Seems I’m not alone in my quest for a permanent beach vacation.
There are lots of reasons I’m moving to Panama with my family this summer — but the beach is definitely one of the big ones.
According to Expedia’s 2012 Flip-Flop travel report, this is because I’m Canadian. Apparently we love, love, love the beach.
In the report, nearly half (45%) of Canadians said they prefer a beach vacation to all other types of vacations, far ahead of the global average of 33%. Of the 21 countries surveyed for the report, Canada ranks fourth – behind Argentina, Mexico and Denmark – among the countries most ardently in love with the beach.
This is hardly surprising to us Canucks. After all, we spend a good six months scraping ice off our snowmobiles and wearing seal-skinned jackets, right? Those Corona commercials during breaks in the hockey game taunt us all winter long. Of course we want the beach, and as soon as possible.
It’s only early May, you say? Bah! I say. So what if there’s still snow on the ground – the sun’s out! What’s that Jeff Foxworthy joke about Canadians? “If you’ve ever worn shorts and a parka at the same time, you must be Canadian.”
(I’m pretty sure I’ve done that.)
This explains why nearly two-thirds of Canadians spend a week on a tropical beach somewhere every winter. Can you blame us? But though few can match our passion for sun and sand, it would appear we Canadians are also among the laziest of beachgoers. Expedia’s report says our number-one favorite beach activity is: nothing.
The survey said 72% of us want to just lay there and relax, compared to 54% globally. Only the British and the Irish were lazier than us on the beach. I blame this on the all-inclusive resort trend, which is what many Canadians choose for their tropical beach vacations. We have a reputation for – how do I put this politely – liking our libations just a little too much, so when someone says “all-inclusive,” most Canadians hear “free cuba libres for breakfast!”
I’m kidding. The truth is, we’re really not that lazy, and we’re not all perpetually inebriated. Really. Expedia says so.
According to their report, we spend a lot of time in the water – we’re #1 in the world when it comes to snorkeling and #3 when it comes to swimming.
It’s interesting to look at some of the cultural differences in approaches to going to the beach:
- Brazilians (40%) were likeliest to exercise on the beach; when doing so, they may well stumble over the Japanese, who were 14 times likelier to relax (28%) than exercise (2%).
- Not surprisingly, Germans are likeliest to sunbathe nude, according to the report. A full 15% of German respondents indicated that they sunbathe naked. Surprisingly Indians and Spaniards (8%) were the second-likeliest to shed their clothing, while the French (5%) were more aligned with Americans (2%), the British (2%) and the Japanese (1%).
- Mexicans, Indians and Singaporeans were most likely to dance on the beach, while those from Denmark, Brazil and New Zealand prefer to spend their time beachcombing – that is, scouring for seashells and the like.
- And even though well under 100 shark bites are reported worldwide every year, people can’t seem to get the movie Jaws out of their psyche. The report found that 50% of travelers consider the possibility of a shark encounter when deciding where to holiday, and a full 68% of beach vacationers admit to having been afraid to swim because of sharks.
But if there’s one thing everyone seems to agree on, it’s that finding a vacation with value is a top consideration. The #1 criteria for travelers in 14 of the 21 countries surveyed is total vacation price — the quality of the beach itself came in second. And according to Statistics Canada, thanks to better air connections, South and Central America continue to increase in popularity as destinations for Canadian tourists. That’s good news for a booming Panama!
I guess you could say our family takes the Canadian love of the beach to the extreme; we weren’t content to merely visit the gorgeous beaches of Panama – we were determined to make them our home. Best of all, Panama’s beaches back up to a lot more than just a swim-up bar — adventure abounds. We’ll have to report back to our lazy Canadian friends about the world-famous sport fishing, surfing, and jungle exploration that sets a Panama beach vacation apart. Of course, we’ll be more than happy to share our new adopted country with travelers – we’ve already got visitors booked!