Photo of the gay sex app Grindr on an iPhone

Why I’m Thankful for Grindr When I Travel

Promiscuity is nothing more than traveling
There’s more than one way to see the world
And some of us like to stick close to home
And some of us are Columbus
What can I say?

-Ani DiFranco, “Promiscuity”

If you’re a gay “Christopher Columbus” type and like to “sample the local flavor” — I detail some of my experiences doing this in previous articles about the men-folk of Brazil and Israel — you absolutely must download a wondrous mess of code known as Grindr onto your Android, BlackBerry or iPhone.

The better way to travel gay – our guide.

How to Download Grindr and Get Started

Getting Grindr onto your smartphone is easy, whether you use an Android or iPhone. Simply launch the application store for the platform you use, search for Grindr and wait for the free app to install on your device.

Upon launching Grindr, you’ll be prompted to upload a single, G-rated picture (You can exchange images of a naughtier sort once you get your first chat started). You’ll also have the opportunity to input basic profile details, like your stats, a headline and a short blurb.

Grindr is a GPS-enabled, location-based app, so it automatically logs your position whenever you log in. The app’s splash screen is a mess of thumbnail photos, which show guys near your current position in order of how close or far away they are, relatively to you.

 

On the Hunt

Last October in Madrid, frustrated by my lack of success finding a man using old-school gay websites,  I installed Grindr for the first time. Within a minute, several “pops” were coming out of my iPhone’s speaker, which indicated interested guys had sent me messages.

Unlike the aforementioned old-school sites, which include Manhunt and GayRomeo, Grindr doesn’t limit the number of messages you can send or the amount of media you can transfer. You can get to know as much as possible about your potential lay before you meet him!

Tap a guy’s thumbnail to access a private chat interface, where you can exchange messages, maps and photos, including of your you-know-whats. If a green circle appears on a guy’s thumbnail, he’s currently online, or at least Grindr believes him to be.

If there’s no green circle, the guy has been online recently but is idle. Just tap the picture to see his profile, which states how recently he was using the app. If a guy doesn’t get back to you instantly, don’t take it personally: He may not have Grindr open on his device at all.

The Pocket Navigator

Once you’ve decided you want to meet a guy, the person who’s hosting sends a map of his location, which shows you his exact position. What the map doesn’t provide the guest with is the host’s address, or the opportunity to chart a route there.

For this reason, I recommend sending or requesting not only a location, but also a street address and, if necessary, apartment number. I usually plug the address into Google Maps to get directions from wherever my “Current Location” is.

The cool thing about Google Maps (on iDevices, anyway) is that as long as you make the map while connected to Wi-Fi and don’t close out of the app, it lets you track your location relative to your destination as you make your way to your suitor-in-waiting.

Grindr Tips, Tricks and Safety

Always go with your gut feeling about someone. If even one thing he says or a single one of his pictures doesn’t sit well with you, call the meeting off: Peacing out of an undesirable hookup is much more awkward than simply avoiding it in the first place.

Although it’s always a good idea to ask someone about his HIV status and whether he’s free of STDs, people can and do lie, so you should always protect yourself. If you don’t, you may bring more back from your trip than fond memories and overpriced souvenirs.

Use particular caution if you use Grindr in countries where homosexuality is illegal, such as those I mention in my article about gay travel in Muslim countries. I’ve heard stories about police creating fake Grindr accounts to lure foreigners into meeting, then arresting them.

Speaking of repeat meetings, Grindr makes that easy. Simply tap the “star” icon within someone’s profile to add him to your favorites list, which causes his profile to display at the top of the Grindr screen, no matter where in the world you are.

Why I Love Grindr

My favorite thing about Grindr is how casual and discreet an affair it makes meeting local men for a good time. Although I’m not personally bothered by some peoples’ opinions about the morality of sex, using Grindr allows you to experience it without shame.

Grindr’s being so easy allows you to be more at ease before, during and after the deed, something that in my experience anyway has led to drinks, dates and even romantic nights together in the wake of hook ups. I maintain contact with several of the guys I’ve met abroad.

This “contact” entails international sexting, or a guaranteed place to stay the next time I return — and in a couple cases, a mutual desire for “something more” if the stars happen to align and we find ourselves living near one another.

Grindr is one of the things I’m most thankful for as a gay traveler. If you haven’t downloaded it yet, install it on your Android, BlackBerry or iPhone and give it a spin. If you don’t love it, deleting it is simple. If you do love it like I love, tell me about your experience!

About The Author

is the author of 483 posts on Leave Your Daily Hell. Robert founded Leave Your Daily Hell in 2010 so that other travelers would have an entertaining, reliable source of information, advice and inspiration at their fingertips. Want to travel more often? Subscribe to email updates today!

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  • http://www.theepicadventurer.com/ Julia

    I just wanted to say a HUGE thank-you for writing honestly about gay travel! Not enough people write about it, but plenty of us are queer and like to see the world, so it’s great to have folks around who write about the real life of being gay abroad.

  • http://www.theepicadventurer.com/ Julia

    And PS, I am always looking for guest posters to write about LGBT travel, if you ever want to submit a piece!

  • https://plus.google.com/116480057469316097585?rel=author Robert Schrader

    I sure will! Why don’t we tentatively say next Wednesday? Is that cool?

  • https://plus.google.com/116480057469316097585?rel=author Robert Schrader

    Ditto! Although it’s a shame I can’t offer more (any?) perspective on the lesbian travel experience — let alone transgender, queer or any of that!

  • Mike Rawson

    Hey, you may be surprised to learn Grindr has been blocked in China for the last few months!

  • https://plus.google.com/116480057469316097585?rel=author Robert Schrader

    I am not surprised that it has been blocked, but I’m surprised that none of the gay nerds have found a work-around. Good to know!

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  • Alex

    Hey!
    Grindr does not work in china!
    Scruff does but people there is.. Not what im looking for.
    Any recommendations for china on this theme?
    Thanks in advance!
    Alex

  • https://plus.google.com/116480057469316097585?rel=author Robert Schrader

    Hi Alex: Gay Romeo is popular in China, and also Manhunt.

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  • http://ivarnicb@gmail.com Ivar Nicolay Bakke

    Hi Alex! I just bought my first smart/android (only yesterday) and the first app I downloaded was GRINDR! It´s HOT and great – thanks a lot for informing and recommending!

  • http://ivarnicb@gmail.com Ivar Nicolay Bakke

    Hi again! A question: Do you use plain Grindr or Grindr Xtra? My first week included the Xtra version which has now subsided. Is plain Grindr OK, or is it worth 50$ for a year Xtra?
    Ivar Nicolay in Oslo

  • Ziggy

    I use Grindr a bit when I travel, but I’d rather go to gay clubs where they exist. Having a drink and a dance first is more fun than tapping a phone screen.

  • https://plus.google.com/116480057469316097585?rel=author Robert Schrader

    See, I guess I’m just not big into the club scene…

  • jonathanchan

    my grindr was ban…can help me?

  • https://plus.google.com/116480057469316097585?rel=author Robert Schrader

    Where do you live?

  • chasewashatko

    Flying into tel aviv mainly staying in Haifa looking for fun night life with hot Middle Eastern guys ha any great suggestions I will have my iPhone 5 charged and ready lol

  • Daryl

    but you’re fucking hot what if you want sex a.s.a.p.?

  • http://leaveyourdailyhell.com Robert Schrader

    Good question.

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