If you're single and looking to mingle, using Tinder 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 just a platonic tour of the city. Dating apps can even help to make traveling solo less intimidating. By chatting with someone who lives there and getting some recommendations or itinerary ideas from them, you could avoid sticking to a strictly tourist-y schedule.
Swiping in a new locale can be a fresh lens for seeing what’s out there, too, and meeting people you might’ve never considered dating in your home town. As Dr. Jess Carbino, former sociologist for Tinder and Bumble, tells Bustle, “The rigidity of criteria for a romantic partner varies widely by person and relationship type desired.” If you’re someone who has a mental checklist of criteria for the people you date, and you’re questioning some items on that list, dating while traveling gives you an opportunity to figure out what you really want in a partner without putting too much pressure on it.
Plus, with more folks working remotely than ever before, Carbino says people are more open to dating and even partnering up with someone who lives in a different country. “This change in mindset allows for once unlikely long-distance relationships to become more viable,” she says. In other words, what was once destined to be just a summer fling in Italy might have potential to develop into something long-term.
So before you take your next trip, here are eight tips for using Tinder (or any app) to your advantage while you're traveling, according to dating experts.
Always Put Safety First
Vacations are a time to let loose and have fun, sure, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't still be cautious and put your own safety first at all times.
"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."
Let 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."
Update Your Tinder 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, relationship expert and founder of JSwipe, 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."
Be 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 your matches. According to Carbino, sharing this information early on in the conversation or in your profile is important for setting expectations. If you’re just looking for someone to show you around, be upfront. Same goes if you’re looking for a casual fling or something deeper. “This is critical for attracting individuals who are interested in the same type of relationship,” she says. Once you and your match are on the same page, you can decide how to make the most of your time.
Keep 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 — either way, it’s best to keep an open mind when swiping on vacation. “As much as we love the idea of meeting our prince or princess under the Tuscan sun, most flings fizzle,” Rori Sassoon, matchmaker and dating expert for UnFiltered, tells Bustle. “No matter what, don’t go in with crazy expectations — be realistic.” Take it day by day, and allow yourself to have fun. Don’t ruin your vacation sulking because the hot stranger you matched with ghosted after one night.
Use Dating Apps To Tap Into The Local Scene
Even if romance isn't on your mind while you travel, you 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."
Set Boundaries Early On
Although Tinder is used for finding all kinds of relationships, some people may have the idea that you’re just looking for a hookup. This is especially true if you are traveling and you’re only in town for a short time. Because of this, it’s important to be clear about what your right swipe means. “When it comes to finding potential friendship while traveling, feel free to use the apps — though be very clear that you are not looking for more,” Sassoon says. “Regardless of whether you find love, lust, or friendship, be both transparent and open. Set boundaries where necessary and live in the moment of your getaway within your level of comfortability.”
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!).
Dr. Jess Carbino, former sociologist for Tinder
Scott Valdez, matchmaker and founder of ViDA
David Yarus, relationship expert and founder of JSwipe
Rori Sassoon, matchmaker and dating expert for UnFiltered
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