By Morgan Michaels
In 2020, COVID-19 swept in, taking my job and relationship with it. My mental health was waning and I wasn’t feeling passionate about anything. So when travel restrictions began to lift and my vaccine shots had taken effect, I decided to shake up my life and embark on a journey around the world, all on my own.
I’ve been traveling for over five months now, and I’ve learned that the people you meet along the way really are the best part of the adventure. Bumble made it far easier to make new connections, and now I couldn’t travel without it. Whether you’re looking for a friend in the city, a holiday romance, or just recommendations for the best locales, here’s what I’ve discovered about how to use Bumble while on the road.
Put your safety first
It’s crucial that you’re being safe when meeting folks for the first time, especially if you’re away from home and the areas that you’re familiar with. My pre-meetup safety precautions include using Bumble’s Video Chat or Voice Call features with my match so that I can get a better feel for the person—and to make sure things haven’t been lost in translation. Asking a match to hop on a call can be as simple as messaging, “Want to do a quick video chat for five minutes?”
Of course, plan to meet in a public location for your first date. I like to select date activities that are things I could do with or without the other person, which generally includes a tourist attraction (one of my more notable first dates was a camel ride in Spain!). Let someone know where you’re heading, whether that’s your rental home host, the hotel concierge, or a friend. It’s also a great idea to go on a daytime date as they can feel safer than a night time meeting. After you’ve covered all of these safety precautions, the meetup will feel more relaxed and exciting.
Include location-dependent information in your profile
Updating your bio every time you travel to a new city or country can be a helpful way to attract the connections and experiences that you’re seeking. Include the languages you speak and how long you’ll be in town for. That way, you’ll be more likely to match with people you can communicate with easily—and set a realistic timeframe for meetups.
If you’re looking for something specific or have a certain question about the local culture and attractions, add that to your profile. Consider including a cheeky line about seeking a cute tour guide, or ask for the best spot for cocktails with a view in the city. Ending on a question—or an itinerary point on your travel list—makes for an easy conversation starter. When I was in Portugal, my Bumble bio read: “L.A. Native. Digital Nomad. Onesies over formal attire. Looking for someone to help me find the best wine in Porto. Who’s up for the challenge?”
Get on the date as quickly as possible
The time it takes to slowly build a connection is a luxury you don’t always have when traveling, so don’t be shy sending the first message or respectfully following up on a conversation. Once you match, grab one thing that caught your attention in their profile and use it to start a chat, or say what you’re looking to do in the city. Don’t overthink it! I’ve found that it’s best to send quick, to-the-point messages immediately after matching on Bumble. For example, after matching with a scruffy brunette with washboard abs in the Canary Islands, I wrote, “You surf! Looking to teach a newbie this week?” He replied, “Private lessons will cost extra ;). Want to meet at Las Canteras beach?” And two days later, I learned how to catch my own waves.
Take advantage of Bumble’s features
You can also use Bumble’s features to get right to a meetup. Turn on Travel Mode before you arrive at your destination to get a head start on matching and chatting with folks in the area you’re visiting before you even get there. You may even be able to set up a date for the day you arrive! (But be sure to put safety first, always—even when you want to meet up quickly.)
Be sure to turn your Bumble notifications on so you won’t miss a match or a conversation. This will allow you to meet up faster, which is helpful when your time is limited. Also, be strategic about your distance settings: keep your parameters within the city or area you’re visiting.
When meeting a potential date, you might normally have a mental checklist of what you’re looking for. When traveling, leave that at home. Just like you might be more open to new foods or activities, when you’re not home, apply that same attitude to using Bumble. Adjust your date filters—perhaps your age range, or the sort of relationship you’re after—to be a bit more flexible. Who knows what might happen!
It’s also important to remember that dating norms might look different where you are. While in Serbia, I went on a date with a guy and learned that in his culture, it can be perceived as rude to not split the check as a way to show respect and equity. Learning about dating etiquette in cultures other than your own might lead you to return home with a new outlook on dating (or at least a few new tips).Traveling and meeting new people has opened up my world in more ways than I expected; I even have an invitation to meet a match in Bali, Indonesia, this summer! I’ve discovered alternative ways of living, and found the freedom to be unapologetically me. Use these tips to put your authentic self out there on Bumble and meet the travel buddies and romantic dates you’ll make memories with. They may even become lifelong connections.