'It Felt Like Bolts of Lightning': 7 Readers Who Found Love While Traveling

These TripSavvy readers shared their most thrilling stories of romance abroad

Couple on swing contemplating the mountains in a romantic view with heart shape.
Artur Debat / Getty Images

We’re dedicating our February features to romance travel. A destination has the ability to steal our hearts, but many magical and memorable experiences abroad can be closely tied to stories of love. From traveling after a breakup to compromising trip planning with multiple partners and prioritizing individual interests on a couple’s trip, we’ve put together a collection of inspiring stories that display just how closely our romantic relationships relate to our worldwide adventures.

Finding love while on vacation sounds like the ultimate dream for many. After all, we've seen it glamorized dozens of times in movies: two people on a train lock eyes, start talking, and change their travel plans to begin a whirlwind romance together. Something is exciting about the idea that your soulmate could be anywhere in the world: lounging on the beach, hiking a mountain, or even sitting in the airplane seat next to you, 35,000 feet in the air. All you need to do is get out into the world and find them.

So in the spirit of Valentine's Day, we posed a question to our readers: Have you ever found love while traveling? From a chance encounter on a beach to a heart-pumping European train chase, TripSavvy readers delivered juicy tales of love abroad. Here are their stories, as well as some advice for those looking to find amore on their next adventure. Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

Jill, 80, Florida

Fifty-six years ago, I traveled to Puerto Rico by myself. This was somewhat daring at the time as women didn't travel anywhere by themselves back then. At my mother's insistence, I went because she felt that the young man I was dating would soon ask me to marry him and that I should travel before I settle down. She was correct; he proposed to me soon after I returned. However, my plans quickly changed: I met a man I promptly fell in love with while lounging on the beach in Puerto Rico. Feeling conflicted, I ended up dating both men when I returned to New York. But I soon decided that the man I met in Puerto Rico was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. We were engaged several months later and married in April of the following year. This April will be our 56th anniversary. That's the power of solo travel!

David, 34, Buffalo

We met at a destination wedding in Chicago that we both traveled to. I guess you can say that was officially our first date. Five years later, we were married! If you're looking for love, my advice is always to take chances, because you just never know.

Kendra, 54, South Carolina

We were both staying at a youth hostel in Spain. He and his group of friends had checked in a day before me. We stayed up all night on the beach talking about our lives, but he and his friends had to check out the next day. He told me they were off to an event in Barcelona, but I was headed to Valencia. I gave him my address, and he promised to write, then we sadly said our goodbyes. But the next day, on the train to Valencia, I made the split-second decision to purposely miss my stop and go to Barcelona to find him. What I didn't know was that the day before, when he and his friends were on the train going to Barcelona, he had gotten off the train early at the Valencia stop to try and find me! I was wandering Barcelona trying to find him in every single hostel, and he was doing the same, trying to find me in Valencia. We never found one another; things were different back then, with no cell phones or internet. But months later, I received a letter from him about how he tried so hard to find me. It made me cry. It was postmarked from his grandparents' house, so I never got his address to write back. However, I still have the little pin he gave me from his hometown in Canada. I kept it all these years.

I made the split second decision to purposely miss my stop and go to Barcelona to find him.

M., 28, Canada

I fell deeply in love with a man I met on the island on a trip to Trinidad. As soon as he walked into the restaurant my friends and I were eating at, it felt like bolts of lightning. At the end of the evening, we ended up at the bar, talking for hours. My friends excused themselves, and I stood to follow, but he took my hands in his and begged me to stay. I told him we were all leaving the following day to go to Tobago and that I needed to wake up early. I said goodbye and figured that would be it. The next day, in Tobago, I was asleep by the pool at my hotel when I heard my name being called over and over again. It turns out I was being paged on the loudspeaker to come to the front desk. When I made my way over, there he was! He said he had asked his wealthy friend to loan him a private plane to get over to the island and look for me. The rest was history. I fell deeply in love, and he came and visited me in Canada. Things didn't work out for us, but our romance was one I'll never forget. I saw a photo of him recently, and he hasn't aged well. I like to think that it was because I broke his heart.

Relissa, 34, Utah

I was volunteering in rural Alaska when I met my husband, who was also volunteering. If you're looking to find love while traveling, I suggest getting involved with a cause you care about and volunteering! People with good hearts volunteer.

Mary, 66, Oklahoma

I met a man on a flight to a wedding in Washington, D.C. I was looking forward to stretching out and reading a book when I noticed I would be sharing my space with a very handsome seatmate. I was taken aback, and once we locked eyes, I couldn't look away. We started talking and didn't stop for the entire flight. We liked the same books and had traveled to the same spots; we had so much in common. We dated long distance for a while, and he sent me roses every week. Unfortunately, the pandemic put a stop to things.

Jane, 70, New York City

I was living abroad in Italy and had a romantic encounter with a handsome Italian man I met in Florence. We soon moved in together in a Florentine villa and had a passionate four-year relationship. Although it didn't last, I'm glad I followed my heart. Being with him was the adventure of a lifetime.