Couples vacations and romantic passion and intimacy.

J Coffey, Moji Shahvali, D. Kerstetter, A Aron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Despite limited empirical support, vacations are marketed as beneficial for romantic partners. Using the self-expansion model as a foundation, we tested how self-expanding (e.g., novel, interesting, challenging) vacation experiences are associated with passion, physical intimacy, and relationship satisfaction. Study 1 (n = 238 partners) found that higher individual self-expanding experiences on vacations predicted higher post-vacation romantic passion and relationship satisfaction for couples traveling with their partners, but not those that did not travel together. Study 2 examined 102 romantic dyads that traveled together and found that higher self-expanding experiences on vacations predicted more post-vacation physical intimacy. Our findings advance self-expansion research and provide evidence for the tourism industry to design and promote self-expanding vacation experiences for couples seeking improved relationships and meaningful vacations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnals of Tourism Research Empirical Insights
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Dyadic design
  • Intimacy
  • Leisure vacations
  • Relationship satisfaction
  • Romantic passion
  • Self-expansion


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