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Differences of Beach behavior around the world; Nudity, Food, Swimwear, Intimacy

  • Published by Ozgur Tore

One of the world's largest online travel sites; Expedia released the results of its 2014 study of behavior and preferences among beachgoers in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia/New Zealand.

The 2014 Expedia® Flip Flop Report examines the most prevalent joys and anxieties among beachgoers worldwide, including comfort with public nudity, opinions of speedo-style swimwear and fear of sharks.

The study was conducted among 11,165 adults 18 years of age and older, across 24 countries on five continents.

beach-swim

For the third year running, Germans were the likeliest to sunbathe fully nude at the beach. However, this year – for the first time – Austrians tied their German peers in that regard. 28% of German and Austrian beachgoers report having spent a day at the beach in the buff. Worldwide, beach nudity is more common among men (18%) than women (6%). And toplessness is a largely European phenomenon, with Austrians (49%), Spaniards (42%) and Germans (39%) the likeliest to take part. 12% was the global average for beach nudity, while 20% of female beachgoers worldwide have spent time topless at a beach.

Asian beachgoers are typically more modest; only 2% of Japanese, 3% of South Koreans and 4% of Thai beachgoers have sunbathed nude. Though statistically unlikely to participate, the Japanese expressed a high level of comfort with beach nudity or female toplessness. 72% report being "very" or "somewhat" comfortable with the practice, trailing only the Spanish (74%). Residents of Hong Kong (29% approve), India (29%) and Malaysia (34%) were the least comfortable.

Have Towel, Will Travel

The beach itself is the most popular travel destination for the world's travelers. More than one half (56%) of the study's respondents took a beach vacation in the past year. A full three quarters (75%) of global travelers indicate that they are "very" or "somewhat" likely to take a beach vacation in the next 12 months. Of those who have taken a beach holiday, 62% said they did so outside of their home country, and 59% did so on a different continent.

Beachgoers need no excuse. 79% of those who anticipate taking one will do so "just because." One subliminal driver may be beachgoers' association with beach vacations and personal happiness. 73% of those who have taken, or plan to take, a beach vacation report that such holidays are associated with personal bliss either "a great deal" or "a fair amount."

25% Would Sacrifice a Week's Salary for More Sand

In pursuit of happiness, beach lovers will make sacrifices. The 2014 Expedia Flip Flop Report revealed that 29% would "work weekends for a month" in exchange for just one extra beach vacation per year. 25% would give up a week's salary. 11% would be willing to experience influenza for a full 48 hours.

Spending time in the sand with children made prospective beachgoers most excited (appearing in 51% of the top activities), followed by time with spouse/significant other (46%), sampling local cuisine (44%) and relaxing by the water (40%).

The Preferred Beach State is Serenity

Relaxation is by far the preferred state of being at the beach. 88% of prospective beachgoers report that they will select a serene, calm destination, versus 12% who prefer a "party" destination. At the beach, a stroll along the water is the most popular activity. The list of preferred beach behaviors includes:

  • Walking (70% engage)
  • Swimming (65%)
  • Sunbathing (53%)
  • Reading (53%)
  • Napping (48%)
  • People-watching (47%)
  • Listening to music (45%)
  • Drinking alcohol (39%)
  • Getting a massage/spa treatment (30%)
  • Partying (25%)

At the Beach, Sleep > Food > Intimacy

In fact, sleeping was cited as the top beach indulgence. 46% of global beachgoers cite "sleeping in/napping" as a typical beach indulgence, followed by spending more than normal on food (42%), eating more food than usual (41%), intimacy with a partner (38%) and shopping for things other than clothes (34%).

At 69%, Austrians were the world's likeliest to prioritize a nap. The Irish (53%) were the world's likeliest to over-indulge with food. Brazilians (56%) edged Italians (54%) as the likeliest to be intimate.

Speedos are Approved, Theft Isn't

74% of worldwide respondents consider speedo-style briefs to be acceptable beach attire. A full 95% of Brazilians approve, followed by Austrians (94%), Germans (91%) and Spaniards (91%). Acceptance was lowest among Norwegians, with only 40% approving. 57% of Americans approve of the attire, as do 60% of the Japanese.

More than half of the world's beachgoers would "never" post a photo of themselves in swimwear of any type. 31% of people on the beach avoid posting any vacation photos on their social channels "so I don't make my friends jealous." On the flip side, 18% do post vacation photos to inspire envy.

While speedos do not make beachgoers anxious, theft does. 68% of respondents say that having their wallet or possessions stolen on the beach makes them "very" or "somewhat" anxious.

All Jaws, All the Time

shark44% of respondents worldwide express anxiety around sharks, with beachgoers from Brazil (84%), Hong Kong (70%) and Malaysia (70%) expressing the most fear. A full 50% of beachgoers report that they are afraid to swim at the beach due to sharks, though 35% of that group will swim anyway.

Such fears remain a prevailing concern for beachgoers despite the relative rarity of a shark encounter: The University of Florida's "International Shark Attack File Report" reveals that a mere 72 "unprovoked" shark bite incidents took place in 2013, worldwide.

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