Beach goers around the world don't get too bothered by public nudity and speedos. But they do break a sweat when it comes to a possible shark attack.
That's according to Expedia's annual Flip Flop report. The study, commissioned by the online travel agency and conducted online by research firm Northstar, gauged the behaviors and preferences of 11,165 adults across 24 countries in five continents.
For the third consecutive year, Germans were the most likely to sunbathe fully nude, with 28 per cent saying they have spent a day at the beach in the buff. But for the first time this year, Austrians tied them.
Worldwide, more men than women prefer to sunbathe nude.
Women, especially Europeans, were more likely to go topless. Nearly half of Austrians - 49 per cent - were likely to sunbathe topless. Spaniards and Germans followed closely behind.
The most modest beach goers were from Asia. Only 2 per cent of Japanese, 3 per cent of South Korean and 4 per cent of Thai beach goers said they have sunbathed nude. Being modest didn't translate into being uncomfortable with the practice, however. Nearly three-quarters of Japanese beach goers said they were "very" or "somewhat" comfortable with beach nudity or female toplessness. Residents of Hong Kong, India and Malaysia said they were the least comfortable with it.
The beach is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. More than half - 56 per cent - of those surveyed said they have taken a beach vacation in the past year. And 73 per cent of those who have taken, or plan to take, a beach vacation said they had reached personal bliss as a result.
"The beach is the world's most popular travel destination by a considerable margin," John Morrey, vice president and general manager of Expedia.com, said in a written statement. "So every year we ask travelers all over the world to tell us their likes and dislikes as they relate to beach behavior. In response, we can offer travellers the recommendations that best suit their preferences."
Among the other findings:
* Speedos are acceptable attire to nearly three-quarters of beach goers worldwide. A full 95 per cent of Brazilians approve of the skimpy swimwear. Austrians, Germans and Spaniards were nearly as accepting. The least likely to approve of speedos were Norwegians, with just 40% considering it acceptable attire. As for Americans, 57 per cent were fine with speedos.
* More than half of the world's beach goers would "never" post a photo of themselves in swimwear, whether it be a speedo or a one-piece.
* Sleeping was the top beach indulgence, with 46 per cent of respondents saying that they like to sleep in or nap while on a beach vacation. Taking a beach holiday also sparks romance. Almost 40 per cent of the world's beach goers said they enjoy getting intimate with a partner while vacationing on a beach.
* Sharks breed anxiety among beach goers, with 44 per cent of respondents saying they fear an attack. Those from Brazil, Hong Kong and Malaysia were the most fearful of sharks. Half of beach goers said they are afraid to swim at the beach because of sharks. Still, that didn't stop 35 per cent of them from conquering that fear and getting into the water.