If you’re fortunate enough to get out and see the world—or even other parts of the country—you will gain many memories and participate in potentially life-changing experiences. Traveling can be a great opportunity to grow as a person and, if you’re single during your travels, you might also use this time to experience a little short-term romance. Just remember that casual hookups always require caution and planning—and there are a few extra things to concern yourself with when hooking up while abroad or on the road.
Bring Your Own Protection
If you’re a woman who plans to sleep with men, make sure you’re on birth control if it is medically feasible for you. Give it time to start working before you go: at least a few weeks, and month if you are especially cautious. If you need to take antibiotics during your trip, know that your birth control may stop being effective while you’re on the medicine and for a few days after. Becoming pregnant with the child of a casual hookup (particularly one from another country) is one complication that’s best to avoid.
Regardless of your gender or the gender of the people with whom you hope to have sex, bring plenty of other protection or buy it as soon as you arrive. Condoms (which can be useful as genital shields even for woman-on-woman relations) are a must. You’re not just avoiding pregnancy, but also STDs, which can be spread both through intercourse and oral stimulation. When hooking up casually, you’re unlikely to get to know someone’s sexual history well enough to be sure you are safe from sexually transmitted diseases.
Always Let Someone Know Where You Are
If you have a traveling partner, make sure that person knows who you’re going home with and where you’re going before you split up to enjoy a hookup. If traveling alone, text a friend back home all of this information. You can even insist on a photo with the person to send back home before you go off with them alone. If this seems strange, explain why. They may laugh, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. If someone refuses to take a picture with you, then it’s not worth the trouble of crawling into bed with them. Don’t be embarrassed about sharing these details. It could mean the difference between a fun, safe night and a nightmare.
Watch Your Drinks—and Your Drinking
Bars and nightclubs are some of the most popular locations to find a willing partner no matter where you are, but they’re also not the safest location to find a date for the night. Never leave your drinks unattended, even for a second, as someone might slip something in when you’re not looking. Limit your drinking considerably when in an unfamiliar location, especially if you want to hook up with someone. You’ll need your wits about you to share all the important information with someone you can trust and to make sure that you use all of your protection before you begin the act. It’s also important to keep an eye on where the person is bringing you. If you feel uncomfortable, bail and flag down a taxi to get back to your hotel.
Hook Up at Your Place
Unless staying with a host family or in a group hostel with rules about sexual relations, it’s probably best to bring your dates to your hotel, rather than to follow them back to their own places. This provides you with some control over the environment, as your date is less likely to ambush you with prepared kidnapping equipment, and it adds a layer of security. Staff will be nearby to escort the person away if you start feeling uncomfortable.
Relationships can be complicated and messy, and if you’re a frequent traveler you may not be ready to settle down quite yet—in more ways than one. Hooking up can be a fun way to add some extra pleasure to your trip, with no strings attached. Just be cautious, alert, and ever-vigilant, particularly if traveling alone. You might even consider bringing along a friend with benefits, that way you can focus on seeing the world rather than on finding your next hookup. There is no need to sacrifice the fun of having relations during your exciting adventure.