So you’re meeting a hot girl for beers, and her online dating profile looks like Nat Geo’s Instagram feed. Or maybe that new guy you’re seeing spent a year in the Gobi desert installing solar panels in yurts. How do you convince your worldly new boo that you should totally buy your next plane ticket together? Here are eleven tried and tested ways to romance a world traveler — or at least not scare them off.
1. Be interested
Travelers have too many stories to tell and too few people who want to hear them. By listening and being genuinely curious, you’ll definitely stand out.
2. Get (a little) dirty
Travelers love to one-up each other in the gross-out department. So weird as it sounds, laughing about the gory details of her bedbug-infested hostel mattress or his bout with explosive giardia can score you major cool points.
3. Exude mobility
Don’t bitch about your lack of vacation days. Don’t whine about how you spend so many hours in your cubicle, you’re thinking about giving up your apartment. But, if you’ve ever thought of working remotely or changing jobs to have more freedom, definitely say so.
4. Show imagination
Even if you’re not well-traveled yourself, think about a few destinations you’d love to travel to and why. Talking about travel plans can be a great compatibility test. Who knows where the conversation could take you?
5. Speak their language
Mastering a foreign language can be quite a point of pride. So if your love interest is multilingual, have them teach you how to order a beer, answer a phone, or proposition someone in their L2.
6. Use food to your advantage
If you know she loved visiting Bangkok, suggest meeting at a Thai restaurant. Better yet, cook her some beef basil stir fry (seriously, it’s so easy). Hey, the more she associates you with Bangkok, the better.
7. Be a master planner
Planning is a huge pain point for travelers, so flaunt any organizational skills you have. Treat each date like a little trip by researching, reading reviews, and making reservations.
8. Give the right compliments
Worldly types know there’s more to life than a nice ass in designer jeans. Instead of focusing on the superficial, tell her what you like about her intellect, courage, resourcefulness, and character.
9. Ask about Carrefour, a.k.a. the “hypermarket”
It’s like a French version of Costco with locations in 30 countries. It’s usually the best (and cheapest) place in town to buy wine. And weirdly, only about 0.01 percent of the U.S. population has heard of it. Show you’re in that rarified class.
10. Don’t lay the world traveler thing on TOO heavy
No one likes to be pigeonholed. Even if he spent years treating orphans for ringworm in Swaziland or backpacking to every country on earth, resist the temptation to introduce him as “Traveler Brett.” (And definitely not as “Explosive Giardia Brett.”)
11. Have a (current) passport
Otherwise you might hear the words, “check please.” On the other hand, If it’s full of impressive stamps, you might just want to bring it along on your first date. Talk about major street cred.
And above all, be yourself
It’s nice to show interest in others’ lives and passions, but it’s also important to shine a little yourself. Authenticity is the foundation of good chemistry. It’s also wildly refreshing when you’re slogging through the cesspool of superficiality that is modern online dating. So talk about the things that really turn you on in life — even if they have squat to do with travel.