The Single Best Thing to Do on Vacation

August 3, 2012

A wise woman once said, "Vacation all I ever wanted. Vacation all I ever needed."

Really, is there anything greater in this world than getting to take a break from it? I think not (unless you're able to get a little somin' somin' while you're on it). For some it's easy to meet people on vacation, but really this should be true for all. You're out of your element, you're relaxed, most likely more open. And when all of these things radiate off of you, people take notice. Mostly because everyone else is in the same (possibly literal) boat that you are. The trick to any successful getaway is to leave every expectation you have at home. Removing the idea of hooking up or meeting someone special is about the best thing you can do. The last thing you want to come out of a long planned trip is to be disappointment. And if you're able to take time off of work, isn't the whole point to not have to do any? The same applies for meeting people, you shouldn't have to work hard to make a connection. Instead, focus on being in the moment and enjoying your surroundings, friends, and activities and chances are the rest will come to you. That friendly, carefree attitude that comes with being on holiday (that's for you Europe) can be seen from a mile away and it's ever so inviting. One of the greatest joys of travel is making new friends. Throw a smile at someone or a playful hello. Ask for directions, advice or comment on some of more unique characteristics of wherever you are. These are tiny, easy ins that will take you a long way while you're away from home. Being open and spontaneous can lead to some of the greatest adventures, friendships, and memories of your life.

Can you tell I'm excited to head to mine? Provincetown, here I come!

But what about you, what's your best advice for meeting new people while traveling on vacation?

Tags: Vacation, Meeting Men
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share this
Post written by RobHeartsDH (View Author Profile)
About this author: Rob lives in Manhattan with his black pug Riley. When he’s not thinking about daddies, he enjoys writing, eating burritos, watching copious amounts of television, and thinking about his next meal.
View all posts by RobHeartsDH


Last year my boy and I went to Amsterdam, just for 5 days (he didn't have enough vacation time at work). I know the city (and love it) and it was his first time. I was full of plans for things we "had" to see (the most beautiful Vermeer in the world at the Rijksmuseum, the facade of the Tuchinsky theater, the flower market) and restaurants we "had" to try.

Our first three days were spent getting thoroughly lost, and thoroughly stressed, until we started taking advantage of whatever bar or restaurant happened to be in our path (we never found any on my carefully-researched list) - and discovering that it was all good. A very tall Annie Lennox look-alike as our happy, welcoming waitress in one place, a roaring fire (and a quiet place to smoke) in the back of a small, old bar, and my particular favorite, a very good bakery that opened early in the mornings, with a perky Scotch lass who kept me fueled with Dutch coffee (the best) and sausage rolls. Once we let the plans and the guilt over not having any plans evaporate, we relaxed into the city, stopped getting lost and starting having a marvelous time, just 2 days before we had to leave. This October, we're going to stay longer, perhaps 2 weeks.

So I agree utterly - go with few expectations, make plans, but expect them to change, stay loose and receptive and "you'll have a really good time" (thank you, Roxy Music).

And a casual trick met online there led to my taking a man who lives in A'dam as my second boy, a loving friendship that continues to grow, albeit remotely (but he's staying with us for a week, starting next Thursday - neither of us are going to get much sleep).

Great narrative! Thanks for sharing it! I love Amsterdam myself. My partner and I had the best time of our lives at one of the Thermos Bath Houses (can't remember if it was Thermos I or II; the one that opens late). Met a wonderful guy who became our tour guy. Great city to do by foot. Hope you enjoy your two weeks there!

Key West is only 3 hours from my home in South Florida. Been there many times over the years, did the bars, restaurants and Duval Steet. I went alone and had a great time chatting with other guests and relaxing poolside. Since I was alone, I walked to Duval Street and found a great little "booth" that served the best Lobster Rolls, Fried Shrimp and fries. It was on Duval Street in a courtyard and you had to sit on a barstool by a ledge or a picinic table. I dont recall if the "booth" had a name but it was great dining and people watching. Best weekend I ever had.

I love little places like that. They usually have great food and are very relaxed. Plus, what a great place to people watch.

If you are traveling outside of the U.S. (including Canada and Mexico), never forget who the foreigner is. It is you, not the people who live there. the foreginer is YOU. This fact is lost on too many of us Americans.

Learn a few basic phrases in the local language, such as please and thank you, where is the toilet, excuse my mistake please and I am lost. Making the effort will be gratefully appreciated by the people in yhour host country, and you will be amazed at how their spoken English suddenly improves. One intersting lesson that I learned in Korea was that I could not understand some peoiple's attempts at spoken English, but we could exchange notes written in English.

Most people want to share the story of their lives, and having a visitor from another place who will do is is entirely too rare. Be willing to listen more than you taolk and be a gracious guest and the rewards will be tremendous. Even when traveli9ng in a different regi0on in the U.S.

well put, couldn't agree more. i'm extremely fortunate to be of three nationalities and to have lived in several parts of the world so i've had lots of practice but given all that, even for the first-time traveller or globe-trotter, there's no big secret and was simple enough for even me to pick up on: the fact that it truly is not hard to travel and interact with fellow homo sapiens by just being a nice human being. smile a lot. it's a tad of a cliché but when in rome, do as the romans - try to eat the country's or region's specialties, enjoy their arts and architecture, take in an event - sporting, theatre, music or what have you that the locals are fond of. don't get caught in the trap of comparing everything to the way that it's supposedly better back home by balking that there aren't enough 7-11s, starbucks, walmarts and macdonald's, but instead find out where people go for a snack, a good coffee, some basic shopping and for a quick meal. try to meet the local people on their own terms, and if possible, in their own language. it's amazing what happens when you show some genuine interest and appreciation for whatever country or culture you are visiting by sharing a fact or two that about the place and its history as well as by speaking a little bit of the local language, even if you blunder through. i've had whole meals covered, rounds of drinks bought and offers of hospitality extended as well as a ton of advice freely given on where to go/see/visit or what to avoid going/seeing/visiting just because i made some effort to engage in the culture i was visiting. remember, it's almost likely that, barring a personal invitiation, nobody asked you to come, so don't be an unwanted, obnoxious, rude, disrespectful houseguest or expect to be treated as such. finally, enjoy the break from routine - that's all part of the vacation, too - try to do the same thing in a different, or new way that you might not be able to back home...

If you don't have a command of the language - do your best to pronounce the names of the people your have been introduced to properly. It's a given so many Americans don't have the ear (or patience) for it, but I have found those across borders and across the pond are amazed that you even try to speak without an accent. One Canadian man years ago went to bed with me in P-town just because I said his name and other French words correctly. Pre-coital and post-coital activities were him saying words and my repeating them back to him. Try your best to dispel the "Ugly American Behavior". Also, dear friends of mine who regularly travel abroad discourage dressing like tourists, blending in to the point people were speaking German to them in Berlin. Talking about going Native!

My own foreign travel experiences have been limited to lands where English is spoken: England, Ireland and South Africa. I was deep in the closet and traveling with straight friends, so there wasn't even the remote possibility of a hook-up. But the purpose of the trips was to immerse myself in the country and that succeeded better than I ever dreamed! I've never met people more open-handed and open-hearted than the Irish. South Africans were a very close second. Being an African-American man, I was unprepared for such warmth and friendliness and can't wait to go back to all three countries. However, I hope future visits will involve meeting gay men, particularly in Ireland where I was cruised more than once. Canada and Scandinavia are high on my list as well.

I've been doing a lot of traveling this year. Two cruises,time in NYC, London and the Caribbean.
Onboard a ship it can be easy to meet new people. Dinner time on a ship is a great time. You sit with the same people every night and talk of your day and what you have planned for that evening or during the trip.

NYC is a surprisingly friendly city,(growing up in Canada you hear stories!!) I loved it and can't wait to get back...and I also had fun in London.
It's safe to say I fell head over heals for both cities!!

Being Canadian may set me apart, I could be wrong about that, but people are always very friendly...
And I've never been shy about asking for directions or even suggestions from locals on what to see while visiting in their city...after all they live there and are probably proud to show it off as well!!

I live in Vancouver and during the summer months we have cruise ships that travel back and forth to Alaska. I personally love helping tourists with questions and advise on what to see.

Being a tourist is a treat...don't forget to be your cities best first impression.

The three best vacations I have ever taken were all to the grand emerald center court of Wimbledon tennis's greatest stage. I was there in 1990 when Martina won number 9. I went back in 2009 to watch Roger Federer win #15 and this year when he won #17 The people in GB are very friendly and the men are very sexy and I found tons of great Indian restaurants in and around town.