How often do you get somewhere and one of the following scenarios happen:
you are the “clueless tourist” trying to check off the Top 10 Must-See Things to Do list, hassled by the tour guides to spend an extra $30 for a tour
you met someone local on the street or in a bar. But a few minutes later you realize that, in the best case scenario you don’t have much in common or the worst case scenario, you can’t spend five more minutes with them without … well … who knows?
you finally find a local spot to grab food or drinks, but once the owner sees that you are a foreigner, the “English” menu comes out that’s 10x the original price
The list goes on. The point is that we’ve all experienced being a clueless tourist, not knowing anyone local and coming back with lots of pictures but still as ignorant about the culture and the people as before the trip.
Enter Triptrotting – a site with two key differentiating factors that set their community of travelers apart. First of all, they use an eHarmony-like matching algorithm that suggests local hosts that the traveler would be most interested in meeting, whether because they share similar profession, educational background, hobby or all of the above. This type of matching helps to find more things to do together and facilitates the friendship, which often lasts long after the trip.
Secondly, the Triptrotting community is actually “verified”, meaning that in order to join you have to be a “verified” traveler or local. That could mean a number of things. You might be: a student at a university, a worker for a major company or NGO, a member of one of their partner organizations or you know someone in the community who is willing to vouch for you. So you get a certain level of comfort around the people that you are meeting.
Here’s the first impressions from one member of their growing community:
My name is Peter and I am a Triptrotter! I am originally from Hungary and the first time I heard about Triptrotting was when a friend reached to me to say that there is a group of students from University of Southern California coming to visit Budapest, who are interested in meeting local students/young professionals there. I jumped on the opportunity to meet my peers from the states! I thought it would be cool to learn more about their culture and how they view life, while also being able to show them Budapest from the local’s perspective! The rest is history”¦
I’ve been using Triptrotting since as both a traveler and a host. I am a 20-something entrepreneur, who graduated from a top business school in Budapest and everyone I have met so far from Triptroting has been either an entrepreneur, a business student or both. I’ve always had something to talk to them about beyond the small talk of “what’s the weather like in your city”. I have had some of the most thought provoking discussions and debates ranging from politics and business to what is the best type of camera to shoot lake in the moonlight (photography is my hobby).
Thanks to Triptrotting I’ve not only had fun meeting my peers from all over the world, but also have been able to make long lasting friendships, created partnerships and even acquired new customers for my business! I think it is such a great combination of fun, cultural exchange and professional networking in a very friendly environment. It helps to “break the ice” and learn more about another person from completely different background. I’ve been able to meet people I would have never met without Triptrotting.
The community is present in over 50 cities around the world with the majority of their members being either students or young professionals, interested in learning about other cultures, while also expanding their international network.
This summer Triptrotting is also searching for the Ultimate Triptrotter, who will go on a 4-week trip abroad and live out the dream of being their own travel host! To apply go to www.facebook.com/triptrotting.
I’ll be on the final panel of judges picking the Ultimate Triptrotter to live out a summer of traveling to new places, meeting like-minded locals and sharing new experiences with the rest of us.