Traveling Could Be Putting Your Sexual Health At Risk For This One Reason

by Talia Koren
Jelena Jojic

When it comes to safety and traveling, you probably think about taking precautions to avoid getting mugged, kidnapped or scammed first. But what about sexual health?

When you're traveling, it's good to expand your horizons as much as possible. Traveling is an opportunity to discover new things about the world and yourself. It's common for people to adopt a mindset while away from home that makes them more open to trying new things (and not just food).

But two recent studies show that now more than ever, travelers are at risk of racking up more than stamps on their passports.

Data from the most recent National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles from the UK reveals one in 20 women and one in 10 men reported hooking up with someone new while abroad in the last five years. That's great, but this carefree mindset affects how often people are reaching for protection: According to the research, travelers who hooked up with someone new were also more likely to engage in risky behaviors, including having sex without condoms.

The second study was a survey of over 2,000 backpackers who visited Thailand, a favorite destination for those in their early 20s. This study showed that a whopping 37 percent of these travelers didn't use condoms during sex, even if they packed them. Interestingly enough, they also found that travelers from certain countries are more or less likely to use a condom.

No matter what, being able to enjoy travel is only possible when you know you're safe. Imagine having to visit a clinic in a foreign country and being told you contracted an STI? That's not a fun Skype call home.

The dangers of risky sex and drug use while traveling applies to all adults, not just 20-somethings. This is especially true because these days, finding a way to travel — no matter how much money you make — is incredibly easy.

Part of having a fulfilling experience while traveling is being able to live in the moment without limits, but there's definitely a line. On your way home from a long trip, you probably just want to leave with lifelong memories and nothing else.