The best tools for travel have changed. Using Tinder to date while travelling is now one of the most useful ways to meet people – other backpackers and locals alike.
It’s not just for dating while travelling. You can use it to connect with locals who can offer insider knowledge on all the best spots. If you’re somewhere where English isn’t the first language, even better – chats with your matches are great for practicing the local lingo and learning about the more interesting parts of the language they don’t teach you in school.
Tinder is also a great way to meet other backpackers who are travelling alone and want a friend to explore the destination with. Just like you. So even if your Tindering doesn’t lead to travel dating, you could make a new friend while discovering a new place. However, as with anything fun, there are always a few rules to keep in mind to keep you safe.
1. Make conversation
First thing’s first and that’s to talk to the person you’ve matched with for more than a few interactions before agreeing to meet. You’re eager to explore and tap said Tinder date for city tips, we get it, but chill out. Have a conversation, ask some questions and make sure you’ve got more to talk about than the pleasantries.
Knowing more about the person will help you decide if they’re dodgy or not and could just save you from a night of awkward chat, or worse.
2. Send the invite
So you’ve messaged for a while and you’re getting a good vibe, but it’s still not time to plunge into real life travel dating action. In fact, it’s time to send a Facebook invite. Once you’re ‘friended’ you’ll be able to check the person actually exists, scour their photos and get more of an idea as to whether they’re actually worth meeting or not.
3. Do the online vet
This next part may sound like you’re edging into the realms of stalking, but when it comes to safety there’s no check too far.
Take a deep breath and do a Google search of your match’s name. Your intended might look great on the social media pages they’re in control of, but it’s worth digging a little deeper to see if their criminal history flashes up on the Daily Mail. You never know.
4. Make sure you’re sure
Once you’ve sussed out said match’s criminal status, this is when you do an internal check. Do a quick run over your past conversations and make sure there are no weird feelings, inklings or hunches. If you have any they’re usually right, so stop there.
All too often when travelling you’re on the lookout to meet new people and this keenness could blind your other senses or perhaps intelligence, so just make sure there have been no weird messages, odd pictures or creepy signs.
5. Pick a public spot
If you’re feeling good then it’s time to talk logistics. Don’t invite this new person to your hostel and, no matter how much you’d enjoy a night outside a shared dorm, don’t meet at their place.
Pick a public place for the first few meetings. You’ll feel safer and without the fear of being locked in a freezer you’re more likely to relax, which could lead to a more successful travel romance.
6. Tell a friend
Park, bar, coffee shop… wherever you choose to meet your match be sure to tell a friend or family member of your exact location. Even if you’ve not managed to make a backpacker bestie yet, tell a hostel worker or even a friend back home, just so someone knows your whereabouts.
7. Send their mug to your pals
Taking it one step further, take a screenshot of the person’s profile and send it to your friends. Should anything happen to you they’ll need details.
Plus you always need your friends’ opinions on your chosen date.
8. Have a back up plan
Said friends can then come in useful for a backup plan. It’s always recommended to have one just in case that chat about the weather gets too much, they look nothing like their picture or there’s just no chemistry.
If there really is no salvaging this date, even just to be new city friends, then have your friend call and do the classic ‘there’s been an emergency’ or ‘I’m not feeling so great’ excuse to make a swift exit. The plus side is, if you’re soon moving on, you won’t have to worry about bumping into your date again.
9. No mixed messages
You may very well like your date and want to be friends, but if that’s all you want, as cringey as it sounds, state it. Switching on and off the flirt, being too kind and not wanting to turn down romantic gestures is where you get into trouble. If you want to actually form a friendship start it off by being honest.
Not looking for a relationship at all? Say that in your initial messages. Not feeling an attraction on the date but still like the person? Say that too. Kissed them and no butterflies? Tell them, but be polite about it.
When it comes to online dating safety is always important. When you’re taking it to the road, those extra layers of insurance just mean you can travel, explore and make new friends feeling confident and secure.
More Dating While Travelling Tips
A lot of travellers worry about meeting new people when travelling. Tinder is one way of doing it, but there are also a few more ‘traditional’ methods. Check out our article on how to meet people while travelling. You never know, a new friendship could blossom into a beautiful travel romance.
Of course, dating while travelling isn’t restricted to new relationships. If you been bold enough to travel as a couple, you need to keep the spark alive, and going out on dates around the world is the perfect way to avoid wanting to kill each other. We asked a hardened travel couple to write us a guide on how not to break up while travelling together.
No matter how hard you try, if you end up travelling the world with your beau, however old the relationship, you’re going to get on each other’s nerves. It’s natural! The key is to try and see the funny side. Our writer certainly did when he compiled this collection of stupid arguments he had with his girlfriend when they travelled together.
Do you have any tips or stories about dating while travelling? Let us know!