Tindering While Abroad: A Beginner’s Guide to Online Dating Overseas

5 Tips For Success.

Back in the olden days of 2014, I was in Europe on company time, and I ran into “Shantel”, a colleague of mine, at breakfast at my company-paid hotel. After exchanging greetings, I got around to asking her what she was planning to do that afternoon:

I have 3 dates scheduled today

“What? How is that possible?”

I meet them all online, and then I’ve scheduled for all of them to meet me for coffee at the same place at different times. Men here (in Sweden) aren’t very aggressive, so I have no problem controlling the pace and conclusion of these dates.

“But aren’t you afraid of your dates running into each other?”

Not really, and even if they did, a lot of people date like this these days. The more people you date, the more likely you are to find ‘the one’.

I’m a mathematics guy, so I couldn’t argue with the surface logic of that last statement. So I left it alone and continued the conversation. “So how are you meeting all these people? BlackPeopleMeet.com?”, I jokingly asked Shantel. She was one of only a handful of fellow black people that worked with me.

No, not quite. I use this app, it’s called…

That was my first ever time hearing about Tinder. In the 5 years since, dating apps like Tinder and Bumble have completely reshaped the way we think about dating and relationships, and have created a dating world that is a sort of bizarre underground version of real life (and that’s not even to mention the massive population of f**kboys these apps have helped to create).

When you travel, it’s a pretty romantic idea to think that you could simply turn on one of those apps and find love overseas- kinda like a microwave version of the entire plot of a 1940’s movie. That’s definitely a nice idea, but this idea can ruin your vacation just as quickly. That’s why we’ve created this handy guide to help you use Tinder while overseas. Hit it, boys (cue campy jazz music).

Tip #1. Don’t assume that everyone dates the way we do in the states.

In the United States, Tinder has earned a stigma as “the app people use to hook up”, while other apps such as Bumble seem to present more serious options for dating and romance. Overseas, Tinder dominates more of the online swipe game, and seems to be used for more traditional and serious dating purposes than someone used to dating in the USA might expect.

It all started with a right swipe. Probably.

As I’ve already mentioned, dating apps and the proliferation of “hookup culture” have completely changed the way people date in the states. So it’s worth reminding folks that most of the world still dates the way most people in the States did 10 years ago; in other words, they pay attention to one person at a time, and “hooking up” isn’t always the presumed ending. Y’all are nasty if that’s the way you think about dating anyway. Yeah, I said it.

To prove my point (about the serious nature of dating overseas, not about how nasty y’all are. That still stands.), out of a very small pool of people to choose from, I can personally name 7 colleagues of mine who have found love and marriage overseas via Tinder. When I asked about why it worked out so well for them, they all said the same thing: “guys in the states aren’t as serious as these guys- we just wanted to date and get married”.

And for the record, as far as I know, Shantel didn’t find love through Tinder.

Tip #2. If you’re a guy, pay for it. (No, not that; Tinder.)

If you’re a woman who knows how to take good pictures, using Tinder is like picking items off a supermarket shelf with a stack full of $100 bills in your hand. Life is easy and the options are unlimited. If you’re a man, swiping on Tinder is more like firing a harpoon into the Marianas Trench while blindfolded; you’re completely in the dark and you’re not too likely to hit anything. If you spend enough time on Tinder, you’ll realize that the app is set up to get money out of desperate people (read in between the lines: mostly men). Paying for Tinder levels the playing field a bit and is worth using your time more efficiently, especially if your time is limited.

But it’s expensive though.

Not really, if you think about it. Even at its most expensive, as it currently stands, Tinder’s premium “Gold” package runs around $25.00 per month. Most people who live in big cities spend more buying drinks at happy hour trying to meet someone. If you’re really serious about finding a relationship this way, it’s a worthwhile investment.

Tip #3: Honesty is key.

If you’re abroad, even if you don’t feel comfortable with telling someone that you’re visiting, it’s worth making it clear that you’re planning on leaving soon, instead of eventually ghosting on your date. Honesty really is the best policy, and you’ll be surprised to find that a lot of people abroad don’t really care that they’re dating someone from overseas, because modern conveniences such as social media, video calling, and cheap air travel have made the world much smaller than it was only a few years ago.

Besides, there’s bad karma in lying- there’s no need for your story to become a modern Madame Butterfly.

Tip #4: Safety first, even if you’re a guy

A friend and ex-business colleague of mine (and ironically, the only other brother in that company) used Tinder so much that even our boss and our boss’s boss knew about it; and it was a running joke around our company. Every time I would hear from him, it seemed like he was going on another date.

Even still, whenever we would happen to speak before one of his dates, he would always let me know where he was going and who he was going out with.

Can’t trust these white folks” he would say, which was funny because “these white folks” were the only type of women he dated.

As familiar as you may be with a city or country, it’s more than worthwhile to follow basic dating safety rules, even if you’re a man. Meet in public spaces, let your friends know where you’re going (or even turn on location-sharing with a friend while you’re out), and always watch your drink.

Tip #5: Put down your phone

Tinder is a great, extremely efficient way to meet people, but meeting people in real life is even better. Even if you’re an introvert, travel offers a chance to step outside of your shell and meet people, even if makes for awkward moments or some embarrassing situations. If you’re using Tinder as your primary source of people-meeting while you’re traveling, you should probably re-evaluate your entire attitude toward traveling.

Do you have any experiences with swiping overseas? Share them here!

Eww, he looks like he smells funny!” *Swipes left.*

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