A Guide to Finding Romance Abroad

13/10/2013 23:33 BST | Updated 13/12/2013 10:12 GMT

The clink of champagne glasses atop the Eiffel Tower, the rush of water as you glide down canal streets in a Venetian gondola, the breathtaking views across peaks and valleys when you find yourself somewhere up high and beautiful... this world we live in certainly boasts incredibly romantic locations.

I've visited some of the world's most romantic cities this year - not to brag, but both Paris and Venice I'll have you know - and I've had my fair share of romances abroad.

How can you do the same, I hear you ask? What are the costs and what are the benefits, I hear you cry? Here are my top tips if you find yourself embracing your own romantic journeys over the next year.

Flirting methodology can vary drastically from country to country.

Whether harmless or intentionally hopeful, we all enjoy a good flirt. But there are important things to consider when taking your flirting routine global. Cultures, customs and levels of appropriateness vary greatly from country to country. What seems like an attempt to get in your knickers in Italy could just be casual flirtatious banter. In the Middle East, aspects of 'normal' Western flirting could get a woman arrested.

My advice is to do a Google search and ask friends about their experience with flirting customs in the country you're visiting. If you know what's acceptable and what's not, you'll be prepared to act appropriately while still enjoying yourself - and that's what flirting it all about: having fun!

Don't be yourself; be anyone you want to be.

One of the most exciting elements of a romantic fling overseas is that nobody knows you. Unless you've been there a while, you're not going to run into an ex, your mother, an inquisitive friend or that creepy guy from work who keeps giving you his phone number. So why not make the most of your anonymity and be the person you've always dreamed of being?

For a night, a week or a month, dating in a place where nobody knows you gives you the opportunity to play an elaborate - or not so elaborate - game of pretend. Just don't get drunk and accidentally reveal yourself, and don't pretend to be a secret agent. That sort of thing can get you into trouble.

Adjust your expectations accordingly.

Just like back home, there's only a slim chance you've found your one true love on this date and on this day. Many find their future husband or wife while they're travelling, and many don't. For every story of true love found in some exotic destination, there are many more stories of love found in the office, at a neighbour's dinner party or down the pub on a Saturday night.

A different country - or continent - doesn't change the rules. You may have to sieve through a lot of strange and interesting characters to find somebody like-minded. Even if you're successful in doing that, there are a broad range of new problems with trying to keep in touch with somebody or starting a long-distance relationship.

So have fun, lots of fun, but don't expect too much. In doing that, you'll keep everybody happy.

Take away the 'sexy foreigner' element.

I've heard many travellers' tales of accidentally becoming involved with somebody that, in retrospect, was awful in a handful of ways from the start. Be cautious in picking your suitor - home rules should still apply when dating abroad.

The question you have to ask yourself is this: If this guy or girl wasn't French/Italian/Spanish, would you still be interested? If the answer is 'no', get out early. If you realise this on a first date, go to the toilet and never return. This is a trap you don't want to fall into if you plan on packing your dignity in your suitcase when you return home.

For more advice on expat life, living abroad and working abroad, visit my new blog

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