If you’re having fun using Tinder or Bumble at home, there is no reason to stop swiping just because you’re heading off on a trip. An increasing number of travellers are using dating apps to meet fellow explorers, or locals who can show off the best of their city. And you never know what might happen; a lasting friendship, a unique experience, a hot international hook up, or even meeting the love of your life! So go ahead and put yourself (and your profile) out there!
Lauren Rees, from travel blog LastFiascoRun, shares some of her top tips on using dating apps when travelling. “I set my profile up to represent exactly what I was looking for. I posted travel related pictures and put in my bio that I was looking for ‘adventure friends’. Now don’t get me wrong, I still got a lot of responses from juice heads looking for a hook-up, but once I had cut out the wrong people, I actually managed to find some pretty cool guys to go on adventures with.” Lauren says that there are some easy steps to finding some great dates on the road:
- Don’t swipe right if they have a photo in the bathroom/gym with their shirt off and earphones in.
- Focus on foreigners – they are usually more up for exploring
- Go for friendly looking over hot!
- Avoid scary looking selfies
Lauren tested her dating strategies out when she moved to Australia. “I was living in Coolangatta, a small town in Queensland, and I didn’t really know anyone else, and wanted to meet some other travellers because I thought they’d be up for exploring more. I met a Canadian guy, he had a lot of travel photos on his profile, he surfed, and looked like he would be up for some fun activities. He took me to an Aussie rugby match (The Gold Coast Titans!), which was really cool as I had never been and had wanted to go. He has since moved on and is now travelling around Asia, but if he made it over to England I’d meet up with him and offer to show him round.”
No matter how long you intend to stay in a city, you can still have some fun dates along the way, and it’s a good idea to set your profile up a week or two in advance. You could even set up a date before you land!
Urszula Makowska is an actress and blogger from New York, and travels a lot for work. “With every city that I travel to, I’m always interested in meeting new people, learning about the culture and history, and trying out the local food.
I was recently in Portland, Oregon to film for a television show, but during my downtime, I wanted to explore and learn more about Portland. I quickly logged onto Tinder and decided that the first person I would swipe right with would be the first person I would meet up with! My date picked me up and drove me around the city sharing his favourite spots. It was such a fun night! He also introduced me to Voodoo Donuts. They are extremely popular out there and they are very addictive! I returned the favour because he came to New York City the following year, and I showed him around.”
Unexpected, but lasting friendships can spring up all over the world. And dating in another country can also make a refreshing change to the boys and girls you meet back home.
Brooke, a teacher from Arkansas has made some amazing connections whilst travelling in Europe. “Over my three weeks in Portugal, I met some lovely men who I now consider friends. I particularly remember Paulo in Tavira. We connected on Tinder and met for drinks at a hotel bar that was a short walk from my apartment. I was on high alert because, well, a hotel bar seemed a bit suggestive. However, what I found there was an impeccably dressed gentleman sipping a gin and tonic in an exquisite setting. This renovated convent was steps away from where I was staying, yet I would never have discovered it (Hotel Convento Da Graca) without the help of Paulo. We sat for hours amid the archeological remains chatting about the educational systems of the U.S. and Portugal. Being a teacher, this was a genuine highlight for me. He, like the other Portuguese men I met, was genteel, chivalrous, and fiercely proud of his country.
Another Portuguese friend, Nuno, once said to me “The first time you come here, you come to see Portugal. The next time you visit, you come to see friends.” No truer words have been spoken. I’ll be returning in July this year to, yes, visit friends.”
When you’re setting up your profile for an international date (exciting!), there are a few extra considerations.
• Be sure to make it clear what you’re up for from the outset.
• Start swiping before you leave! Save time and start planning before you get there.
• Always respect the local culture. Homosexuality is still a taboo subject in some countries, and even illegal in some, so be mindful of this when you’re editing your profile.
It’s funny how instant and genuine connections can be made when travelling. We all travel for different reasons, and a change of scenery can work wonders. Add to that the frisson of a date and you might even meet someone who can rock your whole world!
Annette, from New York was originally on Tinder to meet other women and maybe a fun hookup, but she ultimately met a true soulmate. “I was in Oslo for 3 days as part of a solo European trip in October 2017. My date took me to a secret alleyway full of jazz clubs, we went to queer bars, and she took me to Kulturhuset (The Culture House). We ended up spending 2 out of the 3 days together, and the rest is history! We are still together today.”
Even if you’re not looking to meet the love of your life right now, you can still make meaningful connections. Which sometimes, can come along at just the right time.
Rana from Cairo had travelled to Romania to get away from a really bad breakup. “I wanted to meet new people and go to new places. I stayed in Romania for 6 weeks and it was my first ever solo trip, but when I got there, I realised I felt more lonely than ever. So I opened up Tinder. It was my first time using it and I met Guilia. She showed me around and we walked for hours, just experiencing the city. We discussed so many things, marriage rituals in our countries, education, culture, religion, politics, even our past relationships. Even though everything was very different in our countries (I’m Egyptian, she was Romanian), we were both very similar in many ways. I guess we figured out we were similar because we opened up to each other and talked our hearts out, we were both strangers to one another. We took comfort knowing that we will never see each other again.”
So whether it’s a hot tango date in Buenos Aires, or rooftop cocktails in Bangkok, your life (and trip) could take an unexpected turn for the better. Happy swiping!
About the author
Gemma Thompson is a writer and broadcaster and specialises in solo female travel. You can find planning tips, city guides and inspiration at girlsthattravel.com.
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