Shelly (also not her real name), an American fashion executive traveling through Australia with her best friend, swears by swiping apps to quickly learn the best spots in a new place.“It was such a cool way to meet locals who gave us this really insider view of Sydney and unique experiences we wouldn’t have had if we just tried to meet people out and about,” she told me.This is how many travelers are now conducting vacations.They fire up their dating app of choice -- be that Tinder, Grindr, Bumble, Happn, what have you -- and start swiping.Before long their phone is full of cultural ambassadors who genuinely want to show a traveler the best aspects of their city. There are best practices to know and mistakes to be avoided when swiping your way across a new country.When you really luck out, you get to practice the language, maybe share a home-cooked meal. We asked some seasoned travel swipers and got the low-down on how best to use a dating app to sweeten a vacation.
“In Prague, I met this wonderful guy (on Tinder), who fell really hard and really fast,” he said.“I matched with a guy whose first message was something like ‘you want to come to the best NYE party ever? “Of course I said yes, that my friend and I had no plans.The guy seemed kind of full of himself, but he and his buddies ran a hedge fund out of an apartment on the harbor.But then, traveling abroad is all about doing and eating and seeing things you never could at home.By his second date with a Tinder match, Jay (not his real name), an American diplomat stationed in the Middle East, got invited to a raucous Islamic wedding -- a cultural extravaganza he wouldn’t have experienced otherwise.If you’re being scammed, there’s a chance a good Samaritan will have heard of this ruse and clue you in.Holidays often pack the best parties, but local celebrations anywhere can be complicated, expensive, and generally clusterfucky.Imagine you land in a new country, and immediately an attractive local whisks you away to the best, unknown spots in the city.You eat at non-touristy restaurants, dance away the night in hidden clubs, and maybe spend some cozy time canoodling with your pop-up tour guide.But don’t discount the possibility of something longer-lasting: all over the world, people crush hard.My cutest match in Thailand kept in touch with me for months trying to find another way to see each other.Share your phone’s location with a trusted confidante in the city. After all, you’re a mysterious traveler with a fascinating accent and intriguing stories about places the locals have only read about.And remember, it’s much better to meet a local in a well-lit cafe near the Louvre than in their fifth-floor walk-up out in the 18th Arrondissement. Anyone who swipes right on someone who’s “just visiting” is generally cool with a short-term arrangement and skipping the small talk.movie to be based on your first blind date in Amsterdam. Don’t ignore the weird vibe you get from your sexy Swedish chat partner.