How to date safely as a solo female traveler

Is travel dating a good idea? Is it safe?

Technology has transformed the way we meet people when we travel, specifically, as a result of the proliferation of dating apps with travel dating features. This trend was only amplified during the pandemic, where virtual connections were the only kind possible.

You longer needs to go to the local bar or club alone, join day trips or stay at a hostel to find a date when traveling. You can now scroll through profiles on dating apps from the comfort of your sofa, thousands of miles away, and before your trip even starts.

Travel dating sites have made it easier, safer and faster than ever before to meet people from all genders and sexual orientations, even in places where pre-marital or LGBTQ+ relationships are taboo or illegal. 

The question is no longer whether you can find a date when traveling, but how to do so smartly and safely, especially for women traveling alone.

While the same safety tips for travel dating would apply to dating in your own city, there are extra layers of danger that come from being in an unfamiliar territory where a friend cannot come to the rescue, you may not speak the language or have an easy way to get back home.

In this article, we share safety tips for dating when traveling as a solo female traveler, as shared by the experts in our community of women who travel solo. Read our list of the most recommended dating apps for travel.

1. Follow regular travel safety precautions

We won’t list them here again, but we have written a very detailed piece on travel safety tips. It’s always a good idea to give the list a read before going on a date when traveling solo.

Things like keeping your money safe, not revealing where you are staying, etc. are handy in any situation even when dating and traveling.

Also take a look at the FBI’s internet crime report released every year for new online scams and crimes born online.

2. Stay on the app

Just like you would not move a conversation to book an Airbnb outside of the app, avoid moving the conversation outside of the dating app until you have met the person once at least. 

It may be tempting to do so because it is much easier to use SMS or Whatsapp but when you share your phone number you also expose yourself to a host of other scams and reveal private information that can be used to commit other crimes.

Politely decline, say you don’t use Whatsapp or that you don’t exchange them with anyone before a first date.

A member was harassed and extorted for money on the phone by someone impersonating themselves as the police in Dubai after exchanging phone numbers with someone on Tinder. 

The person on the phone had a strong Nigerian accent which set the alarms off but the entire experience was terrifying.

If you remain on the app, you can also report a user who has broken the rules or has done anything inappropriate to warn others. 

3. Beware of catfishing

Cat fishing is one of the biggest worries of anyone who is dating when traveling and sadly a possibility we have seen happen to friends of ours. 

The practice consists of creating a fake persona online with pictures from other people, and an entirely made up story. You then go on the date only to realize the person is not who they said they were.

Sometimes it is simply a way to conceal their identity for harmless (yet unethical) reasons like for example if they are married but it can also be the beginning of a dangerous situation if you then get cornered, robbed or worse by a gang. Online scams are on the rise.

“I once went on a date with someone who had nothing to do with their profile photo. It turned out he did not want his work colleagues to know he was on Tinder and had created an entirely fake persona. This put me off from the start and I just could not get past the lie, no matter how pleasant the evening was”, shares one of our members.

Take your time to get to know the other person before meeting up. Be aware of any red flags or strange behavior and suggest having a quick video call before meeting up, just to make sure they are who they say in their profile. 

Additionally, an easy way to see if their profile picture is real is to take a screenshot and use Google Images to do a reverse search for the photo. You can not only verify they are who they say they are, but also find out more about them. You will be able to see if the image appears on stock sites or is someone else.

4. Keep your privacy

When creating your profile, it’s easy to link other social media networks and to use the same pictures you have on your Facebook profile but this will expose yourself more to complete strangers by allowing them to use the same reverse image search function we suggested above to detect catfishing on you.

Try to use images that cannot be found anywhere else on the net, maybe even take specific selfie or regular photos for the dating app that won’t link back to you and connect the dots on where you live, work, etc.

Besides the images, don’t release information such as where you are staying (hotel, room number) or where you live. If you do share your social media, avoid posting your whereabouts live so nobody can unexpectedly come meet you there.

Stay vague on your job and company name and if possible, pretend that you are traveling with friends but they have other plans that day. The less vulnerable you can make yourself look, the better.

5. Be your own private investigator

This may sound a bit paranoid but we prefer to be safe than sorry here and doing your bit of research and private investigative work when it comes to meeting a stranger for the first time may get your out of a pickle or in the best of cases, save you from hours wasted chatting with an uninteresting or down right boring person.

Google is your best friend here. Besides the research work to find out if the person is who they say they are, you should check out if the rest of the details square.

Does their age, job and lifestyle match with what they said? Are there any red flags? With a combination of their name, location and any other identifiable detail they shared, you can Google a whole lot about someone.

6. You don’t owe anyone anything

Always remember that you don’t owe anyone anything and don’t need to continue a conversation with someone who makes you feel uncomfortable or uneasy or is making you suspicious.

Some of these red flags are immediate talk about marriage, plans to come visit you in your country before you even go on a date, or vague assertions about themselves. 

The advantage of online dating sites is that they are much safer than real life dating and can help as a filter to get to know someone before meeting them in real life, so don’t be afraid to block someone and move on, that is a better option to getting into a fight, confronting them and risking them finding a way to find you.

7. Never send money

There are millions of users in dating apps and not everyone uses them with good intentions. Some of them are scammers trying to trick you into sending them money

Never send any money to another user no matter how convincing their story may be. Do not wire transfer or buy them gift cards, which are the most common transaction methods scammers ask for.

Even if you have been messaging for a few days or they claim it’s an emergency, do not share any financial information or transfer funds to anyone. 

Avoid sending money for investment opportunities the scammer will tell you about. A common scam involves a too-good-to-be-true crypto currency investment you can’t miss.

This can be dangerous and irreversible. If you find yourself in this situation, report it to the dating app immediately and block the user.

8. Start small

If you are meeting a stranger in an unfamiliar place, why not start small with maybe lunch or a tourist attraction you were planning to see anyway?

Perhaps they can come with you to a museum and you can see how that goes, this way you have the company of a local for a sightseeing activity that has a sale by date.

We also recommend you make it clear upfront that you have something booked for later so the timing is set and you don’t have to amend your sightseeing plans because you can’t get out of a boring date. 

Even if you don’t have anywhere to be, it’s useful to pretend you do and set expectations from the start. If the date goes really well, you can extend it and amend your plans.

For example, meet someone for lunch and tell them that you have tickets for X museum for 2: 30 PM so you have an out, or better yet, that you are meeting your friend at that time because you decided to split for a few hours because they wanted to do something you are not interested in.

9. Don’t share compromising content

Avoid sharing information or images that can be used to extort you for money later on such as nudes, details of your work, clients or colleagues or confidential information.

Avoid sharing other personal details that can be put together to access your accounts. For example, it is common for banking apps to ask for your date of birth, pet name, mother’s maiden name, social security number, postal code and other personal details as security questions.

A scammer could ask you these various questions over a few days, masking the real interest and distracting you from what they are trying to achieve.

For example, your address could be useful to send you flowers, your mother maiden’s name could come as part of a conversation on your childhood, you could easily chat about your pets and you could be asked to provide your passport number to book a fictitious flight for a vacation.

10. Deactivate face or fingerprint login on your device

If your date goes well, you may move home to take this forward. You may then decide to spend the night and fall asleep.

A potential scammer could use your face or fingerprint to login to your phone, access your bank account or mobile money transfer app and send themselves money, then disappear.

Consider temporarily deactivating this from your phone.

11. Share the details of your date with a friend

It’s important to share your date plans with someone you trust, including the place where you’re going, time, and contact information like phone number.

You can also share your live location with that person, this way if anything happens it will be easy to track you down, or agree on a time for your friend to call you in case you need an out.

If the date is going great and you feel safe and comfortable, don’t forget to send a message to your trusted person to let them know everything is going well.

12. Meet in a public place you want to check out

“Make sure to meet in a public place! Get their info and send it to someone at home in case something happens. Enjoy!” says Jo. 

It is always safer to start by meeting up somewhere public and not in your hotel room or apartment rental. Choose a public place that is well lit up and has people walking around during day and night. Make sure it has easy access to public transport and commercial establishments like stores and restaurants. 

Avoid going to places where there’s no signal or that are far away from the city center which may be hard for you to get away from. 

Suggest a place you want to try, maybe it’s a restaurant that you have read about and want to check out, or an attraction you want to visit, this way you can control the budget, location and atmosphere. A place that is near your hotel is a good idea, so you can easily get back after the date ends. 

If you don’t want to reveal where you are staying, pretend you need to use the bathroom when the date ends and say your goodbyes before so they don’t know which way you went. 

If it’s dark outside, order an Uber (make sure you have downloaded and set up the local version of Uber wherever you are) and stay inside the bar or restaurant until it arrives. Using a taxi hailing app will avoid the extra stress of having to deal with language barriers as the taxi driver knows exactly where you are going.

Never take up an offer to be picked up or dropped off by your date so you don’t put yourself in the vulnerable situation of being at their mercy. If someone wants to walk you home, tell them you are staying at a hotel near where you met and say your goodbyes in the lobby, then wait for them to go and head back out.

14. Ask for “Angela”

Research the destination you are visiting and understand if there are code words to ask for help in case you need to get away from a situation. 

For example, in London, Safer Sounds have worked with bars and restaurants as well as the authorities on a procedure for those in need of help when on a night out. 

The initiative’s website explains, “People who feel unsafe, vulnerable or threatened can discreetly seek help by approaching venue staff and asking them for ‘Angela’. This code-phrase will indicate to staff that they require help with their situation and a trained member of staff will then look to support and assist them. This might be through reuniting them with a friend, accompanying them to a taxi, or by calling venue security and/or the police.”

Other businesses around the world may have similar codewords in place, sometimes a drink you can order and which is off the menu and has the same effect. You can find out about this on their website or in the female bathroom.

If you are somewhere where no codeword exists and you need to get out of the date but can’t see how, seek a member of the staff and ask them to help you out.

15. Maintain full awareness

Be alert to the effects that alcohol or drugs may have on your defenses and of how they may impair your ability to make the right choices and protect yourself.

Minimize risks by being in full control of your mental abilities and not going above your personal limits. 

Date rape drugs and spiking of drinks or cigarettes are a risk when being alone and accepting drinks or cigarettes from strangers.

Never leave your drink unattended and only accept a beverage that has been served directly by the personnel and in front of you. If your date suggests he will go get the next round, accompany them, if they pressure you to drink or do drugs against your will, leave immediately.

If you need to go to the bathroom, make sure you have finished your drink or that you will not continue to drink more after you return.

Beware of taking cigarettes from strangers as these could have been adulterated or spiked as well.

16. Don’t leave your belongings unattended

Even if you are with someone you know, you only just met them, don’t go to the bathroom and leave your purse or bag with them, take them with you everywhere and keep them always within your reach.

17. Come fully charged

We are referring to both cash and phone battery.

Your phone is your best ally when dating while traveling. It can get you out of a date by booking you a cab, it can let your friends follow your location and it can help you get back home safely using Google Maps.

As useful as a phone can be, it can also be useless if it does not have enough battery. Make sure you leave the house with a full charge or carry a portable battery pack like this nano one that is small and portable.

Having cash with you will be useful if you want to settle the bill and leave without having to wait for change or a credit card machine, and you can also use it to flag a taxi on the street. You don’t have to carry a lot, just a bit to get you out of a difficult situation.

18. Always carry protection

Even if you are not looking for anything more than a fun evening and a conversation, carry your own condoms in case the opportunity presents itself and you can protect yourself from any sexually-transmitted illnesses. 

Remember that even if you use other contraceptive methods to avoid a pregnancy, you can still catch an STI, most of which are invisible. Always be prepared for anything that could happen and don’t rely on others for your own protection.

19. Be mindful of cultural differences

It’s important to educate yourself about topics that matter in the place you’re visiting and to understand the dating rules and etiquette at the destination so you know what expectations the other party may have.

Language barriers are one of the most common challenges when dating somebody abroad. Make sure you can communicate well in the same language, or try to overcome the language barrier using tools like translating apps or body language. If you’re dating a local, you can try to learn some basic words in the local language before meeting up.

Relationship or dating standards may vary depending on the country’s culture, religion, and customs. Some countries are more flexible and open minded when it comes to dating/relationships, while others are more conservative and have some culturally established standards.

For example, in many Muslim majority countries local men cannot share a room with a woman they are not married to and while international chain hotels don’t usually question guests on their marital status, local family-run establishments may.

Likewise, most countries have laws that expect hotels register all guests staying with them overnight, and this includes the one night stand you just met. Don’t be surprised if the front desk staff asks you to register them, with their ID, or even charges you extra for bringing an additional guest. Or book for two people to avoid that.


Dating when traveling is one of the best ways to experience a destination from a different perspective, but it is smart to be prepared and follow basic rules to do so wisely and safely.

Have you dated or met anyone while traveling solo using one of the many dating apps? What has been your experience? Share in the comments!

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