Tinder, OkCupid, Hinge, Bumble, Happn… and the list goes on! If you’ve been single at some point in the last few years, then you’ve probably heard of these dating apps (and likely used them as well). If you’re one of the taken ones, well, chances are that you’ve helped some of your single friends swipe away on their quest for love.
When the Tinder craze first started, I was determined to stay away from it. “I’m not going to be one of those people”, I said. “I can meet someone on my own”, I told myself. It was all still taboo at the time, and I didn’t want to be labelled as the Tinder girl.
I guess times have changed a lot since, because now almost every “single” friend I know is using some sort of dating app. Back then, the only time I would swipe was when I was hanging with my homie and going through his pool of girls and I was like: “She’s cute… Nah, too much makeup… She has potential, but she’s way too young… Dude, come on! She for sure has fake boobs!”
If I, from woman to woman, can be so judgmental towards girls I don’t even know, I can only imagine what it’s like on the guys’ end! It’s like throwing yourself into a superficial casting book of left/right finger swipes. “It’s not for me”, I thought… “Never, never, never…”
Never say never! The Tinder gods will hear you and will be determined to get you!
So, as time went on and I was working for Cavalia in Taiwan, I started noticing a lot of people around me (Okay, mostly it was the guys) being super active on Tinder. At first, I was like, pfft, but then… they would come back with all of these amazing stories and experiences that they had while hanging out with locals. Like seriously! They were actually getting exclusive access to all of these local spots where we were staying!
I’m not going to lie, my interest was piqued now…but still, I was holding my ground. I’m more the type that will go out in a bar/pub armed with liquid courage, find a cute guy and speak to him (IN REAL LIFE!). If I’m lucky, I’ll see him again the next day, and the next, and the next… Then, he becomes my travel fling.
Why I Caved and Decided to Join the Tinder Bandwagon
A few years ago, before going on a trip to Thailand, Emilie suggested a little “social experiment” where I, the eternally single girl at the time, would try Tinder while travelling. It will make for a great article, she said… It’ll be fun, she said… and you know what? It kind of was.
One afternoon, as I was lazily hanging by the pool in Koh Phi Phi, trying to overcome my hangover, I took the plunge! I went all in with my best profile pics while trying not to look like a self-absorbed basic bitch with a million selfies. For a second, I pretended like I was a copywriter, whipping up a description that I thought was pretty witty. I was now ready for the ultimate swiping session… And then, I got a bit nervous!
Left, left, right, left, right, DING DING DING!!
Oh dear God… “You have a match”! What now? So, naturally I panicked a little, but my friends were telling me: “Dude, no worries… you don’t have to contact him!” Alright, alright alright, I guess I can roll with this! Time to carry on with the task at hand, attentively searching for my Prince Charming until… DING!
Hey Safia, what’s up? (Hmmmm, it’s not like there’s an instruction manual on how to flirt online! And I can’t really ignore him now…)
Hey, hi! How long have you been on the island for?
I’ll spare you the rest of the conversation, but it went along the lines of “Where are you from?” “How long are you staying here?” “Where are you off to next?” You know, the same chit chat conversation you have with Every. Single. Person. you meet in a hostel.
Anyway, Match! Match! Match! and a few awkward dates later, what came about from all this swiping? I went full geek and did a retroactive analysis of the type of guys you meet on Tinder while travelling (if I wasn’t going to meet prince charming through Tinder, I wanted to know who I would actually meet).
5 Types of Guys You Meet on Tinder
The Horny Hottie
You got that right, this type of guy is ALL OVER Tinder! His catchphrase is usually “Hey girl, wanna hook up?” Hum, let me think… NO! Despite the fact that this approach is so rude, I’m sure it must work sometimes…
When I was in uni, I spent Spring Break in Miami with my best friend. One day, we were at the beach and this guy comes up to us. The conversation went as follow: “Hey girls, you want to sleep with me?” (The rated R version went more like: “Hey girls, wanna f*%k?”)
Once we were done laughing our asses off, he politely thanked us for our time, got up and went up to the next group of girls lying on the beach.
I have a theory about it: if this guy has a success rate of 1%, or even 0,5%, this means that on that day, if he asked 100 girls, at least one of them is bound to say yes. Props! I applaud this guy’s perseverance. With Tinder, you don’t even need the balls to have to do this in real life.
In my case, I’m not really down with this type of guy on Tinder, so onto the next!
The Dubious Dude
This guy flies under the radar. He sounds really nice when you’re chatting online, but the moment you try to cancel on him because you find it a bit sketchy to meet a random guy alone in a city where you just moved, he becomes super pushy. He’ll suggest that you meet him in some obscure bar late in the night. He’ll even offer to pick you up at your hotel in a cab or a tuk-tuk.
Ladies, that’s when you have to tune into your intuition, your gut feeling. If you decide to go ahead and meet this guy, here are the precautions you should take (as paranoid as it might seem):
- Text to your best friend with a description of your outfit, the exact location of where you are going to meet this guy, his name and screen shots of his Tinder profile.
- Make sure to check-in with her about an hour into the date to reassure her that all is good (don’t forget this crucial step to avoid an anxiety from your friend who probably thinks that you’ve now been kidnapped).
- For an added bonus, you could set-up a secret word or phrase with your friend and get her to text you a simple “How’s it going?” while you’re on your date. Then respond with your simple “predetermined” phrase (ex. Chillin like a villain). This way, if your friend receives anything else as a response (You know, like if the guy used your phone and texted back in your place) then she’ll know that something’s up and she’ll be able to take action.
All I’m saying is use your head and make a judgment call if needed. When you’re travelling, you’re a lot more vulnerable than when you’re at home. If you’re not feeling it, listen to that little voice inside of you and move on to the next guy who will be more than happy to meet up with you at the beach in the middle of the day.
The Friend Zone Fella
No matter how sexy this guy is, it’s almost written in the sky that the two of you will become BFFs. There’s absolutely ZERO sexual attraction between the two of you, but you get along so well that it feels like you’ve known each other for years.
The story for me was that when I was in Pai, in the North of Thailand, with Emilie, I saw the most Quebecer name ever on my Tinder (think a compound name with two family names). The first thing I asked him after we matched was: “Hey! You’re for sure a French Canadian!” We decided to meet up while I was on another Tinder date with Emilie third-wheeling us and he came with two of his friends. You catch my drift… There was nothing romantic about our “date”, but I really enjoyed chilling with another French-Canadian, met randomly… on Tinder! Haha!
If your intentions are clear from the get-go, you can easily meet people that are on the same page as you. They could just be looking for a beer pong partner or an extra person to fill up their boat to visit the beach on the other side of the island.
The Tour Guide Guy
Sometimes, the best person to meet is a local or an expat that’s been living there for a while. You’ll get to discover little gems that you otherwise would have overlooked.
You’ll find a cute little French bistro in Siem Reap where you’ll stay well after the closing time, drinking wine and Pastis with the owner. You reach the best viewpoint in Sihanoukville by motorbike with your hair flowing in the wind or the Shanghai rooftop bar with the absolute best view of the city’s skyline. Or perhaps you’ll visit the tiny hippie bar in Pai where you’ll enjoy an intimate live performance…Regardless of where you end up, it will be an unforgettable experience.
Granted, the guy is highly motivated because a small part of him hopes that schlepping you all over town will be rewarded with sexual favours. Ultimately, the “tour guide” guy might end up being the man of your dreams, a one night stand or just someone who’s path you crossed for an unforgettable date.
Thanks to him, you’ll have a better appreciation of the place you’re visiting because he made you feel like a local for a day. It’s awesome to think that he can conveniently replace your bulky Lonely Planet!
The Holiday Romance Romeo
The cherry on top of the sundae! Seriously, you know you’ve scored big time when you meet this person on Tinder, that you both connect, and you get to continue your travels together!
One guy had piqued my interest and I decided to swipe right. His first photo was barely showing his face and his other pic was of him with his back turned to the camera. He was standing on a beach during sunset and he looked pretty hot. As for his bio, all it said was “Life is a beach” … Great, so much to work with!
The next morning I got a notification that we matched. We started chatting for the next 2-3 hours until we made plans to meet for breakfast. That was until Emilie decided to wake up and “third-wheeled” my date. Having our tag-along did not change the romance that sparked between this guy and I!
I had found my soul mate… The next morning, when he left my bungalow, we had already made plans to see each other again that night. I was quite looking forward to seeing him, but on the way to his hotel that night, he messaged me to tell me that his grandfather had just passed away. He seemed very upset and we never saw each other again… It was the end. His watch, which he had forgotten the night before, was the only thing reminding me of him.
In the end, it was just not meant to happen… bad timing! It was also a blessing because I most likely would not have met the wonderful man that I am with today.
I’ve been in a relationship for the last 3 years with my best match of all, an amazing German guy that I met in Cambodia (I know you’re dying to know, but no, we didn’t meet through Tinder). He has the soul of a nomad and the heart of the sea and we’ve been exploring the world together ever since!
Tinder While Travelling: Why Not?
Tinder might not always work for finding your soulmate, but, when you’re alone across the world, it’s also a great way to meet other travellers than the ones hanging out in the common room of your hostel.
So, of course there are advantages to using Tinder while travelling! Now that I’m in a relationship, I wouldn’t use it anymore. However, I can still pull an Emilie and force my single girlfriends to find dates that I can crash!