“Quit your job, go abroad, find love, don’t come back” is the quote that pops up all the time in my Pinterest and the dream of many. But are people really doing this?
Life isn’t always like the movies, but it could be, right!? When traveling, it’s not always the Eat, Pray Love experience people dream about where they find love when they weren’t even looking – but does it happen? Absolutely. In fact, I know a lot of people who have found love abroad. But these days, when traveling, many people are using travel dating sites and apps to kind of help that luck along.
I met Ben (who I’ve been with for 6 years and am now engaged to) while I was doing a solo backpacking trip in India. But how rare is finding love abroad and moving abroad for love to India like I did? I really don’t think it’s as rare as people think. When you are traveling, staying in hostels, or meeting other travelers you already have something huge in common: a love for travel, and often that means similar lifestyles and life views.
While you can start dating abroad by chance – one American friend is now engaged and living in Sweden with a guy she met on a G Adventures tour in Cambodia, often people are using the internet to make these things more likely to happen and there’s nothing wrong with that. I know so many friends personally who have met their current long-term boyfriends on apps like Tinder while traveling.
When you’re in a new country, all your experiences seem better, heightened, more exciting. Dating is no different – and things tend to move faster because of that whereas back home you might be text messaging for months before you go on a date, then date for months before you really take the next step to be a couple. When you’re abroad on limited time without jobs and in person (no messaging) it means that things are definitely going to move in a different pace.
While I was lucky to meet Ben in a bar, and 6 years ago didn’t even have internet on my phone while traveling ( Nokia flip phone for the win!), now you can use travel dating sites and apps to meet someone whether it be a fellow traveler in that country or a local.
Travel Dating Sites and Apps
I thought I’d share some travel dating sites that I have been hearing about in the travel world. As a travel writer, I follow so much travel news that I can’t help but be in the loop on literally all things travel even though I’m not single! If you want to go abroad, fall in love, and shake up your life a bit, maybe check out these websites and app.
This site has been in the media a lot both negatively (basically implying that girls who use them are escorts) but also positively with journalists sharing experiences of trying it themselves. With this site, you find people to travel with, host people in your hometown to show them around, or just visit someone in their hometown and stay at a nearby hotel. But, the truth is that you don’t always go on a trip with someone who is going to pay your way, you can also set it to book your flights and accommodation separately. The premise of this dating site is to find someone who also loves travel that you can travel with regardless of who pays – it’s not a “sugar daddy site” like the media portrays it be from what I’ve read. They recommend meeting in your own country first before going abroad together. This is a paid subscription website.
Travel Host Date has a big bit about how everyone on their site is verified as a real person with their version of background checks which they say keeps away catfishing and scams. You can also do a VIP membership where your account will be secret. You can host people, meet people abroad, and find travel buddies to date when you’re abroad. To be honest, it looks a little sketchy to me – with photos of girls holding up signs (they have to do this to get verified as a real person while apparently men do not have to), and mentions of Chatroulette (if you remember that from years ago!). They have meet-ups and events around the world you will be invited to as a member. It is a paid subscription website.
This isn’t technically a dating site but many people use it as one. It’s similar to Miss Travel (without the negative press). You can find a travel buddy on this site using filters and see who has similar interests as you do. It’s also its own social media platform where you can get advice and share your travel knowledge with more than 50,000 members. This site isn’t just to meet someone from home to travel with, but to meet locals abroad and hang out with them, too. I’ve done this in a just friends way with Couchsurfing and it makes all the difference in your travels to hang with someone local – so for dating I’d imagine it would be awesome as well. This is a free app and website.
I’ve talked about Bumble BFF on here before to meet someone who is just a FRIEND to travel with when you are abroad or an expat. Bumble is the main app and it’s for dating. It’s kind of a more upscale version of Tinder and people use it when they are abroad. In fact, Tinder is often used as well – but more as a hookup app according to my friends. If you want something a little more laid back with swiping left and right rather than an online dating site where you have to make a profile and take it more seriously, then think about Bumble and Tinder. Both apps are free.
Tourbar is a way to find a travel buddy or date ahead of your trip and set it up to meet them when you arrive. They focus on both saying there are “singles” to meet as well as “buddies”. Apparently they have verified profiles only and over a million members. They say they are better than “just a dating app” and better than a “free local guide” because they do both. You can also find someone on there to plan a trip with. They are here to help you “find your soulmate abroad”. The app is free but also offers more with a subsription.
This site also allows you to find either just a friend or a “companion” and is used as a dating site for travelers. It’s more to meet locals abroad rather than finding someone to travel with like MissTravel. They focus on meeting locals, getting a more authentic experience, and maybe finding love while they are at it. This is a free app. Two other very similar free apps are Skout and Airtripp.
Should You Try These Dating Dating Sites? Are they safe?
There are SO many more travel dating sites than this but some are sooo creepy and focus on weird stuff. A lot that sounded cool like “Meet Me Outside”, a dating app for adventurers, have websites that are no longer active. These ones seem semi-normal and have good reviews so if you’re bored abroad, need to change up your life, and are already into Tinder or dating apps, then why not check it out?
Research actually says that 1 in 8 men want to meet their significant other while traveling and so do 1 in 20 women and they are cool with long distance relationships. With travel being such a priority for millennials its no surprise that research says 1 in 11 post-graduates surveyed met their SO while traveling.
In regards to safety, it’s just like using a dating site at home. You have to have your wits about you. You need to really check out their profile, talk ahead of time, ask for their social media handles, stalk them lol. Make sure you set up boundaries ahead of time, meet in a public place – all the obvious things. Always make sure to tell people where you are going and who you are meeting.
While I didn’t find Ben from an app, I did find him abroad, and I know that so many travelers are looking for that as well but are nervous to initiate a conversation with a stranger (especially when it’s not in a party environment) so these apps can help you get in touch with people who might never have met before. Time is short when you’re meeting people traveling, so it will be a totally different experience than dating someone back home – give it a go!