When Daniela Castillo was planning a latest trip to Mexico City, she opened up her Tinder app. But she wasn’t trying for a romantic date at Chapultepec Castle, or perhaps a fast hookup whereas on the town.
She needed journey recommendation.
Like different solo vacationers, Ms. Castillo, 27, who writes a journey weblog, has more and more discovered relationship apps like Tinder and Bumble a handy option to meet locals, see the sights and get suggestions on the place to eat and the place to go when visiting an unfamiliar vacation spot.
But there are the apparent dangers. “You need to make very clear from the beginning what you are looking for,” she stated. “Most people do want the romantic aspect, so it is hard and takes a bit of time to find the profile of someone who is O.K. being friends.”
Dating apps may be an attention-grabbing option to find out about native tradition, stated Craig Johnson, who works for an actual property firm in Seattle. “You’re looking at the city through the lens of its dating pool and how people describe themselves.” He makes use of Tinder and Bumble when he travels overseas. Mr. Johnson stated he was excited about connecting with folks from different international locations, “and there’s always the excitement that it might turn into a romantic encounter.”
Link Salas, the inventive director for a small expertise firm in New York, stated he used Grindr, a social networking app for homosexual, bisexual, and transgender males, to study in regards to the locations he’s touring to and to satisfy males there. “I change my profile to say I am in town and looking for someone to show me around,” he stated. “Some guys suggest a gay neighborhood to check out or a club,” he stated. Some provide to satisfy in particular person. “The way you phrase your paragraph affects the responses you get,” he stated.
The homosexual relationship app Scruff additionally not too long ago began a brand new service for its customers, Scruff Venture, in which travelers can search more than 500 destinations, and then contact local “venture ambassadors” for advice on where to go and what to do.
And while many solo travelers may indeed be single, and thus potentially open to romantic encounters, still others are on their own because their spouses or partners are back at home, unable to make this trip.
That’s one factor that in 2016 led the dating site Bumble to expand its offerings to friendship (Bumble BFF) and, in 2017, to work-related connections (Bumble Bizz). Jess Carbino, a sociologist working for Bumble, said the company’s research showed that more of its users were using the app to meet local residents when traveling solo. “People in their 20s and 30s are in different places in their lives, so it can be hard to find someone to travel with,” she said.
Of course, personal safety is always a concern for solo vacationers. “When you don’t know the area and don’t have friends there, it’s even more important to be cautious,” Ms. Castillo said. She said she always shares with a close friend the name and phone number of the person she is going to meet, where they are going and when she expects to be back at her hotel.
Other dating app users say they stay safe when meeting strangers abroad by only meeting during daylight hours, in busy parts of town, or in places that do not serve alcohol. And they state clearly that their intent is platonic. If someone tries to push past these parameters online or in person, they advise cutting off the interaction. Sharing your location with a friend is another precaution. (The Grindr, Bumble and Tinder apps also supply advice on staying safe when meeting strangers.)
To dissuade people from creating false identities that could be used for nefarious purposes, Bumble moderators ask people setting up new accounts to follow a set of prompts on camera, to ensure they are submitting an authentic photo for their profile and not copying an image from the internet. Emily Wright, a company spokeswoman, said reports of inappropriate actions are dealt with “swiftly and seriously,” and users who break the code of conduct can be banned from the app.
While some travelers may not be looking for romance, sometimes it just happens. In 2016, Ms. Castillo met a man through Tinder while she was traveling through Europe and ended up in an 18-month relationship with him. “I guess it’s not the most romantic app in the world,” she said, “but it does bring you some interesting possibilities and the opportunity to meet people you would have never met otherwise.”
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