I’ve said it before—Tinder is an fantastic travel app. You can set your location, meet nearby (attractive) people and set up a date in a matter of minutes. I’ve used it before to meet people for stories when I was on assignments abroad and also to meet locals to take me out for a fun night in a town when I didn’t know anyone.
Tinder, Bumble, and the rest of the hook-up apps can be a great way to meet new people, but you have to be clear about how you intend to use the app, and especially wary of potentially dangerous situations. Say what you’d like to do in your bio (bar hopping, museum tours, local music scene), then start swiping. If you get a match, ask them point blank if they’d like to take you out and show you their town. Make yourself available, and state your preferences, but put the onus on them. It’s their city after all.
I’ve had some fantastic nights out and made some great friends from using Tinder while traveling. Heck, you can even find a date for happy hour in the airport if you’re stuck on a long layover. Seriously. Shake it up. Get weird. Tinder is your friend.
Yes, Meetups pages and events look like they were designed using Geocities and Windows 98, but they are just a straight up great way to socialize. I use Meetups for finding language partners when I travel, and often times language partners can turn into dates. In fact, that’s how my high school friend found his wife. He now lives in China with two kids. So, there’s that.
Regardless, of how involved you want to get, Meetups are awesome.
Take a Tour: The Original Dating App
If you’re single and ready to mingle one of the best ways to meet someone is simply to sign up for a group activity. Yeah, tours are kind of hokey, and yeah you don’t need to go on planned activities, but you know who’s on planned activities—other people. You can bond during the diving excursion/wine tour/after hours museum romp then invite one or more new friends out for a drink or dinner afterwards. You know they’re probably not busy, so put yourself out there and make some plans. Most people are looking for connection too!
Apps in the LGBTQI+ Community
Whether you use Grindr, Jack’d, Her, OKCupid, or Tinder, I find there’s little need to go over the best hookup apps in this community, as everyone has their own tastes about what floats their boat and there are already plenty and plenty of reviews out there.
Unfortunately though, online dating everywhere for LGBTQ people carries an inherently greater risk to personal safety. Queer apps are seeing an uptick in use to identify and harm LGBTQ individuals in both LGBTQ friendly and unfriendly countries. This means when traveling, even to LGBTQ friendly places, that you need to stay vigilant and keep travel companions, or a close friend back home, updated of your well-being and movements. At the end of the day, your safety is more important than maybe being a little embarrassed about telling a friend where you’re going for a hookup.
And for those not looking for a hookup, dating apps don’t only have to be about sex. The facial expressions I get are pretty hilarious when I tell Queer friends that dating apps, like Grindr and Tinder, can be used to actually meet people to get the lowdown of a new city or just make a new friend. Just make sure your intentions are clear from the outset.
Some other apps to increase safety while traveling include:
uSafeUS will fake an emergency call from a friend to help get you out of a bad date or other situation smoothly.
Find My Friends & Google Maps are two of the best ways to share your location with a friend or family member at all times.
TripWhistle gives you the emergency contact numbers of any country in the world.
bSafe works without wifi or internet connection and will allow friends or family to virtually “walk you home.” If you don’t make it back to your house/hotel/destination safely, it will notify them.