. Stairwells, rooftops, and other similar nooks and crannies offer enough privacy for a quickie. These locations feed well into the olf but simplest strategy- just stay up late at night and hang out in the hostel’s common room.