Whether we’re innocently stalking our crush on Facebook or tweeting our deepest feelings into the depths of cyberspace, our iDevices have become integral to our daily social networking needs. Knowing this, app creators work tirelessly to come up with new ways to integrate various aspects of life into a social framework – new reasons to connect people. In this regard, developer Toby Gunston has come across a rather unique proposition: we all love to travel, but who wants to travel alone? That’s where Travel Buddies comes in…
The Travel Buddies app is the the mobile component of an already successful online hub for world travellers, and brings with it a rather useful suite of social functions for holiday-makers, road trippers and weekend wanderers. Aimed at users with a penchant for meeting new people and discovering new places, Travel Buddies builds a social network around the concept of looking for travel partners.
It’s a simple yet well executed idea: once your profile is set up, you’re free to look for likeminded people planning trips in your area or travellers who will be following a similar route to yours. Perhaps you’re lining up a European boat tour but are looking to make a few friends along the way? Just load your travel plans on your Travel Buddies profile, and you can easily zone in on users who will be in the same area at the time. Whether its a continent-spanning road trip or a weekend getaway, there’s bound to be someone with the same idea in mind. Alternatively, search for tourists planning a trip to your area and arrange to hook up and show them a good time in your homeland. The search parameters and inputs could do with some refining – you’re limited in both your searches and your own trip details – but it’s enough info to get a conversation going.
The user interface is clean and straightforward, a breeze to use for anyone familiar with mainstream social media apps. It’s a matter of moments to familiarise yourself with the menus and various options to put together a list of potential travel partners. There are inherent risks involved with something like this though – you’re planning meet-ups with people you’ve never met, after all, so it’s important to exercise caution before heading off on a secret mountain camping trip with a bearded man with face tattoos.
The social infrastructure of Travel Buddies is built around a number of networking options. Users outline their plans on the public wall, or detail them within their own profiles, showing their scheduled stops and so on. Find someone you are interested in joining on their travels, and you can get in touch with them via direct chat or email to make that a reality. It would be good to see more detailed profile information on prospective travel partners though – perhaps something that could be addressed in future updates.
While we all love a holiday, that’s not to say that Travel Buddies will be useful for everyone. It’s aimed exclusively at those keen to explore the world with strangers. Whether it’s worth the asking price depends on your affinity for social travel, but at least it’s a once-off fee, so once you’ve bought the app you have access to every aspect of it. If you’re part of the target demographic though - those adventurers who like to try new things, maybe take a few risks, or simply hate the idea of a lonely holiday - Travel Buddies could be the networking tool you didn’t even know you were waiting for.