How many of us have dreamed of being sat in our airplane seat, anxiously looking for the man or woman of our dreams to waltz down the aisle and tell you they’ll be sitting next to you for the next five hours?

You’ll laugh, you’ll bond and you’ll realize that you’ve both fallen deeply in love during the flight, which will, obviously result in the two of you traveling around the world together.

Unfortunately, it almost never works out like that. Whilst backpacking is fairly synonymous with travel-flings, you are far more likely to find said fling in a bar, in your hostel or on a dating app.

Love them or hate them, apps have become the most common form of dating in the last five years. They’re so popular, in fact, that 40% 18 – 25-year-olds have said they would actively avoid approaching somebody in a bar because there’s a good chance they’ll match with them later.

Terrifying.

With this in mind, it’s pretty tempting to start swiping right on the locals, but what precautions should you be taking to do this safely?

1. Use the app to talk properly before giving out personal information

A lot of people prefer to just cut to the chase and meet someone in person. However, when you’re in a country or city that you don’t know well, and you’re solo-backpacking, it’s vital that you follow precautions. Stick to the app until you meet in person – they offer the same form of instant communication as Whatsapp without having to give out your number. And if you really like your date, you can always ask for their number after.

2. Do a Thorough Social Media Stalk

Most of us will be doing this in any online dating format, but doing a quick background check to make sure your date is legitimate could save you from any hairy scenarios. If they look like they’ve taken their photos from the internet, ask if they have social media – or better yet, don’t ask and just find them yourself. While you’re at it, also search for them on Google – the phrase ‘if it’s too good to be true it probably is’ usually also applies to the man or woman of your dreams found via Tinder.

3. Tell Somebody Where You’re Going

Remember, your safety is a priority. Whether you’re dating at home or on the road, you should always make sure somebody knows exactly where you are. If things escalate, shoot your friend a message and let them know you’re going home with your date. Another great option is sharing your location with friends so they can see where you are via your phone. Let friends know when you arrive safely and what time you’ll be home, that way they will be aware if you’re not back when you said you would be.

4. Screenshot Their Profile

99% of friends are going to ask what the person you’re meeting looks like anyway, simply because friends are nosey. However, sending a picture is also a very important safety step pre-date. Ideally, send their Tinder profile and let your friends know as much important information on them as you see fit – including giving them his number if you have it.

5. Always Meet in Public

Ultimately, what happens at the end of the date is entirely up to you. But always make sure you start off in a public, preferably busy area. Parks, cafes or restaurants will always be the optimum first-date spot. If you’re traveling around, you’re almost definitely not there for a ‘date’, which is totally fine, but meeting in public first means you have far more options to back out.

Dating abroad is fun and exciting and, for the most part, should be no more dangerous than dating at home. However, we all know it’s easy to get carried away after a few cocktails, and the convenience of dating apps makes us even more laissez-faire. If you do decide to date on the road, always make sure you do so safely.