Whether you’re packing barely-there bikinis or your coolest tropical trunks into your suitcase, you can’t help but get excited about going abroad. After all, international travel is sure to open up a world of adventure and perhaps even some bilingual encounters; plus you’ve been doing daily ab workouts in preparation. So once you’ve watched “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” and “Lost in Translation” until you can mimic every pouty Scar-Jo look (approximately 583), you’re ready to let loose lips sink ships.
It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a cyber-buddy to communicate with via social media for months or an international rendezvous to tell all your friends about, get plugged in to make your trails even happier. There’s no shame in meeting people online nowadays. So before you get overly anxious about working on pick-up lines or perfecting your smokey eye, download one of these apps on your mobile phone and let the games begin:
Ah, Tinder. The virtual dating world’s answer to the age old question, “Hot or not?” Swipe through pictures on your mobile phone of potential suitors located nearby, choosing left for “not interested” and right for “can I get yo numba?” However, you can only chat with people that gave you the swipe of approval. The app is largely superficial, but don’t be shy about having a little fun. You’re on vacation after all, and your Aunt Ida will never know you abandoned your puritanical morals for a night of flirting and fun. Just be sure to pick your profile’s four pictures wisely, because you only get one shot to make a good impression. But even if you don’t find e-love, this trip might be the ideal time to find out which side is your good one.
Good For: Close encounters of the multicultural kind
Skout refers to itself as “one of the largest global, mobile networks for meeting new people.” The app succeeds at doing just that. Since 2007, the application has brought people with common interests together who were already geographically near one another. Although this app lacks a lot of the romantic punch that its competitors provide, it does a good job at connecting strangers with similar interests, which, you know, might actually be the stuff relations are based on. So if you happen to be traveling through Croatia and want to find someone to visit an art museum, explore local vino or try out waterskiing with, this one is for you.
Good For: Finding a cute tour guide
Price: Free to download, $3.99 to remove ads
These apps are two of the biggest fish in the digital romance pond. Match.com and eHarmony are generally downloaded by users 30 and over looking for someone to “settle down” with or who can at least afford a decent meal on a date. So if you’re a new divorcée looking for a little fun à la “Under the Tuscan Sun,” either one of these apps could be perfect for you. Message with likeminded (and aged) individuals who want to go on foodie dates in your temporary city. Just don’t post pictures of you two getting cozy over a plate of escargot on Facebook; your kids might see them!
Good For: Meeting men who have non-ironic mustaches and women aged like fine wine
Price: Free to download, additional monthly membership fees
Although gay, bi, and curious users are more than welcome to join and hunt for hotties on the above apps, Grindr is the best solution for the gay crowd searching for a little travel playtime. With basic search and chat features, Grindr lets you see how many men are nearby and want to join you for a night of bar-hopping in Paris or clubbing in Ibiza. The app is available internationally, which means you can embark on your journey like Magellan sailing toward his next (evening) adventure. Tally ho!
Good For: Putting the “romance” in bromance
Yes, the app is called Brenda. No, no one is quite sure who Brenda is. Surprisingly, there seems to be very few girl-to-girl dating apps out there! However, this one is the most highly downloaded. And it’s not hard to see why considering Brenda is one of the few dating devices which allows its users to send 60-second video messages. Designed with lesbian, bi, and curious women in mind, Brenda not only helps you meet women nearby but shows you who’s viewed your profile recently. So go ahead and find your lady love after she clicked your profile and explore Spain together; the two of you look muy linda!
Good For: Out-of-towner girl power
If you do meet someone special, you’re going to need help finding some romantic spots to take them, unless your guide book has a chapter titled “Where to rendezvous with the guy you met on Tinder.” Check out Expedia’s new travel app to discover which cities provide the most romance, and book flights and hotels on your tablet STAT. Because you can’t get to know a new city or a new love interest without knowing where you’re going first.
As with all matters of the heart, you should proceed with a bit of caution. Never put yourself in a situation with a stranger where you feel uncomfortable or unsafe. Always play it safe and let a friend or someone at your hostel know where you’re going! The last thing you want while traveling abroad is to be in a dangerous predicament. With that being said, travel can be a great way to meet people who expand your heart and your horizons so go get your app love on!