How Far Should You Set Your Location Radius On Dating Apps? It Depends On Where You Live

If you don’t typically spend most of your time swiping through dating apps — or even if you do — you may not have realized just how customizable your dating-app experience could actually be. Sure, you can adjust the gender and age of the people you’re interested in but did you know you can also adjust your location radius on dating apps? Mind blown? Yeah, me too.

We, the swipe-right generation, have become so hooked on ease and convenience that it’s not enough to express interest in someone with a quick swish of a finger. We’d also like to decide — down to the very mile — just how far away our potential matches should be.

On Tinder, you can adjust your location settings to show you people within a range of one to 100 miles of your current location; if you have Tinder Plus, you can also choose your preferred location to virtually swipe from. That’s right. A premium Tinder account gives you access to the Passport feature, which allows you to swipe in Paris, France, even if you’re sitting at home in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

So how do you decide how wide you should set your location radius on Tinder? Well, it depends on where you live.

If You Live In An Urban Area

I live in a pretty lively, downtown area in South Florida. My apartment building is immediately surrounded by approximately six other high-rise apartment buildings and the age demographic in the area skews on the younger side. As a personal experiment, I narrowed my location radius to one mile — without adjusting my age preferences — and, honestly, after a couple hours I forgot I had even adjusted it. I had just as many matches as I normally would with a radius of 25 miles.

Ideally, living in an urban area gives you a whole lot more options in terms of potential matches. Not only are there more people who live in the area, but there are also a lot of people who commute in and out on a regular basis for work or college. You could easily afford to narrow your location radius in, say, New York City, without it adversely affecting your chances in the online dating world.

If You Live In A Suburban or Rural Area

Presumably, living in a rural area — where the population per square mile is significantly lower than in a big city — would put you at a disadvantage if your location radius is too narrow. This is also a legitimate concern if you live in the suburbs. Joseph, 26, lives in a suburban area between two major cities, so he uses a location radius of 30 miles to include potential matches from both hubs. He sometimes uses Tinder's Passport feature, too. "I think it’s easier to just update my city [to a larger one close by] every now and then, but keep the same radius," he explains.

If You Travel A Lot

Using dating apps when you’re away on vacation or business is always exciting but if you don’t know your way around, adjusting your location settings might be a good place to start. Ian, 28, says, "I travel a lot so when I’m not at home, I’ll change it to roughly 10 miles and when I’m home, 30. Normally, when I travel I don’t have a vehicle, which means I won’t venture past 15 miles."

If You’ve Recently Moved To A New Area

Dating apps aren’t just for hooking up. They can be really helpful if you’re new to the area and want to meet people who live close by. In this situation, you should probably be open to traveling a little farther to hang out with someone you met online. Vin, 26, recently moved to South Florida from New York and he admits that he’s flexible when it comes to distance on dating apps. "I put it to 40 miles because I don’t have a lot of friends in Florida. I’m still new here so if the person is worth it, I’ll drive far to see them," he says.

Regardless of where you live, most guys agree that your location radius on still depends largely on what you’re looking for.

Vin says, "If you’re just looking to hook up, five to 10 miles is convenient enough." And Joseph, who hopes to find someone to be in a relationship with, says, "I’ll typically use 30 miles as a good average. I just don’t want to drive crazy far to meet up for a date is all."

But Dylan, 26, thinks it should actually be the other way around. For him, it would be more justifiable to drive a long distance for a hookup than it would be for a relationship, since the hookup is probably a one-time thing. "If you’re just looking for sex, it’s whatever. But if you really like each other, nobody wants to be driving for an hour to meet up every time," he explains.

Whatever the reason, I think we can all agree that the ability to adjust your location settings might be one of life’s greatest gifts — so you better use it wisely.

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