We’ve spent more than a year trapped inside of our homes, traveling from the couch to the fridge to the bed and back again, which, of course, does nothing for our Instagram page or the pages in our passports. While many of us are eager to get vaccinations and prep for vacations to new destinations, some of us are nostalgic for places we’ve been before—fun, familiar, inviting hotspots that we’ve yearned for simply because we couldn’t indulge ourselves the way we did in the Before Times. Places replete with possibility! Places that put the ‘lust’ in wanderlust! Places that allow for kissing a brutal, touch-starved year goodbye!
As the inoculated population continues to multiply, and the world (businesses, hearts, legs) begin to 100% open up, here are the must-see destinations and #TravelGoals for 2021 for those who are ready to… get around!
1st, 2nd & 3rd Base
While metaphorical bases aren’t physical destinations you can find in a travel guide, they are certainly physical. A hot, geographically convenient partner is the only thing you need to bring, but if you’re feeling a little out of practice after not exploring this classic trio of bases for quite some time, putting your experience back on the map is as easy as 1-2-3. After hitting it off, you’ll know when it’s time to head to 1st—the signs are easy to make out. Second is always within reach; just make sure you’re feeling up for it. If something more adventurous feels right, venture south to 3rd!
Best time to visit: When your emotional and physical borders are open.
Expert travel tip: Make sure your travel partner is always on board before exploring any iconic landmarks. If your itinerary and vibe allows, make it a home run!
The Back Booth of a Dark Bar
After months of maybe the occasional socially distant date at an outdoor-indoor restaurant in 39-degree weather, forced to see your matches in the harsh light of day or lit next to the 1.5 available heat lamps, it’s time to safely venture inside to the back, back, back booth—but only with someone who has proved worthy of this exclusive, to-dive-for retreat. You’ll banter for hours, order round after round, and scoot closer, and closer, and closer, and closer, until you can finally see each other’s faces in the glow of your iPhone screen (which is blowing up with “omg how is it” texts from the group chat). This coveted locale (ideally with good ventilation) is also known for making you forget time exists, which might be a little bit of a throwback from 2020, but in this context? We’ll take it.
Best time to visit: When you no longer need to be six feet from a six-foot babe.
Expert travel tip: If you’re feeling efficient, combine your visit here with an adventure to 1st base!
A Tinder Date’s Apartment
It’s important to enjoy yourself every single second on this post-vax tour! (And it’s perfectly cool to end a trip early if you don’t like what the travel brochure promised.) But now that the two of you (you and whomever advances to the next round) have spilled the immuni-tea and traveled to the dark corners of bars together, it may be time for a change of scenery. Sure, you could take them back to your natural habitat, but it’s too soon for anyone to see the landmark ass imprint you made on the couch over the last year, so why not see what other slices of paradise the world has to offer? Maybe it’s a man’s bed with an actual bed frame! Or maybe it’s two lawn chairs that double as a living room loveseat. Either way, it’s something new.
Best time to visit: Whenever you feel most comfortable. (And you’ve shaved your entire body, head-to-toe.) (But no judgment if your quarantine bush is here to stay!)
Expert travel tip: If the accommodations aren’t up to your standards, don’t be afraid to leave a Yelp review (via text to the gals).
The Backseat Of An Uber
Your ride of pride awaits! We all know what it’s like to be in the back of a Toyota Burrata on a Sunday morning—wind blowing through your hair as you hang your head out the window, the humbling sounds of the Christian-rock radio station your driver Paul has chosen to blast at top volume, the street-by-street, minute-by-minute countdown ‘til you can wash your face and over-analyze your life your choices from the comfort of your own home. Five stars to Paul for not asking any questions.
Best time to go: When you have a hankering for a quick and necessary road trip.
Expert travel tip: The ride to or from a hookup’s house is actually called a “sex drive.”
Any Other City
Let’s go, girls! Pack your baggage! We’re headed to another city—any city, really—because we’ve swiped through all the available (and unavailable) singles in our town’s radius.
Best time to go: When you’ve run out of prospects.
Expert travel tip: Be smart on all of your adventures—sexual or otherwise. Safety always, always comes first. Then it’s your turn.
Images: Kendyle Nelsen / Unsplash
As 2020 turns into 2021, not much has changed. We’re still washing our hands, staying inside, and online dating remains the only way to meet someone (unless you’re able to make a connection with a cutie across the grocery store aisle and you are really good at flirting with only your eyes). Since we’re not about to meet someone at a crowded bar anytime soon, our dating app Ship is rolling out a bunch of new features to make online dating with your friends’ help and input even better.
With most dating apps, the only way to unlock certain features like sending unlimited likes per day or finding out who likes you in advance is to pay for a premium membership. Ship knows nobody wants to pay for that sh*t, so they launched Ship Rewards. It’s a virtual in-app currency called Ship Sparks, which you can earn by doing things like inviting friends or swiping. You can then redeem Ship Sparks for those perks like unlimited ships and swipes—without having to put in a credit card. It’s a win-win: you get the added bonus features, all for doing the stuff you’d normally be doing on Ship anyway.
Gone are the days when your friend would wingwoman you with the cutie on the other side of the bar. But never fear, because Ship’s new Hype Line feature is basically that, but virtual. Now, when you’re swiping for your friend, use Hype Line to leave your friend’s prospective match a note. Maybe something like “your dogs would make such a cute couple” or “ask her to explain why Parks and Rec is better than The Office”.
Being able to see who else liked you is typically a luxury that other apps make you pay for—but not Ship, because they’re offering it for free. Soon, you’ll be able to see which eligible singles have already liked what you’re putting out there, just unlock the feature by picking up some Ship Sparks, and you’ll be on your way to quicker matches.
Just because it’s still a pandemic doesn’t mean all hope is lost for your dating life. With these new features from Ship, you’ll find your quarantine bae in no time.
Quarantine has been hard AF. As a single twentysomething who’s been watching an endless Instagram reel of friends and acquaintances getting engaged, it’s been especially hard. (Can I get an “AMEN?”)
A month into quarantine, I met a guy at the dog park where I take my dog. Our dogs got along well with each other, and he seemed nice enough. He wasn’t exactly my physical type, but he was one of the very, very, very few guys with whom I’d gotten the chance to interact in any way since the pandemic started. So after some friendly flirting and playing parents to our dogs, I gave him my number and texted him just a few days later, asking if he wanted to go hiking with me.
We started to hang out once a week, and once a week quickly turned into almost every day. It was easy to fall into this routine because, well, quarantine, and there wasn’t much else to do.
There was a point, though, when our relationship began to feel less like “He’s ~The One!~” and more like “he’s just the one for now.” Three months into dating, right after we’d made it official, we took a little getaway to an Airbnb in a Texas country town for a couple of nights.
A romantic getaway with just us two gave me space to ask myself some valuable questions that made me realize my quarantine boyfriend wasn’t my forever guy. Here are those questions:
Do you text him when you’re bored, or are there personality traits of his that you genuinely like?
View this post on Instagram
If you have any of the following thoughts before you text him (or anything like these), you’re probably just dating him because you’re bored in quarantine:
I’m bored. What’s he up to?
UGH, I need attention. Lemme hit him up.
I feel lonely, so I’ll hit him up.
If there are things about him that you like, take note of those, either mentally or create a list. I know lists aren’t the most romantic things, but they’re super helpful!
After I dumped my quarantine boyfriend, I made a list of qualities that are important to me in a boyfriend. I keep it handy and I know it’ll help me attract me a guy that’s a better fit for me next time.
What kind of thoughts do you have about him when you’re not together?
While I was dating my dude, I would sometimes tell myself: “I’m just dating him until I can find someone better.” I actually caught myself having this exact thought while doing yoga on the porch of the Airbnb. It was a wake-up call. I know I’m not the only person in the world who’s ever had this thought, either.
The problem is that if you’re having these thoughts about the person you’re dating, it isn’t fair to them—but it isn’t fair to you, either. You’re wasting their time, and you’re wasting your time by spending time with them when you could be opening your heart up to someone else, or just feeding your own soul.
It takes a certain type of self-awareness to be able to figure out whether you’re dating someone out of like, love, or loneliness. So pay close attention to your thoughts. And if you’re feeling anxious, if your mind is racing at 100 miles a minute in quarantine—which is normal—then listen to your gut.
Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Can you see a future with this person? When the head can’t sort things out, it’s time to listen to the heart. Everyone has an intuition—and while some have stronger intuition than others, there are things you can practice to feel closer to yours, like meditating on it.
What do your friends think of him?
View this post on Instagram
When my friends met my ex-boyfriend, they threw some challenging questions my way. They made good points: that I didn’t seem super excited when I was around him, and that I looked more interested in the hot guys walking past us at the dinner table than the guy I was with.
At first, I resented my friends for giving me such, er, unfiltered advice. (But if they don’t give you the realest advice, are they even your friends?)
After sleeping on their advice, though, I realized I resented it because it was true. And that maybe, just maybe, I had been in denial for months, lying to myself that this guy was, in fact, ~The One~, when my heart had been telling me all along that I was just using him to pass the toughest months of quarantine.
TL;DR: If you have to ask yourself if you should dump your quarantine boyfriend, the answer is probably a resounding yes. And when you do, you’ll feel happier, freer, and able to give yourself the time and space to reflect on the following question: What kind of partner do I really need?
Image: Jonathan Borba / Unsplash; uuppod / Instagram (2)
Over the past few months, the most consistent topic of conversation has been how we will adjust to the ~new normal~ that we’re living in thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. Obviously, we’ve all had to make a lot of changes, but what does that actually mean? Coronavirus hasn’t gone anywhere, a lot of stuff is still closed, and pretty much nothing feels normal. That being said, I know I’m not the only one desperate to have a personal life again, and we’re all trying to figure out how to get back into the dating game while not risking our lives.
As we move through the phases of reopening, everyone is assessing how to move forward in dating and everything else. This spring, we conducted a survey with our dating app Ship about dating during the pandemic, and we uncovered some interesting trends. Some of these things seem like common sense, while others are more surprising, but hey, you never know what to expect in 2020.
Dating Apps Are More Popular Than Ever Before
Most of us haven’t been able to do much in-person dating in 2020, but with so much free time on our hands, dating apps have been lit. The majority of people who took Ship’s survey said they’ve used ~the apps~ more during quarantine, and messages on Ship doubled after shelter-in-place orders went into effect.
We’ve all been busy building our virtual rosters, but what happens now? 62% of people said they plan to meet their quarantine matches IRL, and with all that time to build a virtual bond, I have a feeling we could be seeing a lot of new relationships between now and Labor Day. Everyone that missed the memo on a quarantine bae the first time around will be eager not to make the same mistake again.
View this post on Instagram
The Bar Is Higher
Now that we’re all being forced to pick and choose who we want to see, it makes sense that we’re getting more selective in our dating lives. Before, meeting someone for a drink was pretty low stakes, and going on first dates was an easy way to weed out who actually had potential. But now, 50% of people say they’ll be pickier than before about who they meet IRL, and 31% of people say their standards are higher in general. We may be desperate in quarantine, but I guess some of us aren’t that desperate.
F*ckboys Are Struggling
With casual hookups pretty much off the table for the near future, it’s easier than ever to tell who’s open to something more serious. In the past, f*ckboys could string you along with the idea that they might want a relationship, when they really just wanted someone to text late night. Survey respondents said this is one of the perks of virtual dating, because it “cancels out the people that just want something casual” and offers “an excuse not to have to meet up right away.”
View this post on Instagram
Video Dating Is The New Normal
And of course, as we navigate the ongoing pandemic, it’s still a great time to use virtual dating resources. Zoom happy hours are played out at this point, which is why we launched Ship Party—it’s like Houseparty, but for dating. A simple phone call, FaceTime, or virtual Ship date are also still great ways to determine if someone is actually worth meeting IRL. It might be a little awkward, but at least you won’t waste one of your precious social interactions. 54% of Ship users said they’ve gone on virtual dates, and if you want to spice up your virtual date, check out these Zoom backgrounds we made for any occasion.
I hope this goes without saying, but sadly, your dating life shouldn’t be going back to 100% normal just yet. With cases once again on the rise in most states, it’s important to follow social distancing guidelines if you’re meeting someone new, and don’t be afraid to ask them questions. If they’ve traveled recently, or have been in a high-risk situation, maybe keep things virtual for another week or two. Once you’ve been hanging out for a bit, then you can make an educated decision about hooking up. Don’t take your mask off around someone you don’t trust, no matter how tempting it is. First date kisses just aren’t going to be a thing for a minute.