When it comes to shared experiences, traveling to a new country or city reigns supreme. But aside from the cherished memories a trip abroad can provide, research from the U.S. Travel Association found that couples who travel together also have better, more fulfilling sex lives.
"What we've long known anecdotally, we're now proving through authoritative research: travel has a positive effect on relationships," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, of the study results. "Couples who travel together have healthier, happier relationships compared to those who do not travel together." The travel association worked with Edge Research to conduct the telephone survey, which included a census representative sample of 1100 adults in relationships, with quotas on gender, age, and region.
More specifically, 63% of the couples surveyed said that a weekend getaway is more likely to spark romance than large or small gifts. Roughly 83% of those who travel as a couple say that the "romance is still alive in their relationship," while 77% of respondents who travel with their significant other reported having a good sex life (compared to 63% of those who do not travel together). One in every four couples said that their sex life improved after traveling together, and 40% reported that sex is "permanently better" after a shared trip together.
Finally, 59% of the couples said that "being intimate is an important reason to vacation together," mainly because it makes time for it.
The survey results speak to what we already know about intimacy and relationships: that new experiences are crucial in keeping the spark alive. "New experiences activate the brain's reward system, flooding it with dopamine and norepinephrine. These are the same brain circuits that are ignited in early romantic love," writes the The New York Times. "Whether you take a pottery class or go on a white-water rafting trip, activating your dopamine systems while you are together can help bring back the excitement you felt on your first date." The publication cites further research from relationship expert and psychology professor Arthur Aron, who found that "partners who regularly share new experiences report greater boosts in marital happiness than those who simply share pleasant but familiar experiences." So what are you waiting for?