~ SEPTEMBER 2022 ~
Research showed that 90% of women would love for a man to give them the option of traveling for a first date, and 84% of men said women they asked to go on destination dates said yes. Not only does destination dating give you a chance to explore new terrain, but you can also experience your potential date in a place outside of their comfort zone.
Destiny Jones, an entrepreneur who lives in Long Island, New York used to be a professional basketball player overseas and would go on dates in the cities she played in.
“I was looking to meet new men, learn different cultures and customs and enjoy myself,” she tells ESSENCE. “I feel that I didn’t want to restrict myself to only dating American Black men because they didn’t have the values that aligned with what I need in a husband. Instead of divesting from Black men and dating out, I simply opened my borders.”
Since Jones was already accustomed to dating overseas, when she was planning a trip across the pond, she set up dates with local Londoners on Hinge beforehand. That is how she met her husband.
“I started talking to him and nobody else mattered. Then COVID happened and my trip got canceled, but we stayed together and he visited here that summer instead as his country was majorly locked down.”
Princess Diamond (who didn’t share her residence) says she’d like to try destination dating because she thinks it could provide a better experience than what she’s used to.
“Destination dating to me is a level up from regular dating,” Diamond says. “You meet people with more purpose who actually want to get out and move from online. With internet dating taking over, a lot of what the experience is has been lost. I think destination dating can bring those classic components back.”
But dating away from home isn’t always a slam dunk. Mary Ayoola traveled from London to South Florida and went on a couple of dates while visiting. She had been engaging in online dating back home with little luck and thought dating in a new environment would yield better results, but she didn’t have any memorable experiences.
“It wasn’t good. I didn’t experience any connections on the dates I went on,” Ayoola says.
With that said, it’s important to manage your expectations before you put yourself out there. You may simply be dating for fun and not thinking that far ahead, which can be an enjoyable approach to dating.
But if you have other hopes, when destination dating, one should consider how logistics impact the experience and what you’re open to your long-term plans being. Could you do a long-distance relationship? Would you move in order to be with someone special?
For Nicole Williams, the Brooklyn resident enjoyed dating away from home because of the different cultures she got to experience, but eventually wanted something serious. While destination dating, she didn’t find it the easiest to do while living in Thailand.
“I think it was harder dating abroad because a lot of people were looking for a fling and nothing else, really,” Williams recalls. “And most of the expat men I met wanted to date a ‘Thai Girl’ or a girl from the country they were living in.”
A family emergency would inevitably bring her back to New York and while she was visiting, she went on a date with the man who would end up being her husband. In the end, it was back home, not in another country, where Williams found her happy ending.
So, destination dating can yield mixed results just like dating where you live can. If anything, you get to know someone new in a place you’re getting to know as well. Whether it works out or not, it certainly sounds like something cool to tick off your bucket list.
A version of this article originally appeared here on essence.com