#1 Use it as Craigslist
It was a summer afternoon in Warsaw, but suddenly the rain started pouring down. Kinga and I hurried to the nearest cafe. It was not so near. As we finally crossed the door, we caught our breath and looked at each other: we were so wet! It was a challenging beginning to our first Tinder meeting.
But we were not on a date. We had matched on Tinder the day before, but we met up to shoot my travel vlog. While we waited for the rain to pass, she told me about herself. A Polish woman, in love with Colombia, and a massive fan of the Beatles. She was shy at first, but after a while, she started opening up. Maybe I shouldn’t have pointed a camera at her, half an hour after we met…?
This was my first time using the app for a purpose other than the originally intended. The first of many. Often, I have used Tinder’s incredible connection power to fill other needs in my life.
1. Use it as Craigslist
This is what I did with Kinga. When I started my travel vlog, the goal was to find locals who would show me around the city while documenting everything on camera. But I didn’t know anyone in Warsaw, nor could I find anyone willing to do it.
I turned to Tinder, and I specifically wrote that on my bio. I didn’t want a romantic affair, and I didn’t want to trick anyone into thinking I was interested. I just wanted someone to help me out with my videos. That was how Kinga came into my life.
“I need someone to help me move my stuff to a new apartment. Pizza in return.”
“I am looking for a fake boyfriend to take on my cousin’s wedding.”
Whatever you need, say it. Just be honest upfront and don’t waste people’s time, leading them on. You will be amazed at the number of cool people out there willing to meet up without second intentions.
2. Find Travel Guides
I arrived at Vilnius, Lithuania, on a Sunday afternoon. Even though it was early June and the weather was lovely, the city felt deserted. I had been traveling alone for a month and was craving for some company. I opened Tinder.
A few hours later, I was sitting at a bar in front of R. We talked for hours about Lithuania and its culture. I learned that Lithuanians are really proud of their country and love to educate foreigners on it. Did you know the national sport is basketball? I didn’t until R told me.
At the end of the night, she asked “Have you been to Trakai?” Trakai is located about half an hour outside Vilnius and is home to a beautiful castle.
“No,” I said.
“I’ll pick you up tomorrow at 1 pm.”
Finding travel guides is the main reason why I have used Tinder. I traveled alone across Europe in the summers of 2017 and 2018, and I met many locals this way. In 2018, I traveled for 3 months straight, had 10+ Tinder dates, and nothing ever happened, romantically speaking. (Well, there was that one time in Estonia.)
Usually, people are happy to meet up and show you around their city. It’s a break in their routine and an opportunity to strike up a conversation with someone who might bring a breeze of fresh air.
But make sure you are honest upfront. If your date is looking for someone to marry next month, you shouldn’t waste their time. But then again, you never know. I never expected any of these Tinder dates to end up in anything meaningful, but I happened to meet who I thought was the love of my life in Hungary during a trip, and I moved here. The relationship is over now, but I am still in Budapest. Life is funny.
3. Practice a Foreign Language
Hungarian is one of the most difficult languages in the world, but I am still trying to learn it. I’m stubborn. And maybe that’s why I agreed to meet up with Monica, even though she spoke very little English and I had started Hungarian classes just 3 months before.
The Tinder messages during the previous week went well. We both made use of this wonderful tool called Google Translator. But it’s not so practical if you are face-to-face with someone.
During our date, I understood that she lives outside of the city, is a teacher, and has a dog. I didn’t understand much more. After a while, our brains were tired and any remote possibility of a spark between us was entirely gone. But I practiced more Hungarian in 2 hours than I usually do in 2 weeks!
You can meet so many different people on Tinder, from all over the world. Think about all the chit-chat you have every time you match with someone new. Wouldn’t it be great to maximize your time and use this to practice a foreign language?
If you want to learn English, it is super easy. There are always foreigners showing up on your profile who can only speak English. If you are studying another language, consider using Tinder‘s paid Passport feature to change your location. Are you learning German? Place yourself in Berlin. French? Bonjour, Paris!
To do this, you need to follow two rules: be decent, and don’t be stupid.
When you establish a connection through a screen, it is easy to forget that there is a real person on the other side. Make sure you respect them as much as you would if you had met in person. Be decent.
Whatever your purpose is when using Tinder, always be careful and prioritize your safety. My travel dates all happened in public places, around other people, in bars, cafes, and restaurants. This is non-negotiable.
Kinga and I still talk occasionally. Now, she lives in Barcelona with her Colombian girlfriend. I promised I’d visit one day, and she owes me a visit in Budapest too. It might never happen, but we will always have that video of us having fun together in Warsaw. Oh, the things I’d miss out on if it wasn’t for Tinder!