One of the aspects of Digital Nomad life is that it is often glamorized. There is an assumption that because you are a full-time traveler that life is just one big vacation and everything is perfect.
Is this true?
Of course not!
This is one of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to working remotely. It’s not just one big party. This kind of lifestyle comes with many challenges. One of the biggest is finding a partner to date.
It’s not easy to find someone who wants to take an alternate, non-traditional path. “Oh, what’s that? You’re leaving in three months?” “I think I’ll pass!” This is often the thinking of someone considering romantic involvement with a nomad.
So what do we do? Do we resort to just short-term relationships or force ourselves to change our habits and style of living?
No! This isn’t necessary!
There is another way:
Although nomadic dating is a big hurdle to overcome, it’s not impossible. In this article, we will hear from 12 different solo & couple travelers offering their best advice for travel dating while abroad.
Ready to Begin?
Let’s do it!
placeholder for TOC+
Nomadic Travel Dating Tip #1: Go Local
Nicholas, Nomad Talk
I like the idea of a shortage of people who are suitable to date digital nomads, I just don’t believe it’s true. If you’re trying to fish the tiny pool of people that are “in the lifestyle” then you might find yourself out of luck, but there is another way.
Go local. Date somebody in the place that you’re in and from the place that you’re in. Sure, they may not be nomadic now, but they might be persuaded if they find you fascinating enough.
That’s how I met Megan, my partner, she’s from the Philippines. I went to Cebu, we started dating and a year later she was traveling the world with me.
Things aren’t “exactly equal”. Megan doesn’t earn as much as a Westerner, but she carries more of the “relationship load” when she needs to in exchange for me taking on a bit more of the financial lifting.
And surely, the whole point of going nomad is to travel the world and to meet interesting people? Not every date needs to turn into a marriage proposal. Be bold. Ask someone out and see where it leads, it’s far better than waiting for the “one” to turn up out of the blue.
This Valentine’s day, Megan and I were chilling out over a few beers and some great food in Vietnam. We’re the living proof that “going local” can turn out very well, indeed.
Nicholas & Megan Barang are a nomad couple with nearly 20 years on the road in Asia. Together they own and operate NomadTalk, a blog which explores the good, the bad, and the ugly of nomad life.
Nomadic Travel Dating Tip #2: Get Off the Internet
Daniel, Layer Culture
Any digital nomad that is used to spending their days glued to the laptop screen will often contemplate how life could be outside of a travel dating app. They will also look for other ways that they can improve their confidence.
If you find yourself in a big city and looking for new ways to meet potential dates, try searching for local poetry nights or open mic nights. When I am on my travels in South America, I am usually on the lookout for poetry night or the nearest equivalent. The main reason I suggest this is for you to get away from your connected device and put yourself in an environment where you are forced to focus on the people in front of you.
A typical poetry reading can last anywhere between 7 and 20 minutes and the idea is that you put all your attention on the speaker and their words. During the intervals, you have your chance to mingle with prospective partners and engage in riveting conversations.
If you do a digital nomad job outside of writing and you want to build up your confidence, poetry is a great way to express yourself to a potential partner and can work wonders with the audience when on the stage.
Daniel James from Layer Culture is a cultural traveler based in the United Kingdom. Daniel dedicates his time to exploring and learning about life in Latin America. Pick up your backpack and join him on his lifelong mission to uncover Latin American’s hidden gems – you may even become fluent in Spanish along the way.
Nomadic Travel Dating Tip #3: Don’t Rush In
While I have never dated as a digital nomad (been in a long-term relationship since I started this digital nomad journey), there are definitely difficulties in this lifestyle that are the same whether you’re single or in a couple. One issue can be the lack of routine, which makes setting time aside to meet people, go on dates and simply hang out surprisingly hard. When you’re constantly moving around it can be tough to interact meaningfully with new people.
Another problem could be having a lack of community. When you date in the ‘real’ world, you have your own friends, work and hobbies that occupy a lot of your time. When you are a digital nomad traveling the world, you have none of this. That means that when you do finally meet someone, you could end up spending a huge majority of your time together as you have no one else to see. For some relationships, this works wonders. For others, it is far too intense and can destroy what may have otherwise been a wonderful relationship if you took things slowly.
It’s not always a bad thing. I met my now-wife while traveling, and even though we almost immediately spent all of our time together (buying a campervan and living in it from day 1), for us it worked out very well.
So my tips for this would be to try to go into each new potential relationship the same way you would if you weren’t a digital nomad. Don’t be too keen, be prepared to take things slow and don’t neglect other hobbies or interests while in the early stages.
Jarryd Salem is one half of Australia’s biggest adventure travel blog, NOMADasaurus. He’s been traveling the world for over 10 years, searching for culture and adventure in off the beaten path destinations. Along with his wife Alesha, he now runs two successful digital media businesses, with their blog and social media channels allowing them to ‘get paid to travel’.
Nomadic Travel Dating Tip #4: Culture Difference or Personality Flaw?
Lauren, Always Find Adventure
One of the challenges with digital nomad dating in a new country is determining whether the way a person acts is due to their personality, or the culture. The beauty of living in another country and meeting new people is coming across these challenges and using communication to understand people.
We tend to look for partners based on a few things including their morals, personality, goals, and connection. Culture influences many of these things. It is not always just the culture and everyone is different but sometimes we can be unsure which one it is.
For context: I’m a heterosexual American woman and I live in Valencia, Spain. I’ve dated people in both Barcelona and Valencia.
One thing that keeps coming up for me is men not following a protocol of texting/calling you back if they are interested. The men I’ve dated here in Spain, seem to be on an equal playing field and will text you, and you will text them. This can be confusing to an American, like myself, who is used to men who are interested in me, always making more of the effort in the beginning. I really can’t tell if the men here are interested in me, or if they aren’t based on one of those cultural and social clues that I’m used to. I’m not really certain if Spanish men, in general, are like this, or if I’ve just coincidentally come across men who are all very nonchalant in their personalities.
Knowledge and information are the best ways to understand and overcome these obstacles. By gathering your own data (going on many dates with different types of people) and also talking to native people, you can see what is considered ‘normal’ and either understand and/or adhere to those cultural differences when dating. If the cultural norm is something you cannot tolerate, then you will deal with it as needed.
Lauren Cirkot is a digital entrepreneur currently living in Spain teaching English, running a marketing & consulting business, as well as a travel blog. Her mission is to help people find more adventure in their lives through travel, career and lifestyle choices. She believes the ultimate adventure in life is finding your path and having the courage to own it.
Nomadic Travel Dating Tip #5: Keep an Open Mind
Bella, Passport & Pixels
Travel dating sites are a great way to meet people when you arrive somewhere new. Obviously meeting strangers comes with risks and you need to be sensible, but using Tinder or Bumble as a nomad traveler can open you up to all sorts of possibilities you probably won’t encounter in normal life. Back home you’ll probably have a checklist of requirements: do I fancy their photos? Do they have good online chat? Will my friends like them? Do we share the same views and life goals? Do they also love experimental jazz and pineapple on pizza? As a Nomad, none of that matters.
When I went to volunteer in Uganda I wasn’t staying permanently. This means I was able to be much more open-minded about who I met – and so should you!
So he’s not the best-looking guy… but maybe he’s hilarious! So she can’t spell? English probably isn’t her first language. So he doesn’t want kids / loves thrash metal / thinks Trump is a hero (OK maybe the last one’s still a dealbreaker…). The point is when you’re a traveler, none of these things matter so much. So be open-minded about who you decide to meet. You may not fancy them but you could still end up with great company. They may even surprise you, and you could end up extending your stay…
As for me? I matched on Tinder with a guy who was not my type at all – but when we met we had instant chemistry. We had a wonderful time exploring some of the amazing places to visit in Uganda, and although it eventually ended, I’m so pleased I took a chance. So give it a try, what do you have to lose?
Founder of Passport & Pixels, Bella is an award-winning TV producer, photographer, writer and travel blogger based in London.
Nomadic Travel Dating Tip #6: Scout Your Neighborhood or Location
Rai, A Rai of Light
Dating while working abroad, whether it be in a bustling city or a cheap tropical island, certainly comes with its fair share or difficulties and challenges. From not being able to speak the language to distances that only add to the uneasiness. Cultural differences, unfortunately, are inherently part of the experience.
One thing that helps tremendously to overcome some of these challenges is the choice in location. Before arriving in a new destination, it is important to make sure to stay in an area that is most conducive to meeting the kind of people that you prefer to spend time with. For the most part, different locations and neighborhoods attract a certain type of individual and collectively a particular type of crowd.
A little research beforehand to figure out the contrasting neighborhoods and their level of appeal will give you a good idea of where to base yourself for maximum benefit. As a result, it will be that much easier to meet someone you connect with. The key to minimizing the difficulty of dating is knowing where to look and taking your time.
Founder of A Rai of Light, Rai left the safety of the corporate world behind and has been traveling the world for over 4 years in pursuit of adventure and destinations that are off the beaten track.
Nomadic Travel Dating Tip #7: Communicate Your Expectations
James, Team AJ Travels
It is important to be aware of the cultural differences that can lead to misaligned expectations of what a date will lead to.
If you are seeing someone for a long enough in the western world you will reach the inevitable “so where do you see this going” moment.
I lived in the Philippines for many years and dated a few Filipinas over the years. In my experience this conversation never usually happened and that it could just be assumed that you are in a committed relationship very early on.
Filipinas are often hopeless romantics and place a lot of importance on marriage and family. This can be quite different from what young nomad travelers may prioritize.
Out of fairness for both parties, it is important that you are very upfront about what you are looking for and be careful not to create unrealistic expectations, intentionally or otherwise.
If you notice that this may be the case, do the right thing and set the record straight.
So, how do you try and understand the local dating culture in the first place? Your best bet is to try and find a small sample of local girls (or guys) to ask directly.
The easiest way to do this is to find a local meetup online. It will be an easy topic to bring up over a few drinks in a group. There will be plenty to learn and it should be a fun conversation for all anyway.
Maybe someone will catch your eye in the process…
James and Anh are from Sydney, Australia and are a couple constantly obsessed with their next vacation. They want to show people just how much travel is possible while holding down a full-time job by starting with your own backyard to cultivate and nurture the desire to explore.
Nomadic Travel Dating Tip #8: Stay Flexible
Mitch, Project Untethered
We’ve all been there.
You meet someone amazing while traveling and share a couple of special days together….but then it’s time to part ways. You have your travel plans and they have theirs. It’s just part of being a nomad.
Well, not necessarily.
As nomadic travelers, we know we’re going to meet other awesome people on the road. It’s almost impossible not to.
So with this in mind, why not purposely keep your travel plans flexible?
Instead of buying all your flights and booking all your accommodation ahead of time, why not just go with the flow? Choose a country, have a rough idea of what you’d like to do, and let your plans adapt according to the people you meet.
Yes, if you’re dead set on following a certain itinerary, it’s nearly impossible to maintain long-term relationships on the road.
But as digital nomads, we’re in a special position. We can work from anywhere and have the ultimate freedom. When we meet someone special, we have a CHOICE.
You either choose your strict itinerary, or you choose love.
All cheesiness aside, I’m serious. If you’re sick of being lonely, the solution is easy.
Stay flexible. If you connect with someone special, use your freedom to follow them.
Mitch runs the Project Untethered blog where he teaches travelers how to support themselves on the road and build a permanent life of adventure.
Nomadic Travel Dating Tip #9: Make Sure You’re On The Same Page
Ron, Red Pill Rebellion
Okay, so you’ve started to get the hang of this Digital Nomad thing….
You’ve got your business at a point where it’s sustainable. You know your workload, and you’ve got that “work/life balance” thing all figured out…
Your traveling schedule is awesome, and you’re exploring a combination of places you love to return to as well as new countries you’ve had your sights on.
Life is perfect….right?
Maybe…but is something missing?
One of the most challenging aspects of the lifestyle is finding that special someone who’s in it for the long haul. The yin to your yang. The one that compliments you perfectly and finishes all of your ____________? (Wow….how did you know? ?)
So, what’s my tip?
First, make sure you’re on the same page, lifestyle-wise. Do you want the same things? Are you headed in the same direction? Or are you bound to crash headfirst into a brick wall?
I know you’re excited to finally meet that person who you can go on epic adventures with that just gets you. Someone to have by your side and make you feel whole. However, it’s important to take it slow…
Many nomads are so excited to find their soulmate that they are blinded by the fact that they may not be right for you. So I’ll say it again: SLOW DOWN!
Do you have the same sense of humor? Is it easy to communicate? Do you have the same life goals? Are you on the same path?
The more time you take to get to know your partner the more you’ll realize how much you have (or don’t have) in common. If the only thing you have in common is physical attraction towards one another, it might not be a match made in heaven. Take the time to figure it out.
Second, if and when you do have that person in your sights. Act on it. Be direct about what you want and move forward accordingly.
A lot of westerners like to do this little dance where they play hard to get and see who caves in first. While I agree, this is less common amongst the nomadic tribe, it still exists.
If you like someone, give it a shot! What have you got to lose? Drop the game and make it happen, Otherwise, you may lose your perfect partner.
Only, you won’t realize it until it’s too late!
Trust me on this one; I speak from experience.
Ron is an Army veteran, blogger, professional poker player and world traveler. He regularly blogs about breaking free from societal thinking, individuality and his adventures in business and travel across the globe.
Nomadic Travel Dating Tip #10: Don’t Be Afraid of a Little Distance
Alysa, Voyaging Herbivore
It’s easy to say that one of the biggest challenges of a relationship that spans oceans is the difficulty in communication due to the distance. For two years now Jack and I (Alysa) have successfully navigated a long-distance relationship between the UK and the US.
If you’re afraid to try and build a relationship because of the inevitable distance, with so many technologies available today and the widespread access to the internet, that’s no reason that this should stop you. In fact, distance can build a much stronger relationship.
Being in a long-distance relationship means that the times that you are together are all the more special. Use these chances to see each other to meet halfway. Maybe that’s in Paris where you explore the vegan scene or Bali where you soak up the sun. Wherever you get to see each other, let that add to the excitement. If you’ve got to travel to be together anyway, it might as well be somewhere on your bucket list!
Distance has the power to either break you or make you stronger than ever as a couple. The best advice I can give is to not be afraid of it! Without a long-distance relationship not only would I have missed out on the happiest two years of my life, but I also wouldn’t have had a chance to explore Paris in the fall or see some of the best sunsets at a secret hill in Northern England.
Jack and Alysa met in early 2018 while both living in London. Since then they’ve navigated a cross-cultural and long-distance relationship. They now run the ethical, sustainable, and plant-based travel blog, Voyaging Herbivore.
Nomadic Travel Dating Tip #11: Befriend the Locals
Teresa, Brogan Abroad
One of the challenges of traveling for a living or as a way of life is that making long-lasting relationships can be difficult. This applies especially when it comes to dating. Saying this, many relationships have flourished after meeting while traveling, and continuing long-distance for a while until the time was right to reunite. So it is possible!
One of the best ways to meet people, and therefore increase the chances of meeting someone you may want to date, is by seeking out to become friends with locals wherever you find yourself. But to do this it’s important to be open-minded.
We all love an easy life, and seeking familiarity helps us ease up into a big change, like arriving in a new city or country. This is why it’s very easy to fall into the ‘expat trap’ while traveling. I’m not saying that there’s something wrong with this. It’s just not the best way to meet local people, as expat communities tend to live in a bubble of their own.
So going back to meeting locals… What’s the best way to go on about it? From my experience, social media is a great way to engage with the local community. You may already know online people from a city/country because you follow them in, let’s say, Instagram or they follow you. So why not get in touch and let them know you are in the area and meet for a coffee? I wouldn’t use this method as a way of finding a date, but rather to make a local friend. You never know, as the friendship develops, you may get to meet their friends, and friends of friends and so on… you get the gist!
Although it’s not a dating site for travelers, another great social media app to meet people is meetup. Find a local group with similar interests to yours, let’s say hiking or photography and join them on an outing. You never know what could lead to a great friendship or even something more!
Teresa is a London-based travel blogger at Brogan Abroad. She’s on a mission to explore the world through deeper travel and more meaningful local experiences. She’s a lover of adventure, the outdoors and everything food-related, and is always looking for ways to make a positive impact through responsible and sustainable travel.
Nomadic Travel Dating Tip #12: Ensure Your Partner Fits Your Lifestyle
Caitlin, The Country Jumper
Speaking from a rather unpleasant experience, I can tell anyone who lives nomadically and is single and dating to be realistic about who they consider as a partner and what that person’s lifestyle looks like.
The nomadic lifestyle is a romanticized one and lots of people think it sounds great, but can’t actually hack it when push comes to shove. So, be very honest with yourself about the choices you have made and know that you have made them for a reason.
Don’t let anyone talk you back into a life you made the choice to leave. It didn’t fit then, it won’t fit now, and you will only ever resent that person for asking you to return to it or to neglect your dreams.
It is important to be open with who your partner is and what their life looks like, you’ve gone a non-traditional route with your life, so it would make sense that your partner has too. You may not know what that looks like for them, but it is also important not to sacrifice yours for theirs, especially, and I mean this with all the importance it can hold, at the beginning of a relationship.
Maybe later someone will have to take a step back – relationships require sacrifices and compromises, but not from the word ‘go’ that’s only a recipe for disaster.
Caitlin has been living abroad since graduating from college in 2011. Since then she has lived in seven countries. She writes, rides horses, teaches English, and runs The Country Jumper. Caitlin believes the best way to get to know a place is to move through it slowly and to get to know people.
So there you have it! Twelve very different and unique travel dating tips for long-term travelers and digital nomads.
While it can seem like an impossible feat to find that special someone on the road, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. There are many couples who met while traveling and you can too.
Here is a quick reminder of what you learned:
Now, I’d like to turn it over to you…
What’s your biggest challenge with dating while traveling?
Let me know by leaving a comment below!