How To Date Abroad: 6 Tips for Dating Internationally
Whether you're living abroad or traveling for a vacation (holiday), dating doesn't have to be hard. But, it probably will be. You don't have to be scared of dating abroad because it's often not as bad as it seems. Although you totally could end up like me with an ex-lover from abroad who you thought was going to be your lil’ fling forever but who now has a kid. whoops- It happens.
In some ways, dating abroad can be easier than dating at home. The best part about dating internationally is that you are a bit more free to ‘do’ you. Leave your reservations about dating abroad in your carry-on, ok? Get out there and find your soulmate, lover for the night or even your newest lifetime friend.
1. Lower Your Standards (kinda)
Listen, if you want a 6'2 man with the perfect body who's intelligent AND drives a Mercedes. Stay at home, girl. It's not that you have to lower your standards because you're abroad, but you should. You're in a new place, time zone and hopefully, a new mindset. When you're traveling things are more in the moment. You might miss out on meeting a wonderful person who can show you the city through their local point of view just because he was driving a punch buggy.
2. Be Open
Just say yes. Travel is all about embracing the unknown, right? I'm not telling you to say yes to any and everything, but be more open about saying yes to opportunities to meet new people. If your new group of expat friends want to go to a mixer, say yes even if you're skeptical. You're bound to meet new people and possibly a new sweetie too.
3. Use Dating Apps
If you're looking for love, lust or a free tour guide (lol), you should definitely be using dating apps like Tinder or Bumble, while you're abroad. Dating apps are helpful when you're trying to dip into the international dating pool because they allow you to meet people in a place where you likely don't know anyone.
Tinder has a reputation around the world of being just a hookup app. It’s sometimes true and people on their are only looking to have sex but not always. But if you’re trying to avoid Tinder altogether try Bumble. The Bumble app has a BFF feature that helps you find friends in your area too so if you’re just looking to find someone to explore a new city it could be helpful.
Don't leave your common sense at home though. You should still be smart about who you meet up with, let someone you trust know your location and always meet your date in a public place.
Meetup.com is also a great way to meet like-minded people in the country you're visiting. Find groups with the same interests and hobbies as you. You can meet up with other millennial singles, hiking groups or even other solo travelers. It's cool to do activities that you enjoy in other countries with new people and perspectives.
I once had a friend who went on a Tinder date abroad and it went horribly wrong. They decided to meet up at a popular a bar in London, so our entire friend group went along as a way to mix and mingle with his friends. The dude ended up whisking away my friend and before we knew it they had disappeared. She didn't have an international data plan or a local phone number and the phone she had only worked with wifi. So, for two hours we didn't know where she was and we couldn’t get in contact with her.
It ended up being a Tinder date from hell. He tried to take her back to his apartment and was just a complete weirdo.
I'm not telling you this as a way to turn you off from dating abroad, but to show you what NOT to do. You should always be extra careful, have a working cell phone, share your location with your friends and don't agree to go anywhere private with someone you just met. I’m not trying to read about you on the 10’o clock news, sis. Be smart out here.
4. Go With The Flow
When you just allow things to be, they usually work out just fine. I was lit in the club with my friends one night and ended up dancing with a guy who I thought was so fine. We switched numbers and agreed to meet up later that week. We met at a bar in Shoreditch and sat and talked over drinks for hours. I didn't push up on him and just let the conversation take its course naturally.
We just talked and I realized how cool he was as a person. It never turned into anything romantic and I was happy about that because now he's one of my good friends. It's ok to go on a date abroad without any intentions of romance or sex, because connecting with locals truly makes travel special. But also if you want to bump & grind, that’s cool too.
5. Do Your Research
Do your Googles, boo. Don't be in another country without knowing how dating there works. You should read blog posts, watch YouTube videos or try to talk to someone who experienced living and dating in that country previously. Your dating standards could be totally different from someone else which could make for some awkward first dates. What you take as a cue from them liking you could just be a friendly gesture in their culture.
Here are some great resources about dating abroad to get you started:
6. Express Your Intentions
Be up front with what you want. If you're looking for a new local friend to hang with and who can show you around, say that. If you want love or if your friendship is becoming romantic, tell the person exactly how you feel and what you want from the relationship. You're abroad and probably on a time crunch, so there's no time for playing hard to get.
7. Use Instagram
Be a Instagram, hoe. I’m joking (kinda) but Instagram is a great way to meet new people. I’ve met up with so many like minded friends who I originally met through IG. This can work for dating, too! The best part about Instagram is that although it is often a highlight reel of our lives, you can immediately see what hobbies or interests someone has from just scrolling through their feed.
If you check out my Instagram account you will quickly learn that I love to travel, enjoy food and that I write poetry. So, if you’re trying to slide in someone’s DM’s (likely someone you’ve been following and interacting with previously. I don’t suggest finding or messaging random people on Instagram) during your vacation to their city, then you already have a way to approach them with genuine interest.