I’m one of those people who pays for Tinder. Let me explain myself.

2 months ago I was about to set off on the first leg of my solo trip of a lifetime. My plane was leaving in a few days and my plan was still typically vague; my mother was fretting about where I would be staying and my friends were wondering exactly what I’d be getting up to on my own. One such friend then made this suggestion to me – “You should Tinder ahead.”

This didn’t sound to me like something I would do; I didn’t Tinder at home, never mind paying actual money and planning my dates ahead of time. But, one night in bed, unable to sleep and my mind filled with all the excitement and anxiety of the coming months’ travel, I rolled over, grabbed my phone, and paid £2.99 on Appstore. What a great investment that was.

My first destination was Berlin – I changed my location to discover there and started swiping. Within 5 minutes I was feeling pretty happy, as I’d matched with about ten people and it turns out Berlin is filled with hot hipsters with tattoos. Good start. I didn’t talk to anyone before I got there, but whilst I was there my Tinder matches took me to a gig, a private gallery opening and on a bike tour of the city – not bad for unofficial tour guides! Plus there was the added bonus that they were all quite attractive and up for a day of flirting, seeing as we had got talking on a dating app. I realised I had been able to make some fun plans that I would have otherwise not had, and met some nice local people and fellow travellers that I would not have otherwise met. I decided to pay for the next month as well, but one of my tour guides gave me a tip – let people know you are a traveller on your profile, otherwise, when you meet, they might be disappointed that you’re not looking for something more long-term.

I decided to be even cheekier, and changed my profile to read “English girl currently on a mission around the world, looking for nice people to crash with, will cook and sing in return!” I hoped this would help me not only meet new people but keep those travel costs down and help my budget last longer.

In Oslo, my next destination, it worked with fantastic success. Before I arrived I got talking to someone who immediately offered their couch as a place to stay. I took them at their word and didn’t book any accommodation. I was nervous when I arrived and had to stand by my huge rucksack outside the station waiting for them (it goes without saying girls, ALWAYS meet in a public place and let somebody back home know about your plans. ALWAYS!) – What if they changed their mind and didn’t show up? What if they took one look at me, unshowered for 48 hours and exhausted from the plane and decided to walk straight past?

I needn’t have worried. Alex bounded over with a huge grin and greeted me like we’d known each other for years. I didn’t even have to carry my bag to the flat and for the next two days, didn’t have to cook or buy a drink once (Alex said Oslo was too expensive for backpackers). My host showed me around and made me laugh my head off for the whole time I was there, and I didn’t end up sleeping on the sofa. Thanks, Tinder.


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