There are plenty of dating apps out there, but at the moment there are non more popular than Tinder. So I spent a month travelling around Europe using Tinder in over 10 countries.
There are both great and terrible things about using this app while travelling so I’ll start with 5 bad things, and end on a high with 5 of the good. Of course, everyone is different so the results will completely vary from person to person but I’ll try to keep these as generalisable to everyone as possible.
[Note: It’s important to note that I am male – which may give me a specific and skewed experience. It won’t always be safe to meet people or enter strangers homes. Make sure you’re smart, discerning and fully sure before you meet anybody that you’ve spoke to online]
1) It takes a while
I should make it clear, if you’re only spending a day or 2 in one place, (unless you have Tinder Gold and can change your location ahead of time) you’re not going to have much luck. This isn’t to do with looks or how good your profile is, it’s simply because of the time restraints. You have to swipe on them, they have have to swipe on you, and then you have to get comfortable enough to meet. It’s not impossible, but just really difficult. What you may be better off doing if it’s a quick trip is trying to make friends at a hostel or on a free walking tour. I’ve had success with both in the past.
2) Not everyone is a free spirit
You may be on holiday, but this is most likely just another day for them. If it’s a weekday and they’re working a 9-5, chances are they’re not going to want to go for drinks and stay up all night dancing (horizontal dancing, heyoooo…sorry). You will have much better chances at the weekend, or matching with other travellers if it’s a particularly touristy place. But just don’t expect that a match will want to run out the door and meet you straight away.
3) It’s not popular everywhere
Not everywhere uses Tinder. Don’t expect to have 100s of people to swipe on, especially if you’re in a remote village or a country that doesn’t use dating apps as much. You can always hedge your bets by trying a few different apps, some are more popular than others depending on where you go. You may want to try Bumble, Hinge or OKCupid to name a few.
4) People don’t always like transiency
Despite what you’ve heard, there are people on Tinder that are looking for more than just a one night stand (the audience gasps). And not everyone is going to want to spend time and energy talking to someone that’s just going to leave a few days later. I’ve had it happen on many occasions that I match with someone that hasn’t realised I’m just in town for a short time and then they ghost when they find out. It’s completely understandable. Best thing is to have it in your profile or slip it into conversation early as to not waste your time, or theirs.
5) Meeting people you’d like to see again
I wasn’t sure whether to put this one as good or bad, but it’s definitely bitter sweet. You’ve gotten passed hurdles 1-4. You’ve put in the work, let them know you’re a traveller, got them at a time when they’re free and managed to secure a date…and it goes great.
Having a flame always makes leaving a destination a little bit harder and is sure to make those holiday blues sting a little more. I’m not going to tell you to forget them and move on, maybe it’s a holiday romance, maybe it’s more. Just take it as it comes and be aware that it happens, for better or for worse.
1) You get local travel tips
I found this counter-acted the first bad point. Even if you’re there for a short time, you can get some matches that will be really friendly and tell you all the best places to visit, what to avoid and how to make the most out of your trip. I was amazed by how many people were willing to give me great tips about the city I was visiting or sometimes even the next destination on my list. Tinder doesn’t always have to be about hooking up, it can just be making a platonic connection – but it’s always best to be to clear in your profile so that you’re not breaking hearts across the globe.
I was travelling around in a self converted camper van and was pleasantly surprised by how many people were willing to offer me a bed, a shower or a home cooked meal. But be safe. Don’t do or go anywhere that you don’t feel comfortable. It could be worth dropping a location or letting a friend know where you are too.
But personally, after a couple of nights in the van, I was extremely happy to have someone let me use their shower and offer me a beer without expecting anything in return.
3) Secret Spots
Sometimes you’ll have someone take you to somewhere nobody else knows. I was in Austria and had an amazing first date. They drove me half way up a mountain. Lead me through a shoulder height tunnel. Hopped a fence. Then we had a picnic at an amazing secret spot with some springs that overlooked the city at sunset. Some places you’ll just not find in a brochure or on a walking tour.
4) Tinder Travellers
The Golden Unicorn is when you meet another traveller on Tinder. Someone that you can explore the city with, maybe continue your journeys together or meet later on in different destinations. There’s plenty of people I matched with that I couldn’t meet at the time but our paths crossed in a different city or country. This will be easier to do in more sought-after destinations but with travel becoming so popular, it’s becoming easier to meet other travel-enthusiasts. So keep your eyes peeled. It’s usually pretty easy to spot based on their profile.
If you’re feeling particularly gutsy you could even drop them a super-like.
5) Building a Network
This won’t happen for everyone but I was fortunate enough to meet a lot of people that I really clicked with and still keep in contact with via Instagram. Not everyone is up for keeping in contact with someone they met on Tinder. But I now have people around the continent that I would happily welcome into my home and hopefully people that would host me should I happen to visit their country again. Travel win!
So next time you’re heading abroad, or even just a neighbouring city. Maybe you’d like to try your luck with Tinder. If you do, I’d love to hear your experiences. Or maybe you already have some funny stories from past Tinder travels. Drop me an email or an instagram DM and we can swap stories.
Until next time my friends.
Love, Kallum <3