Deborah, a single in New York City, discovered the travel potential of dating services by accident: "I landed in Istanbul last year, and I logged into OKCupid, and this guy messages me, and asks if I want to get drinks," she said."And we had drinks, and hung out, and it was a super cool date." Deborah has found that meeting up with locals takes her to different parts of town and to more authentic restaurants and neighborhoods. Getting started on most of these apps is as easy as connecting your Facebook account.Once the matches come in it's just a matter of being up front about expectations.
As the stigma of online dating (and now app dating) continues to fade, telling friends that we met our significant other — gasp — "online" is becoming not only okay but common.
And that means more possibilities are opening up for how we use these new social networks.
"I'm going to Ireland soon, so I was Tindering in Dublin to find people to tell me the good places to go," said Erica, a single who plans to do more solo travel.
She doesn't have a ton of friends who can pack their bags and jump on a plane, but she wants to travel — and doesn't want to wait.
And even though Tinder is synonymous in some circles with hookup culture, being clear about what you are and are not interested in can, for the most part, prevent problems.
"Look, you know I'm from out of town," said Deborah."If you are cool enough to meet for drinks and just get to know someone new, then that's something I'm into." Where it goes from there is up to the individual traveler."If I'm going to start seeing the world, I might as well do it," she said, adding that traveling alone makes her a little nervous. For Erica, the most useful app so far has been Tinder.Tinder Passport, a premium feature that costs $10 a month for those under 30, and $20 a month for those over, lets users browse possible matches in cities they aren't currently in.Travelers are already using dating apps on the road, but the focus on hookups takes away from how great the services can be travel recommendations.While yes, finding a match is ostensibly for the purpose of romance, the benefit of doing it in a new city is that the match is a local — one with expertise about restaurants and activities that get straight to what modern travelers want: an authentic experience.