If you're single and looking to mingle, using dating apps while traveling can be a serious godsend. No matter where you go, dating apps give you the power to connect with locals, whether it's for a one-night-stand, a whirlwind romance, or even just a platonic tour of the city. The good news for anyone planning to spend their summer travels swiping? According to an in-app poll of more than 18,000 Tinder users, 54 percent of respondents said they plan to travel solo in 2018 — meaning locations near and far will be swarming with singles who just might be looking to ~mingle~ with you.
It might sound cliche, but traveling is about more than just the places you go — it's about the people you meet and the experiences you have. Whether you meet a new friend or a new fling, at a bar or on Tinder, all that matters is that you're making the most of your time exploring a new place.
Particularly if you're traveling solo, it's nice to experience things from the point of view of someone local, instead of sticking to a strictly tourist-y schedule. So before you take your next trip, here are seven tips for using Tinder (or any dating app) to your advantage while you're traveling, according to dating experts.
If what they say about the early bird getting the worm is true, you might want to get a headstart on your swiping: 44 percent of Tinder users surveyed said they would start swiping in the destination they’re traveling to using Tinder Passport, which lets you to change your geographical location on the app, a week before their trip.
"Use the Passport feature to change your location and swipe through singles in your destination city before you’ve left home," Scott Valdez, Founder and President of ViDA, a service that helps clients meet their ideal match online, tells Bustle. "For many people, building up enough attraction to get someone to say 'yes' to a date can take awhile. Why not get the ball rolling ahead of time?"
2Put Safety First
Vacations are a time to let loose and have fun, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't still be cautious and careful, and put your own safety first at all times when traveling.
"Don’t chuck common sense out the window just because you’re on vacay," Valdez says. "When you’re meeting someone new, stick to public places where there are plenty of other people around, and limit how much alcohol you consume. It’s best to get your own drinks, and treat your cocktail like baggage at the airport — don’t leave it unattended."
3Let Someone Know About Your Date Plans
In a similar vein, if you're using dating apps to meet people while traveling, it's always a good idea to keep someone in the loop about your date plans — before, after, and even during the date.
"Do let someone know your plans, even if it’s just leaving a quick note [in] your hotel room like 'meeting John from Tinder, 7:15 p.m., Monkey Bar,'" Valdez says. "In fact, when you’re traveling alone it’s a smart idea to leave your itinerary where someone else is guaranteed to find it, even if you’re not meeting a date. That way, if something unexpected happens and someone needs to recreate your movements, they have a solid place to start."
4Update Your Bio
Packing a suitcase and planning an itinerary aren't the only forms of pre-traveling prep work: if you're planning to swipe while abroad, you'll also need to update your dating app bio before your trip.
"Update your bio, let people know you’re traveling and what you’re looking for," David Yarus, founder of JSwipe and Global Ambassador of Jdate, tells Bustle. "Great restaurant tips, hidden gems, a fun day-trip, or a night out dancing. Setting people's expectation in advance will help ensure you’re both on the same page and gives them some inspo for an opening message."
5Be Upfront About Your Length Of Stay
Whether you're going somewhere for three weeks or three days, be honest about how long you're visiting with anyone you happen to match with — then it's up to the two of you to decide how to make the most of your time.
"It is probably best to be upfront about your length of stay," Caleb Backe, Health and Wellness Expert at Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. "Letting people know you are just visiting is the honest thing to do, and if you are looking for something casual, it can help move things along more rapidly."
6Keep An Open Mind
Maybe you're only looking for a steamy vacation hookup or maybe you're hoping to meet someone worth staying in touch with, but there's no harm in keeping an open mind when swiping on vacation.
"You never know who you are going to meet," Backe says. "There is no shortage of would-be one night stands which turned into long-term relationships. And there is no shortage of travelers having once-in-a-lifetime experiences with fellow travelers and locals."
7Use Dating Apps To Tap Into The Local Scene
Even if romance isn't on your mind while you travel, you still might want to fire up your dating apps anyway: they're a great tool for tapping into the local culture, not just the people.
"Dating apps are about so much more than just dating," Yarus says. "You can use them when you travel to get the inside-info on that city, local hot spots, and other tips to help you get that 'local experience.' Find a travel buddy, a tour-guide for the day, an exhibit that just opened, or a party only locals would know about. Even if you don’t plan to meet up, people will be happy to tell you their favorite things to do in the city."
So no matter how you plan to use them, take advantage of Tinder and other dating apps while traveling — because you never know who you might meet, or where it might lead you (just remember to always stay safe!).