One of the most difficult aspects of solo travel is making friends while on holiday. But there may be a way to use dating apps to get your foot in the door of an overseas friendship.
Popular dating apps, such as Tinder, have a reputation for being a way to hook up a one-night stand. But they may also be a great tool for meeting people.
Imagine swiping your way to a night on the town with a local who really knows the place? You could have an instant ‘in’ on the best street food or restaurants, non-touristy cafés and bars, and all the benefits of a tour guide, but for free.
Many travellers are conducting ‘Tinder Tours’ – some for the thrill of an overseas interlude and others to meet cultural ambassadors who are willing to show tourists a good time, without the sex (or with, if you’re into it). You may even be able to score a free dinner or accommodation if you do the groundwork.
Some of these Tinder travellers will start swiping before they’ve even landed, giving them a chance to vent potential ‘guides’ and create some rapport with prospective friends.
You can do this by changing your location, so you get Tinder prospects from that area, and not your hometown (or wherever you are at the time of swiping).
As with all dating apps, you need to be wary of those who prey on Tinder users. The best advice we can give is trust your gut. If someone seems off then swipe left for ‘no’, or just dump them from your match list.
If you do happen to make a date with a local, let someone you know about where you’ll meet and get them to check in on you during your rendezvous, share your phone’s location with them or send them SMSs to keep them updated on your situation.
Let any prospective date know that you’re a visitor and maintain your boundaries, and that you’re there for a holiday not a hot date (unless, of course …).
While it’s a great option for meeting people on the fly, it’s also a prime site for scammers. So be on the lookout for any signs of a con. You choose the meeting place and be extra observant of your surroundings. Only let them lead when you are comfortable that they are the real deal.
Meeting people on Tinder, and other such dating apps, can be fun and efficient, but it does come with its share of risks. So, if you’re willing to take a chance, just make sure you have safety checks in place
You never know, you may meet your new best friend or even that tall, dark Mediterranean man (or woman) of your dreams
Have you ever considered using dating apps to meet people overseas? How was your experience?