How 50 Tinder Dates Abroad Changed My Life
If you asked me to go on a blind date with a stranger from the internet in 2015, I would’ve said there’s no way that would ever happen. But here I am, two years later, and I never thought I would say this but… I’ve been on 50 Tinder dates in more than 10 different cities.
When moving to a new city, making connections isn’t easy – after all, you know absolutely no one. But, after living in five countries (and more than 10 cities!) over the past two years, it became clear to me that meeting people online was not such a weird thing after all. My former belief that dating apps like Tinder and Bumble were just a bunch of millennial creations that made money off the 21st century hookup culture completely vanished after I tried the app myself.
I started using Tinder in 2016. Although I’d heard of the app before then and knew many friends who had swiped right to random strangers here and there, the idea never appealed to me.
However, during a trip to Tokyo – a city where I did not know a single soul – I gave in and decided to give the app a try. At first, it was just a way for me to ask locals where the best places to visit beyond the regular touristy attractions were. But after talking to someone who I seemed to have a real connection with, I decided to say “yes” to my first Tinder date. The date went well, and I later left Tokyo glad that I had gotten to visit a lot of parts of the city that weren’t just from the ‘Top 10 Places To Visit’ off TripAdvisor or some similarly random travel blog.
I deleted the app after the trip. But, after finding myself in a completely different city again one month later, I re-downloaded it. There was something addictive about the app. It wasn’t about hooking up or trying to meet a significant other; the app felt more like a game and getting matched with someone was a win for the ego. In fact, when I lived in Thailand, most of the locals I knew would say, “I play Tinder,” rather than, “I use Tinder.” To this day, the app still remains in the game folder of my iPhone.
I have come to realize that a digital introduction is no less authentic than a real-life one. I’ve seen some of my own real-life connections on the app and I’ve bumped into some people from Tinder without meaning to, because we ended up in the same social events. So why not meet people from the app? It expands your social circles in ways you never could have imagined.
After all of my online dating adventures, I’ve come to the conclusion that swiping while traveling may have more pros than cons. Here are some of the benefits!
It’s a way to get to know a city better if you want to see it like the locals do.
I’ve been an exchange student a handful of times. And during the first year that I used Tinder, I managed to live in six different cities. It was mostly because of this instability and lack of local knowledge that led me to the app in the first place. I managed to find connections and even life-long friends because of it.
I found locals who were willing to show me around their city for free and tourists who wanted to explore the city with me. Although it’s a bit time consuming to be on your phone, swiping constantly to find a decent person who doesn’t just want to hook up, it all ends up being worth it when you find the right people.
It doubles as a business networking app.
Who would’ve thought you would make business connections on a dating app?
When I was in New York, I found that club promoters would message me over Tinder and ask me to promote an event or upcoming party at their club. I was so interested that I even considered going. But, later, I found out that a lot of club promoters swipe right to almost everyone on the app just to send all their matches a copy-pasted message about the event their promoting. This wasn’t just free advertising, but also a marketing trick that seemed to have a real effect in promoting events, considering how many people are on the app daily.
In Los Angeles, I saw Tinder profiles that were basically photographers’ portfolios. Photographers would advertise their photos on their profiles to find potential models or people who want to collaborate for a photoshoot. I managed to get a free professional photoshoot a couple of times because of this.
In Miami, I remember seeing a Tinder profile that advertised math and science tutoring services for college students. I then realized that Tinder was definitely one of the best places to do so, since you can filter the people who sees your profile based on age and distance and therefore have your profile (or should I say advertisement) being viewed by the right audience. Another time, I remember being offered a free flight around the city by a student pilot who needed more flying hours, which seemed like a crazy proposal to me at first, but later became an offer I couldn’t refuse.
In Las Vegas, I matched with a guy who posted his resume on Tinder and another guy who managed to get me into a concert for free. Again, you never know what you’re missing out on if you never try. Online dating doesn’t necessarily have to be all about meeting people from the internet. Some of them can actually hold decent conversations for extended periods of time and give useful advice, while others can just be a helpful ego booster when you’re having a bad day.
You might make well-meaning connections just by swiping right.
Some cities were definitely better than others. And your Tinder options are definitely dependent on which city you’re in. I have my own personal ranking of which are the best cities to use Tinder in, but maybe I’ll save that list for another time.
I remember telling my friends that I’ll never use the app and here I am 50 Tinder dates later. I remember saying that I’ll never go on a second date with a Tinder guy but I ended up going on multiple dates with the same person and later becoming great friends with them. Financially speaking, I probably saved more than US$3,000 by using Tinder around the world. But, more importantly, I made a number of memorable and worthwhile connections because of it. I may have had a Tinder nightmare date once or twice. But all the good ones definitely outweigh the bad.
After a long decision process, I’ve decided to go on 50 MORE Tinder dates while traveling in 2018 and document each and every one of them through some YouTube vlogs. Let me know what you think of using Tinder while traveling in the comments below!