Looking for love in all the wrong places? Well, perhaps it’s time to venture beyond your hometown (or country, even).
If you’ve ever seen Before Sunrise, you’ve probably dreamt about sitting next to a charming stranger on a train and falling in love overnight in a far-flung European city. Truthfully, it probably won’t happen that way for most of us. But luckily, we’re armed with something that Celine and Jesse didn’t have back in 1995: dating apps.
For travellers who are single and very ready to mingle, using dating apps while travelling is one of the best ways to find romance. It opens up a whole new pool of potential partners — and you don’t even have to leave your hotel room to put yourself out there. And even if you don’t end up with your one true love, connecting with new people is usually worthwhile! Whether it’s a summer fling, a travel buddy, or just a great night out that you end up finding, you’ll probably have a good story to tell your friends back home.
Ready to take your dating game to new places? Here are a couple of tips to make the road to true love as smooth as possible.
1. Choose your dating app — and don’t be afraid to try more than one!
The first step is to pick and download a dating app, of course. You may already have one on your phone, but having a few lets you explore different options — and a variety of people, too!
Tinder and Bumble remain the most popular dating apps worldwide, but others like OKCupid, eHarmony, and Hinge are also commonly used in most places. Dating apps geared towards queer users include Grindr, Her, and Lex are excellent options for finding matches abroad. Meanwhile, Happn and TourBar are traveller-favourites.
The right app can also depend on where you’re going, as some apps may be more popular in other countries than others. For instance, travellers exploring Asia and planning to meet locals may find it worth creating a profile in Tantan and Paktor.
Also read: 12 Best Countries for Extroverts Who Love to Travel
2. Spruce up your profile
Put your best foot forward and catch the eye of potential matches lurking online. Make sure your photos are up-to-date, showing enough of your personality and interests to attract the right people. It’s also important to be upfront about how long you’ll be around. That way, your dates know what to expect and that you’re only passing through.
In the same vein, be clear about what you’re looking for. Maybe you’re looking for a serious relationship, a casual fling, a travel buddy, or a fun person to show you the cool local spots — whatever it is, make sure you’re honest about what you want and say so on your bio.
3. Start looking for dates even before getting to your destination
Trust us on this: Getting a head start counts. After all, if you’re only going to be in the same place for a few days at a time, that doesn’t leave a lot of time for dates.
Most dating apps limit your search for The One (or The One For Right Now) to your physical location. But if you’re willing to pay a little extra in the name of love, premium features like Tinder Passport on Tinder Plus and Bumble’s Travel Mode let you swipe right on people from other countries before flying to their destination. And if you hit it off with any of your matches, you can set up a friendly date as soon as you land in their time zone!
4. Protect personal information
When you’re on dating apps while travelling in a foreign country, it’s best to be extra cautious with your personal information. Keep in mind that you’re especially vulnerable in an unfamiliar place, especially if you don’t speak the local language, and even more if you’re travelling alone.
Set boundaries and keep your personal information, hotel address, and even phone number private, at least in the beginning. It’s always best to keep some details to yourself, like where you’re staying, your itinerary, or who you’re with, particularly if you’re riding solo. Talk on the app before switching to text or other messaging apps. If you can, dig a little into their social media to get a feel of their personality or to see if they’re who they say they are.
And if something’s sus? Be polite but firm: Tell them you don’t feel a connection, wish them luck, and say goodbye. Thank you, next!
Also read: How to Build Up the Courage to Travel Solo for the First Time
5. Be aware of local practices and laws
It goes without saying that you should always have an idea about the country you’re visiting, local customs, and especially laws.
For one, you want to make a good impression on your date. The last thing you want is to appear like an ignorant tourist in front of someone you’re trying to impress. It could be as simple as tipping at restaurants, which is wildly different from one country to the next. Hitting it off with your Bumble match? Be careful with being too amorous outside; public displays of affection may be normal in Brazil, but not as welcome in Japan.
Additionally, anyone part of the LGBTQIA+ community should be extra careful when visiting a country that prosecutes queer people. Hard as it may be to believe, dozens of countries still criminalise same-sex relationships, including top vacation destinations in the Caribbean and Africa.
6. Set your first date in public
Safety first, remember? We know it’s easy to relax, forget your usual rules, and embrace spontaneity when you’re on vacation. But taking precautions is a crucial part of dating, no matter where you are in the world.
Meet your date in a public place that’s easily accessible with plenty of people around, even if you’re open to going somewhere more private later. Cafes and restaurants are good picks for casual dates, but fun activities at the park or the mall can also be a good fit for some couples.
If alcohol is on the table, indulge in moderation and avoid getting drunk. Getting your own drinks is ideal, and keep a close eye on your glass at all times.
7. Tell a pal where you are
Another safety rule for explorers looking for love: Make sure someone always knows where you’re going, what time you’re planning to be back, and who you’re with. When it’s possible, take a screenshot of your date’s profile and forward it to your contacts.
If you’re travelling with friends, inform them before setting off on your own. Travelling solo? Message a few pals, then leave a note in your hotel room or hostel bed with all the details. If the date goes well and you decide to go to a second location, shoot your friends a quick update. Consider sharing your live geolocation with a trusted friend or sibling, too.
8. Take the opportunity to see cool local spots
Looking for love on dating apps while travelling means you’re not just exposed to a whole new city of potential partners but also to a slew of potential tour guides.
Hit up your matches for insider knowledge and travel advice, from little-known cafes to local beer recommendations. Even if you don’t end up meeting them in person, it makes for a great conversation and people are usually happy to share their favourite spots in their hometown.
Each date with a local is an opportunity to discover more of the city, whether you’re heading to a famous tourist site or a dive bar only residents know about. Let them know what you’re interested in, so you can tick places off your bucket list — and then some!
9. Swipe right on fellow travellers
Meeting other adventurers is another rewarding part of using dating apps while travelling. It’s exciting to encounter people from around the world that you’ll never run into in your home city.
Travel flings are usually fun but short-lived. But if things work out and you find true love, you know you’re with someone who enjoys seeing the world just as much as you do! If not, at least you have an attractive travel buddy right now.
10. Be open and have fun
Exploring dating apps while travelling is fun and exciting, so make the most out of it. Set realistic expectations and go on dates with an open mind. Not every date will lead to romance, and you’ll probably like a few matches more than others.
But ultimately, isn’t that the point and the fun of dating? You’re on vacation! So, drop the pressure, keep it light-hearted, and enjoy making memories with new people. True love may be the end goal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a lot of fun in the meantime.
Also read: 7 Stories of Couples Who Had a Wedding Proposal While on Vacation
Ready to take your dating game to the next level? We think it’s time to try your luck with dating apps while travelling. Stay safe and happy swiping!
Featured image credit: pondsaksit via Canva Pro