Ah, the modern phenomenon: Tinder. See a photo of someone in your area and swipe right if you’re interested and left if you aren’t. It’s like being able to have an entire bar full of people at your fingertips which you can scan from the comforts of your home in pajamas. Of course, Tinder gets a bad rap, and for a decently good reason. It’s vain and makes casual dating something all too easy. Still, you can use Tinder while travelling…
1. To practice language skills
As an English speaker, it can be easy to avoid learning the local language. Even living in Spain, I often find myself going days without speaking too much Spanish, especially if I’m surrounded by other expat friends.
Using Tinder abroad brings a wide selection of locals to the palm of your hand, all of whom you can first chat with via the app. If you have a good enough grasp on the language try not resorting to English. Chatting online is a great way to practice a language without the nerves of speaking face to face. Also, you can always double check your grammar or look up words you don’t know before hitting “send”.
In Spain, there are many Spanish men on Tinder looking to practice their English. Instead of an intimidating date with someone, agree to meet for a “language exchange” and speak half the time in one language and half the time in another. Who knows what it’ll lead to after that, but at the end of the day at least you’re getting some language practice in!
2. To meet locals
Whether you want to practice your language skills or not, Tinder is great for meeting locals abroad. Once you’ve matched, say you’re new in town and you’d like to visit some cool places. You could easily have an offer for someone to be your personal tour guide for an afternoon.
In my case, I love showing someone around a place I’m living. I’ve taken a match to my favorite wine bar and even on a mini-city tour. Sometimes these dates were romantic, other times it was just a traveler in town who wanted someone to hang out and have a drink with.
3. To interact with people you normally wouldn’t
It’s easy to just hang out with the same group of expat friends or hostel buddies. If you want to branch out, Tinder is a great place to start.
Of course it can be completely nerve racking to meet up with someone you’ve never met, but it sure is exciting. Find someone who you have a common interest with or someone who works in a field you find interesting.
You can tell a lot about someone in 5 photos, and even though most people on the app will be a swipe to the left, there’s a lot of interesting people to be found.
I recently met a Brazilian lawyer on Tinder who gave me tons of tips for an upcoming trip, and that’s how we initially started talking. I don’t think we would have ever crossed paths otherwise.
4. As an easy way to find love abroad
Hostels aren’t usually the most romantic of places. If you are planning on staying in a city for a decent amount of days or for an extended period of time maybe you’ll want to take advantage of how easy Tinder makes it to meet people you are interested in.
Looking for a quick fling? Want to get to know someone new while in town? Just want a no-strings attached one night stand? With Tinder it’s completely up to you how you use it and it couldn’t be more perfect for travelers.
Tips for using the app
1. Decide why you want to use it, and be honest: The only way to get what you want out of Tinder is by being honest with people. If you really are looking for someone to hang out with and practice the language, tell them before meeting up. If you are just looking for a one night stand, be honest about that too. There are so many fish in the Tinder sea that if someone doesn’t align with your intentions, just keep swiping!
2. Trust your gut: Although people using Tinder are supposed to be verified by a Facebook account, you still never really know who you could be meeting. If you get a strange feeling while chatting or someone won’t really answer your questions, keep swiping. While most people who use Tinder are normal singles trying out a new way to date, there are still a lot of creeps and/or people in relationships. I like to find people on Instagram or scope them out on Facebook before meeting up. While this isn’t fool proof, it’s one more way to get a sense of a person.
3. Use common sense and precaution: While traveling, you might not have a cell phone number or the luxury of being able to tell a friend where you are going. Make sure that you don’t spend time alone with your match until you can know for certain what kind of person they are. Most of all, if you plan to meet someone for the first time, always do so in a crowded public place.