Launching today, a new app called OfftheGrid aims to bring a Tinder-like experience to the travel market, allowing its users to swipe and chat with like-minded travelers while discovering unique places to visit. The app allows users to share photos and videos of their trips, post information about an upcoming trip, arrange meetings with others, and discover new travel destinations.
What’s most notable is the Tinder-like feature in the “Discover” tab that lets users vote on photos of people around the world by swiping left or right, much like you. do it in games.
After catching the travel bug, 25-year-old Ethan Serbantes founded the startup to create a niche social platform where travelers could make connections and easily find new experiences.
Social media has transformed the way we travel, and millennials and Gen Zers consumed by wanderlust often take to Instagram for inspiration. Travel agency Arrivia surveyed more than 2,000 Americans between December 2021 and January 2022 and found that 60% of Gen Z and 40% of Millennials use social media for vacation ideas, for example.
However, browsing the internet to find destinations can be time-consuming, the founder noted. While Instagram was where everyone shared vacation spots, Serbantes said the places he browsed on the platform didn’t contain enough information for people who actually wanted to go there. . It also doesn’t help that you have to scroll through selfies and other posts that have nothing to do with the region.
Based on her own travel experience, Serbantes also realized that meeting new people as a solo traveler can be difficult. Travel booking platform Klook found that 49% of respondents were nervous about traveling solo because they didn’t want to feel alone in a foreign place.
Along with a team of six others, Serbantes designed OfftheGrid to “solve the fragmented travel planning process and problems of solo travelers,” Serbantes told TechCrunch.
OfftheGrid aims to be a platform for travelers to connect with each other and share their experiences. Users can post their photos and videos on the app’s main homepage and view posts from travelers they follow.
Travello, another social networking app designed for travelers, works in a similar way. However, OfftheGrid has a swipe feature where users swipe left or right on a person’s post, whether it’s a photo of a beach, a mountain, or maybe a mountain. a nice park. Users can like, comment and bookmark a photo for later viewing using the bookmark icon.
But there’s a catch: once a user sees a photo of a place they’re interested in, they need to have 10 coins in the app to reveal the information. For each hit, they earn a coin. Once unlocked, there will be a description and a map where you can see where the destination is in the world.
There are also options to watch a video ad to earn coins for free or buy coins. Users can pay $0.99 for 100 coins, $1.99 for 300 coins, and $4.99 for 600 coins.
The app’s “Travels” tab, meanwhile, allows users to meet other travellers. People post where they are traveling and how long they will stay there, then others connect with them to offer advice or arrange a meet up. There is a limit to the number of people you can message per day. After chatting with three people, the traveler must again use coins to chat with other people.
Of course, it is important that travelers stay safe when traveling to foreign countries. While socializing with new people can be fun, you should also be wary of meeting strangers.
“Security is one of our top priorities,” Serbantes said.
For starters, the app allows users to verify their email address, phone number, and Facebook account. At launch, OfftheGrid doesn’t have a system that verifies profile photos, but Serbantes said the startup is working on implementing a photo identification API. OfftheGrid also plans to launch a blue tick system for verified profiles.
However, as dating apps have shown, what users really need are background checks – which is why Match Group started integrating the option this year into its apps, like Tinder, after horror stories of violence, harassment and assault began to emerge from its users. OfftheGrid does not include such a feature, so travelers will need to be careful who they chat with and choose to meet.
OfftheGrid also has an “Explore” tab – a discovery tool for interacting with a map that has the most popular and trending content on the app. There is a search option if users want to access a specific location and filters such as “Wildlife”, “Parks/Trails”, “Shopping”, “Museums/Galleries”, and “Food”.
OfftheGrid is a seeded startup, which means that the company is self-funded and does not depend on investors and external sources.
Serbantes said the company has many plans for the app. This includes a subscription model that lets subscribers unlock photos and connect with as many people as they want. An organization feature is also in the works, which allows users to plan a route based on photos they have liked on the app.
Another feature rolled out in the app is a “Locals” section in the “Travels” tab allowing users to find people in the area to contact.
Serbantes mentioned that in the future, OfftheGrid would hold monthly photo contests. The photos with the most likes and accurately geotagged will win. The details of what the prizes are have yet to be decided.
The travel app can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play Store and is recommended for users 18 years and older.