Globetrotting and Dating Apps: Tips and Pitfalls
The seemingly inexorable rise of dating sites and apps, and the fact that many of them have a global reach, is something of a boon for travellers who want to meet new people on their trip. Tinder, for example, is used in almost every country on the planet, although claims it has managed to spread its tentacles as far as North Korea seem to be exaggerated.
Regardless, there are dating sites catering to every imaginable niche, and the majority of the popular sites have gone truly global. As such, many travellers are using them in the same manner as they do at home, and there is even evidence to suggest that people have pinned their hopes on meeting that special someone when abroad.
But using a dating app abroad requires a little extra thought and, perhaps, a bit more caution. Below are some musings and tips you should think about before using one abroad.
Set Some Ground Rules for Yourself
Don’t give out specific details of where you are staying during your trip. Let someone you trust know where you are going. And, make sure your phone is fully charged before you head off for your date.
Make Your Intentions Clear
A lot of people use dating apps when on vacation but have no intention of striking up a romance. That’s fine, and it’s a great way to meet locals. However, be upfront about your intentions before meeting your date. Sometimes overlooked is the fact that you might only be in the area for a fleeting visit, so let them know that. Tinder Plus and a few other premium apps let you connect before you arrive in a country, so you can make those arrangements before you fly off to your destination.
Pick a Familiar Public Space for Your Date
If it’s possible, try to pick a place you already know – and are comfortable with – for your first date. If not possible, then somewhere well-known, accessible and touristy. There’s nothing wrong with expanding your horizons after that first encounter, but make that decision after meeting on familiar territory.
Adapt Your Profile to Your Surroundings
It goes without saying that you should adjust your profile picture and any suggestive comments if you are in a conservative country. But you should also tweak your profile to reflect your intentions for your trip. If it’s a fling you are after, then don’t give out to many personal details in your bio.
Check Out Their Profiles
While you don’t want to give too much away, finding out more about your date can be beneficial. Some dating apps have feedback and ratings options, but if you can get a peek at their social media profile, you can learn a lot. Indeed, don’t be afraid to ask them to send you their social media profile before meeting for the first time. If they are legit, they won’t mind.
Respect the Local Culture and Politics
You might have firm views on everything from Donald Trump to Palestine to marriage equality, but keep in mind that your date might have a completely different perspective. This is a tricky minefield to navigate, and you shouldn’t try to hide who you are. But try to stay clear of giving lectures during your date. The world is a big place, and you soon learn that ‘being right’ is not always a clear-cut situation.
Use the Opportunity
While all this advice has seemed cautious, don’t forget that this is also a wonderful opportunity. Pick your date’s brain to find out local knowledge for your trip. If you are comfortable with them, then encourage them to take you away from the tourist traps. That’s when you really discover a new world.