Tinder isn’t just for hookups when you’re on the road—not that it can’t also get you laid. Tinder travel represents a whole new world of possibilities.
With 46 million users and 26 million matches made worldwide each day on the app, if you’re on the move and not making any connections, you’re doing something wrong.
You’re in a relationship, you say?
You’re not into one-night stands, you say?
You don’t want to pick up some cocktail assortment of STIs while exploring the world, you say?
All valid points.
However, Tinder is still worth downloading before you catch that flight (I mean your partner could dump you, right? Kidding, that’s a terrible thought). Basically, you should get the app because many travelers use it for something besides dating.
And, if you do end up climbing into a few beds, use protection to avoid that particular type of cocktail.
Tinder travel can be used to milk locals for hidden treasure, connect with other travelers, team up with cool people for some adventures and, heck, make some real friends.
Seriously, travelers in Asia, Africa, and all around the world use Tinder for just these reasons—I’ve even been hit up for travel advice in Alaska, USA; Phuket, Thailand; and so many other places by Tinder matches.
They got the advice.
And, no, we didn’t end up in bed together.
How to Use Tinder for Travel
Put simply: swipe right—a lot.
If you’re not looking to have sex with the person, don’t get so caught up on appearances. You can either rock the auto-swipe (definitely a standard method used by plenty of guys for more standard Tinder purposes) or you can slow down to check out what they’re doing in their photos and read about what they’re interested in doing in their profile.
People who want to explore and can hold up their end of a good conversation are pure gold when you’re traveling. It’s about doing things, not necessarily about doing each other.
Once you have the match, engage in real conversation.
Stop with these “hey”, “hi”, “how are you?” sort of questions. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Look at their profile, find an aspect of it that is genuinely interesting or is connected to some adventure you’re interested in and jump straight in—be concrete, be specific, be sincere.
Oh, and ask questions. Asking questions is the way to go on any dating app, but especially if you’re hoping to get some insights on the best restaurants in town. Don’t hesitate to straight up ask for advice.
Creating a Tinder Travel Profile
No matter what you’re after, be upfront about why you’re on Tinder.
If you don’t want to hook up with people, state that somewhere in your Tinder profile—it doesn’t have to be at the very top, but it should definitely be included. Let fellow users know that you’re looking for travel advice and adventure buddies.
If you meet in person, there’s a good connection, and you both want to get physical, they’re not going to get fussy about you having said: “no hookups” in your profile.
Next, choose your photos wisely.
Don’t be a douche. Your lead photo is, without a doubt, the most important one. A huge percentage of people will probably swipe one way or the other based on that photo alone (never reading your profile or looking at other photos until you match).
If you’re on Tinder for traveling and not sex: ladies, put those boobies away; fellas, put a bloody shirt on. Of course, if you can show off that glam bod via an activity—rock climbing, freediving, or whatever—go for it, just be prepared for a slight alteration in expectations upon first message.
In general, choosing a lead photo that shows you as a traveler, rather than a sex object, is going to be the way to go.
That goes for guys and girls. If you’re in Phuket, Thailand, and looking for someone to go scuba diving with, put a scuba picture up front. If you’re in Halong Bay, Vietnam, looking for a climbing buddy, put a climbing picture up front. So on and so forth. You get the point.
You could also try showing off your amazing sense of humor with this spiffy “Fuck It” / Phuket Tank top, in women’s:
It’s also pretty common to see travelers include a country-to-country itinerary (with dates) in their profile. It’s a great addition, as it often opens the door for good conversation and tips for exploring those countries.
Paying for Tinder Travel
Tinder recently launched a new subscription tier system. Yeah, free Tinder is fine, but when it comes time for your Tinder travel project, it’s worth coughing up the extra $9.99 for Tinder Plus.
Crazily, the price structure for the app changes based on where you live and how old you are.
Also, is it worth an additional $4.00 for the new Tinder Gold? It’s hard to say.
Here’s the difference between Tinder Gold and Tinder Plus:
The reason Tinder Plus is a must for you on the road is because of its Passport feature. This feature lets you change your location and start swiping through people in that area.
When you’re only in town for a couple days or a week at most, there can be a lot of spinning your wheels—weeding through matches, wading through small talk—to get to the point that you and your match are both comfortable meeting up for either a friend date or a date date. By using the Passport feature, you can manage all of this well ahead of time, coordinating dates to check out a museum or going rafting together long before you’d otherwise be in swiping range.
The biggest draw for getting Tinder Gold is that you can see who has swiped right on you before you swipe.
Is this particularly helpful for travelers already rocking out Tinder Plus with its unlimited swipes? Probably not.
Setting Expectations with Travel Tinder
If you do find an adventure buddy or at least someone to share dinner with, split that check.
Men, don’t try to pay for everything. Yes, it’s so cheap when you’re traveling in some parts of the world, but still, don’t do it.
Women, don’t let him pay for things. If you said it isn’t a date, then don’t let it slide in that direction by allowing him to burn through his tight travel funds because of your pretty smile.
If whoever you’re out with does pick up the check for dinner or a drink, make sure you balance the budget by picking up the next round.
Tapping Tinder Travel for Dating or Friendships
Through a smartly crafted profile, clear communication, and some Tinder Plus features, it’s absolutely possible to hijack Tinder, the dating app, for Tinder travel.
Travelers are out there to explore the world. And, sometimes, the experiences we have abroad are greatly enhanced when they are shared with someone else. So, take advantage of Tinder and share your adventures while keeping your pants on (if you want).
Or, at the very least, give back to the Tinder travel community. If you’re using the app to get travel insights and meet travel buddies (not sex partners), be that person on the other end of the connection too. This means swiping right not just because you need something, but because you can probably offer advice on where to get the best belut eggs in Hanoi, Vietnam, or some other tasty tip. It’s just good karma.
What travel Tinder tips can you share from your own experience? If you’re just starting to consider the possibilities, what questions do you have? Let us know in the comments below!
Isaac, previously the managing editor of an expat newspaper in Thailand, is a freelance writer, photographer drone pilot, adventurer, and all-in-all swell fella. Though currently based in Fairbanks, Alaska, he has traveled extensively in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Read his articles on TTGA, but also check out his wild travels at www.dicetravels.com.