How to meet women while you're traveling
Traveling while you’re single has plenty of perks, principal among them meeting -- or even hooking up with -- other people. Visiting a new place presents the opportunity for fun, self-discovery, and adventure. Who better to see the town with, learning about your own culture and that of another, than someone you’re attracted to?
Before you hop onto your mobile-dating shopping cart (Tinder), you have IRL options -- just freakin’ talk to her.
Here's advice from an actual girl who travels on how to talk to girls while you're traveling.
Where to meet women
Anywhere. Seriously, unless you’re at a funeral a la Wedding Crashers, or in a men’s bathroom, you can meet women. Try the hotel restaurant during breakfast, the local park, your hostel's common room, or on public transportation. I once met three Aussie guys while on a flight to Ibiza. I spent the entire weekend with them, gallivanted with them throughout Spain, and again outside of Sydney. Again, it was simple. We were all going to Ibiza. Everyone is looking for a good time in Ibiza.
Women are everywhere. Well, except at Mets games. Nobody goes to Mets games.
Play the traveler card
Congratulations, you’re a traveler and that makes you interesting, adventurous, and that much more attractive -- at least while you're traveling. Personally, I couldn’t date a guy uninterested in travel, so I can vouch to say that for other female travelers, you’re already doing better than most guys. Women who are traveling often seek a good time, too, and you can be a part of it.
If you’re after a local, give her a short vacation in her hometown. Women are after attractive men, too, and there's nothing like feeling the traveler's spirit right at home. Embrace it! Your accent is sexy. Unless you're from Cleveland. No one thinks the Cleveland accent is sexy.
And furthermore, we aren’t talking about your college crush; you have nothing to lose, since you’re leaving this city anyway! Man up and just do it.
Do it in daylight
Not it, you exhibitionist. Starting a conversation. It's basically 100 percent less sleazy if you meet a girl when the sun is shining. Think about it. Who's more wholesome: The guy at Starbucks, or the guy at the club?
The later in the day/night, the bigger the “Hit On Me” tattoo across a woman’s forehead seems to grow. If you have the confidence (and decency) to start a conversation with a gal while you are sober and functioning, AND you're putting forth an effort to hang out with her more than just that night, you’re five steps ahead of fellow travelers and locals.
Just talk to her
Chatting with new people might seem intimidating, but if you're traveling, you've got nothing to lose. So what if she rejects you? It's not like you'll see her in science class or at work tomorrow. You'll likely never see her again.
But given your adventure-seeking status, you'll have plenty to talk about. Talk about differences and similarities of where you're from. Talk about your favorite place, or favorite foods. Or have a go-to story you know makes people laugh. It's not rocket science.
Here are a few conservation starters to try:
“Hey, have you checked out [insert tourist attraction], is it over-rated or worth a look?”
“Any recommendations on local bars?”
“Where can I get some authentic [insert local dish] around here?”
“I heard that [insert local site] is really cool, you want to come?”
“I'm meeting some friends tonight, you should come!”
“Have you ever played King’s Cup/Ring of Fire/Bullsh!t/Never Have I Ever?”
“If there's one place I have to see while I’m here, what is it?”
Between those and “where are you from” or “wait, can you say your name again, I’ve never heard that”, you've got enough ammo. You don't need cheesy pickup lines to talk to women -- especially when you're from some other place.
Carry something to share
Hear me out: Mints, gum, a deck of cards, a flash light, granola bars, a book, whatever -- but having something you're willing to share shows you plan ahead and are generous. These are both good traits, FYI.
A granola bar on the train could lead to a proper dinner later in the evening. Your iPhone flashlight makes you a knight with shining electronics on a dark night. If you’re at a bar and offer a girl a mint, she might think you’re trying to roofie her, or she might just think you're concerned with good breath. A deck of cards at a bar can lead to a drinking game and a chance to chat -- to make sure she isn’t one of those dodgy female dogs who lets guys buy her two drinks, only to reveal that the second is for her boyfriend. Sharing is about opening up for discourse.
Share the love and she could end up sharing more with you.
Confirm her interest
Great, you mustered the courage to chat with a girl. But now you need to see how far this will go.
From what we wear, to our accents, to subtle body language, people give themselves away in conversation. As travelers, women are automatic targets for unwanted attention. Depending on where you are, the lady may have already dealt with cat-calling or aggressive behavior.
SparkNotes: Female travelers always have their guard up.
Your best bet is to approach meeting female travelers as potential friends who might turn into something more. Sure, she might not be DTF, but she could end up a great wing woman. Alternatively, you’re exactly what she needed to relax -- or to feel safe.
It’s really simple. If a girl is interested, she’ll smile with her eyes, and try to keep the conversation going by engaging further.
Asking, “Who are you traveling with?” and “Why are you traveling?” to a fellow traveler, or “How long have you lived here?” or “What do you do here?” are great signs of interest. Again, if a girl is interested, she will keep the conversation going.
Seal the deal ("deal" as in mutually agreed)
You’ve hung out, you’re already sending Snapchat selfies, and you want to kiss her. Consider your setting. Where is she from? What are her boundaries? Don’t raid the fridge if she’s just offering a snack. That's a metaphor, people.
Subtle transitions of hugs, arm touching, holding hands, and dancing are great indicators of understanding whether or not she’s into you. PUAs (those creepy guys who specialize in picking up women) would call this kino. And it's not a game old people play in casinos.
Don’t be a sleaze. Let me spell that out for you: sleazing is creepy and puts out bad vibes, whether physically, verbally, or even virtually via a computer; it entails unsolicited, unwanted, and uninvited sexual behavior.
I once had a guy I had never seen or talked to grab my glute in Vegas. I proceeded to punch him in the face and report him to security to have him escorted out.
If I don’t know you, I don’t want you touching me. Period. Anywhere. Not even my hands.
However, I remember sitting in a convertible overlooking the city after a first date, and the guy just out of no where, stopped the conversation and quizzically said, “I just really want to kiss you right now.” It was perfect. Forward, polite, and honest.
I won’t speak for all women and all men to say what works in moving forward with intimacy.
Personally, if you make me look you in the eyes and I can’t help but smile, there is a reason for it.
Language and cultural barriers might exist, but some things transcend those obstacles. Meeting someone while exploring a new place is just a bonus. And if she isn’t interested, who cares? You’re never going to see her again. Move on. There are plenty of bunks in the hostel. Or something like that.
However, if you manage to move from hotel bar to dancing to Top 40 in Tokyo or learning to Samba in Rio, chances are you’ve picked one that picked you. And that, mates, is a tale you'll be able to tell all your friends back home.
A tale. Not tail. Perv.
[Author’s disclosure: not all women and men are the same; this will work for some people and not others; if you have a problem with generalizations, check out “How Trolls Make Me Vomit” or “5 Reasons You Aren’t Any Fun”.]
Stephanie Be is a UCLA-trained writer, social media expert, and bon vivant. A lover of all things spontaneous, she has a fervent passion for travel, culture, philanthropy and technology, and has lived, sometimes on a whim, in Sydney, Barcelona, and Rio de Janeiro - - although she calls the City of Angels home. Find her first and foremost on TRAVELBREAK.