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. From Grindr in Paris to Grindr in Madrid, and even more obscure scenarios like Grindr in Sri Lanka, your life is about to change.

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. 2018 UPDATE: Grindr is now “woke,” and though it’s an app for gay men to find sex, now asks you to specify your gender and pronouns; apparently women and those who identify as such can now get laid on Grindr. Lovely.

Grindr is a GPS-enabled, location-based app, so it automatically logs your position whenever you log in, whether you’re using Grindr in Spain, Grindr Italy or Grindr Amsterdam. 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

Many, many Octobers ago 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. In some situations, such as when you use Grindr in Dominican Republic or Grindr Mexico, the GPS itself might be off.

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. You should also avoid the temptation of a Grindr airport hookup, since getting caught in such a situation could land you in the slammer, even in countries where it’s not illegal to be gay.

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 1039 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!


informs, inspires, entertains and empowers travelers like you. My name is Robert and I'm happy you're here!


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Julia March 28, 2012 at 8:43 am

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.

Julia March 28, 2012 at 8:43 am

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

Robert Schrader March 28, 2012 at 11:54 am

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

Robert Schrader March 28, 2012 at 11:55 am

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 April 12, 2012 at 11:40 pm

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

Robert Schrader April 13, 2012 at 12:20 am

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!

Alex June 3, 2012 at 4:10 am

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!

Robert Schrader June 3, 2012 at 6:02 am

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

Ivar Nicolay Bakke August 11, 2012 at 11:36 am

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!

Ivar Nicolay Bakke August 16, 2012 at 1:11 pm

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 January 18, 2013 at 7:50 pm

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.

Robert Schrader January 19, 2013 at 7:53 am

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

jonathanchan April 8, 2013 at 10:07 pm

my grindr was ban…can help me?

Robert Schrader April 9, 2013 at 9:44 am

Where do you live?

chasewashatko August 20, 2013 at 1:35 am

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 July 9, 2014 at 2:38 pm

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

Robert Schrader July 11, 2014 at 8:30 am

Good question.

taylor August 14, 2014 at 4:35 pm

how do I see who is another city and country on grindr?

Nomadic Boys September 24, 2014 at 2:13 am

Completely agree! We set up a Grindr account purely to make local friends, after a friend in Yekaterinburg (Russia) recommended this. In countries in Asia or Russia, where there is no ‘scene’, locals use apps like Grindr and Hornet to just meet friends. In London however, Grindr has a whole other meaning!!

Robert Schrader September 24, 2014 at 6:31 am

Grindr in Russia – sounds brave!

neo February 21, 2015 at 12:29 pm

Can’t agree more! I did and experienced the same during my business trip to Sri Lanka, resulting in I met the local men there. I guess I fall into that category. Local hunter: Food, price, and men.

Robert Schrader February 22, 2015 at 9:39 am

😀 Great to hear

James Holley March 5, 2015 at 2:18 am

Hey I’ll be in Thailand than as well what are your favorite things to do there (places to stay, eat, drink, party all advise Is much needed and greatly appreciated )

Robert Schrader March 5, 2015 at 8:12 am
Robert Banks February 14, 2016 at 7:25 am

I down loaded Grindr but can’t figure out how to check other countries on it? I live in the USA and would like to check the Philippines ( or any other country as far as that goes)

Robert Schrader February 14, 2016 at 7:41 am

If you want to check the guys online in a certain country, you will need to be there: Grindr is location-based. In most cases, this means you are limited to seeing guys within 2-5 miles of your current location, sometimes even less than that. I believe Scruff, another app, allows for global searching.

Robert Banks February 14, 2016 at 4:10 pm

Thank you … I do know that Adam4Adam… allows you to also check other countries…. wished Grindr was the same..

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