Exploring Solo? How to Use Dating Apps When Traveling


If you’ve ever been on a trip but still wanted to find a few dates, connect with some fantastic people, and use dating apps when traveling, you might have faced a problem when it comes to figuring out how exactly to do that. 

In general, dating apps are designed for people staying in one place. They’re most often used when people are ready to settle down and find love. However, that’s not to say that many people have used their dating apps to find someone to spend one night with or have a little fling. Honestly, you can use dating apps for just about anything; we’re here for that. 

But it does add a bit of a challenge for people who want to use dating apps while traveling for whatever reason. We’re here to help you learn and know how to use dating apps no matter where you are, what you’re doing, or who you’re looking for. 

If you want to learn how to use dating apps when traveling, keep reading!

Why Using Dating Apps When Traveling Can Be Hard

I’m from Nashville, and it was very typical to see girls and guys complain about the dating app scene in the city all the time. So many people would get on their Tinder or Bumble profiles while they were on bachelor or bachelorette trips, and they would be looking for a one-night stand, but it would piss all the locals off. 

While there are many reasons why people who are traveling and ‘just in town for the weekend’ might be a little annoying for the locals who are, for the most part, using their dating apps with the hope of finding an actual long-term relationship, there are also many ways that you can avoid pissing off the locals while also getting what you want out of your time using dating apps when you’re traveling. 

It’s also good to use these rules and suggestions to get the most success from dating apps no matter where you go! No one wants to be left without any matches online, and there are always certain tips and tricks that, if you learn and employ, will make your experience on the apps much better, and they can help you find love or whatever you might be looking for, quickly and painlessly. 

Here are some rules and guidelines that might make your experience using dating apps when traveling to find anything you want more accessible than ever before!

1. Change Your Location

This is one of the most obvious steps and guidelines we’re going to give today, but it’s also one of the most important things you can do to use a dating app anywhere. Change your location to wherever you’re traveling to. 

Make sure that your mileage and distance are appropriately set as well. Many people swiping on dating apps from the comfort of their homes will usually put the distance between them and their matches to over 60 miles. But if you’re looking for an easy meet-up and trying to narrow down your options so that you’re not swiping on hundreds of people when you’re looking for someone, you might want to make that distance radius much smaller. This way, you’re not only ensuring that your meet-up will be easy for both of you, but you can also cut the time you’re searching for someone in half because you’re adding limitations to your searches. 

2. Don’t Be Shy about Sharing Why You’re on the App

Now, hear me out. Everyone is on a dating app for a different reason. Some people want to find their happily ever after, others wish for a one-night stand, and others want a healthy and easy rebound relationship. There is no invalid reason why someone might want to try out a dating app, and there’s no need to shame someone for looking for or hoping for one outcome, even if that outcome is something you don’t necessarily agree with.

But there is also something to be said about being upfront and honest about what you’re looking for from your time on dating apps. If you’re looking for a fling or a hookup, that’s completely fine and normal! Just specify that that’s something you’re looking for and that you aren’t open to starting a long-term or serious relationship. We’re not saying that you have to put that disclaimer in your profile or bio blurb, but at some point when you’re talking to your matches, you need to tell them what you want to come out of your time on the app and ask them if they’re still okay with continuing a conversation with you after they’ve heard that information. 

Some people won’t be okay with it, and others will be absolutely fine! Again, everyone is on the apps for a different reason, and you might match with people who want exactly what you do out of the apps. But it’s best to state what you’re looking for and be upfront about your intentions, so you don’t waste anyone’s time on the apps. 

3. Alter Your Profile

This is not an excuse to lie or expand the truth, but instead, a chance for you to talk about what you’re interested in, what you might want to do, and who you might be looking for online. If you are using a dating app while you’re traveling and you really just want an adventure buddy, then you might want to use the space in your bio and profile to talk about all of the things that you want to do or see while you’re traveling to a new place. 

This clarity and explanation will also help you tell anyone on the app what you’re looking for and help you avoid matching with someone who might be looking for something different. 

Even though you might not be looking for a long-term match or even a romantic partner while you’re traveling, it’s good to keep in mind the best rules and guidelines for a successful dating app profile, just so people will still swipe on you and show an interest in your profile. 

This means you should have clear and up-to-date photos of yourself and avoid sketchy, blurry, or group-shot photos. You can also use the pictures as an opportunity to be clear about what you’re looking for and what you’re interests are. If you’re a seasoned traveler who loves adventure and has been all over the world, share some pictures that tell that story. If you’re an athlete whose goal is to hike all of the mountains you can, share some photos of your previous hikes as well. If you’re more of a newbie to traveling or truly ‘just in town’ for the weekend, keep all of your photos the same and keep your profile light and flirty.

You should also specify how long you’re in town and why. If you’re in town for a bachelorette party, you’re most likely not going to be too available during the day and early evenings, but you might be able to sneak off later during the night. 

If you’re in town to see the sites and explore, then your schedule is wide open, and you might be up for anything at any time. 

More than likely, your profile is more angled and geared toward helping you find love rather than helping you find someone who will go on a hike with you. Because of that, you might have more posed photos and some very well-crafted and clever sentences on your profile to attract a number of matches. If you’re just trying to attract an adventure buddy, you might want to alter your profile a bit to not make it as focused on dating but more centered around the idea of platonic adventuring! But of course, that is your prerogative, and if you still want to flirt with your adventure buddy, we won’t judge you!

4. Know What You Want on the Apps

I know that this step is much easier said than done, especially when you want to leave some room for your mind to change. But it is good to have a general idea about what you want when approaching dating apps while traveling.  

Not only does your clarity breed more clarity, and people getting mixed signals about your intentions will be much less likely to happen if you know what you want right out of the gate, but it can also help you in your search to find what you want if you’re clear about your intentions and wishes. 

Again, we will never suggest that you lie about or stretch the truth whatsoever when you’re approaching dating apps. Still, if you know what you’re looking for while using a dating app during your travels, you might want to change or alter your profile a bit to highlight what you’re looking for and who you’re presenting yourself as during your search. 

The pictures and bio blurb ought to be very different if you’re looking for a quick hookup rather than if you’re looking for a local who can show you all of the sites. 

It’s also good to keep in mind what app you’re using. If you’re using an app like Tinder or Match.com, you’ll be less likely to find someone who doesn’t want a hookup or a relationship. Instead, use apps like Hinge or Bumble, maybe even Bumble BFF, to find your new adventurer buddy.

You can also do some research and invest your time and energy into apps meant explicitly for friends and even friends who like to work out. In this case, the more niche you are when you’re looking for the app you want to use, the better your results will be, and you won’t have to weed through all of your options, wasting time that you could be spending going on an adventure!

5. Always Use Safety

This is true for any online scenario, but it is almost more important when you’re approaching dating in a new place or country. If you’re traveling alone and want to use a dating app to connect with someone new, we applaud you and wish you the best, but we also caution you to use every safety measure possible before you meet with that person. 

Of course, you can’t always catch a scammer or a bot online, but we suggest you talk to the person in your messages for a bit before you decide to meet up with them. Usually, if they’re trying to get something out of you, you’ll be able to tell because their conversation will be angled toward a specific goal. 

It’s also good to check out their profile and the pictures they provided online because you can often tell if a profile is fake based on what the ‘person’ wrote in their profile and if their pictures look a little too perfect or posed. You can also always search for one or all of the photos the person used for their profile in Google in order to see if they chose a stock image or if it’s a real photo. 

Another way you will want to include safety measures for using dating apps abroad is when deciding where the two of you should meet. Always make sure that you meet your dating app matches in a public place and that you won’t be alone or ambushed. Even though it’s just the first meeting and the two of you might be planning on going somewhere alone later, it’s good to do the first initial meeting in a public place. 

Many people like to have one meeting with their potential date or adventure buddy before they go out on their own with them to check out their vibes and make sure that they don’t seem fishy. Also, please note that just because you’ve met someone in public once and they didn’t appear to be dangerous or problematic doesn’t mean that they can’t flip on you. It’s always good to proceed with caution and keep your guard up.

If the two of you are planning on going somewhere alone, make sure that you’ve alerted the people you’re traveling with, shared your location, and even asked the hotel you’re staying at to ensure you’re back in the morning. 

If you’re traveling alone, it might also be good to communicate with your friends that you’re going out with someone or spending a day exploring somewhere, and you might not be in the safest environment. You can share your location with your friends and also tell them the details about where you’re staying and who to contact if you don’t respond to them or come back. 

We don’t want to worry you or turn you off from trying dating apps when you’re traveling, but we do want you to use caution and make sure that, above all, you feel safe when you’re meeting someone in a place where you might not be as familiar with. 

6. Narrow Your Options Down

You will never hear us suggesting this anywhere else, so take advantage of this moment! For the most part, dating apps are numbers games, and you’ll want to swipe on as many people as possible to find success and match with as many good people as possible. And while those rules and guidelines are a good idea when you’re approaching anything to do with dating, they mainly apply to people who are playing the long game and trying to find something a bit more permanent. 

If you’re traveling and aren’t in town for too long, you don’t need to worry about playing the numbers game because you’re not looking for anything too serious with the person you’re trying to meet. 

Also, more than likely, you’ve already done your research and your soul-searching, and you have a pretty good idea of the person you’re looking for. Because of your focus, combined with the short amount of time you’d like to spend searching for someone to spend your trip with, it might be best to utilize the filters and make them as niche as possible. This way, you’re not swiping through every eligible person on the dating apps in your area, but you’re focusing your search on a smaller group of people. 

You can also utilize this mindset when you’re in the messaging stage of the relationship. While if you were trying to have a relationship with them or wanting to play the long game, we would suggest that you craft meaningful messages that open up a two-way conversation where both of you would slowly get to know each other. If you’re on dating apps for a good time, not a long time, you’ll want to be snappy and quick with your messages as well. 

We’re not saying that you should be rude or make the person feel like a fast fix to a problem, but you might want to be quick and explain what you’re looking for and tell them that it’s okay if they’re not looking for the same thing, but they might want to move on and look elsewhere for what they want. 

While it might seem a little abrupt, if you know that the two of you aren’t looking for similar outcomes from the apps, it’s best to not waste either of your time. 

There is also something to be said about having fun and playing the game on dating apps, even if you won’t be on them for a long time. You want to enjoy your time while online dating, and there’s no need to rush through it. If thinking about just sending a quick message of requirements and taking a lot of the romance and flirtation out of the messaging stage makes you sad, then don’t do it! Keep the spark in there, we just ask that you remain honest about what you want from your time on the app and don’t waste someone’s time. 

7. Have Fun

I know that this may sound silly and not as important as, you know, making sure that you survive the date that you’re going on and you don’t get murdered. Still, it’s always good to make sure that you’re enjoying your time when you’re on a dating app and that your takeaway will be something positive, not just a rushed experience to try to get the first person you’re talking to in bed with you. 

We promise that the more you try to enjoy yourself and have fun while looking for love, the more fun you’ll actually have! 

A huge part of enjoying your time on dating apps is having a good mindset about the apps as well. If you go into your dating app experience grumpy and with very little hope, it’s more than likely that your attitude will be reflected in your profile, and people will avoid swiping right on you because they don’t want a grumpy one-night stand partner or adventure buddy. 

Instead, be open to whatever and whomever the dating apps bring to you, and have fun during your time looking for someone else!

8. Take it Off the App

If you want to add some further precautions for your date before you go out with them, you might want to look into downloading WhatsApp or texting them. If you’re looking for a match abroad, WhatsApp is likely the best way to go because it works internationally, and you only need access to wifi to message on it. 

While talking to someone you’ve matched with on a dating app on yet another app or texting them won’t necessarily ensure that they’re not crazy or dangerous, it might help ease your mind a bit. Most bots and scammers won’t go off of dating apps in order to talk to you. 

You can also ask your matches if they have any social media platforms or anything else that you might be able to look into if you’re worried about whether or not they’re a real person. Again, just because someone has all of the social media and looks normal online doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re not crazy, but it might help you have some peace of mind if you’re meeting them for one night. 

9. Be Respectful of the Region’s Customs

Obviously, this rule will mostly apply to someone trying to use online dating in a different country or region, but it’s always good to know how the culture of the place you’re looking for love in might differ from the culture that you’re used to. You never want to offend anyone you’re talking to or messaging just because you didn’t do the proper amount of research and didn’t take the time to brush up on how the people in that area might approach dating or friendship. 

Because so many places can differ so dramatically in their approach to romance, courtship, dating, friendship, public displays of affection, and really anything and everything, it’s always best and in your favor to do your research before you jump into a situation that might get you in trouble. 

One aspect of dating and relationships that will differ from region to region and country to country is whether or not the country is welcoming to members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Because this could be a risk to your safety if you identify as one of these members, we will advise you to do the proper research before entering a country that might be hostile about their beliefs against that community. 

It’s also worth noting that dating apps like Tinder and Grindr will warn you if you’ve identified with the LGBTQIA+ community and you’re in a country where that would be a crime. Grindr is also wholly banned in Turkey, Indonesia, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. 

While most countries won’t differ too much in their dating life, and you can usually get away with swiping to your heart’s content while traveling abroad, it never hurts to be well-informed about where you’re going and their approach to certain things. 

10. Know That There’s No Wrong Thing to Look For on Dating Apps

Many people put too much pressure on dating apps when they’re traveling and put too many expectations on the people on the apps to find certain things that might fit into their narrative. We’re here to tell you that there is no one reason to get on a dating app while you’re traveling anywhere. There are hundreds of things that people might be looking for on the apps, and it’s good to know all of the different choices that might be open to you if you’re trying out dating apps as your new travel essential. 

Some people might want to find lovers and romances everywhere they travel, and if that’s the kind of illustrious and mysterious lifestyle you want to lead, that’s inspiring to us, and we wish you all the luck in your search!

Others might want to find a local that can show them around the town and give them all the best recommendations for where to eat, what to do, and where to go on an adventure. It’s always hard to get proper recommendations from seasoned locals, so dating apps are a wonderful opportunity for you to find that. This way, you can avoid having a tourist-based day or trip, and you can really see the area you’re exploring through the locals’ eyes. It’s also just fun to have an adventure buddy with you, especially if you’re traveling solo.

Many people like to go on dating apps in order to find an adventuring buddy for a day where they can explore the area together and make some fantastic memories. If you want to use a dating app with the sole intention of finding an adventure buddy, many of the rules above will apply to you, and you might want to use them to find the most success in your search online. But if you want a more transparent version of the rules specified to adventure buddies, we’ve also got you covered on that end. 

If you really want to focus on a particular adventure or activity you might want to do during your day out, you can discuss that in your profile and explain why you want a buddy for these activities. It’s crucial that you’re clear and precise about what you want and that you don’t come off creepy because then people might assume that you’re a bot or a scammer, and you don’t want that to happen. 

Another reason people might get on dating apps when they’re traveling is to add to their fun and make the trip more of an experience. There’s nothing wrong with spicing up a business trip or having some fun on the side of your bachelorette trip, and it can often make what would be a slightly dull trip much more exciting and personal to you. 

It’s nice to know that you can find romance wherever you go, and some dating app interactions might only act as an ego-booster, which is completely fine too!

Again, there is no right or wrong way to use dating apps, and their use shouldn’t be limited to one region or reason. Whatever you’re looking for, we hope that it brings you joy and that the person or people you find while using a dating app during your travels only add to your experience in positive ways. Please always use safety when you’re talking to anyone online, and always make sure to respect others’ boundaries and time. If you plan on using a dating app for your next trip and use any of these suggestions, please let us know how it goes!

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