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5 Apps to Help You Meet People While You Travel

meeting people while you travel

Flickr/Mobile Edge

Meeting new people can be one of the most exhilarating parts of any trip, especially if you’re traveling solo, but it’s not always easy. Approaching strangers can be both intimidating and unnatural for a lot of travelers. With the help of some new apps and web sites, however, you’re not restricted to making new connections at the bar, in tourist hotspots, or in hard-to-find local haunts. If you’ve got a smartphone and wifi, try one of these travel-focused tools…

1. TravBuddy. At first glance, TravBuddy seems most like TripAdvisor or Yelp, with Q&As, recommendations, and reviews from all over the world. What it does differently is that it encourages users to meet up and spend time together while they’re traveling. Members can search for other travelers by location, length of trip, travel dates, gender, and age. A ticker tells users who is going where, and users can click on people’s names, or on the destination itself. TravBuddy boasts nearly 500,000 members, so there’s a robust community of travelers who are waiting to chat and meet up.

2. ePenpal. This app aims to help travelers find locals in the countries they’re visiting, but this is the best part: Users can instantly translate text messages they receive into more than 60 languages. While the translations, which are powered by Google Translate, are surely less-than-perfect, people can connect with and talk to locals without worrying about difficult language barriers or imperfect pronunciation. In addition to text messages, users can send voice messages, photo messages, or group chats. The app also works as a travel journal by creating and sharing photo essays, and text or voice stories to share with other users.

3. BeWelcome. As an alternative to Couchsurfing, which matches vagabond travelers with hosts willing to give up their couch for the night, BeWelcome takes the hospitality exchange network one step further. Their 50,000 members cook meals together, go on sightseeing tours, share stories, have language lessons, go out to dinner, and attend parties. The concept is simple: both locals and travelers set up accounts and make connections through personal profiles. This site features an open comments section at the bottom of each member’s profile to help you who might be a good fit. Not only does the BeWelcome crew pride themselves on offering a reliable service, they offer plenty of testimonials so users can read about others’ experiences.

4. Badoo. This app is an interesting choice for finding locals to grab lunch or a cocktail with if you’re on a tight timetable. It uses a smartphone’s GPS system to pinpoint its members’ exact locations, so you can see in real-time when members are physically nearby and want to meet up. Like other social apps, users can chat with other users, check out pictures, leave messages, and peruse profiles. Badoo is active in more than 180 countries and offers its services in more than 20 languages. Note that Badoo can be used as a dating app, so keep this in mind as you weed through responses.

5. Skout. With this app, members can virtually travel to other cities chat with people there. Though this app offers many of the same features as other social apps, Skout allows users to choose the ways they connect, and see which users have read their profiles — a nice plus. Members can text, chat, or talk to each other across the globe, so it’s a fun app for finding out what’s going on in, say, Barcelona or Tokyo, practicing a new language with native speakers, or asking questions about upcoming trips.


  • Babak says:

    Also checkout Tripolette
    It’s THE place to find travel companions. It just works! Here’s why…

    There are lots of travel forums scattered across the web meant for finding travel companions. The major ones are Lonely Planet Thorn Tree, Travellerspoint, Fodor’s Travel forum, … however, they’re all closed threads and almost impossible to search and filter results. Not to mention that you have to visit all these different websites.. Tripolette aggregates travel posts from major forums and puts them all in one place so you can quickly find results. You can filter results based on destination, time, gender, etc. It also allows you to post your own plans so other travelers can find and reach you. The best part, it’s all free!

    (Tip: use #hashtags to describe activities. e.g. I wanna go #scubadiving and #surfing. I’m #foodie, …)

    Disclosure: I started Tripolette to help connect travelers with matching plans. It’s been a fun journey.

  • Aaron says:

    There’s a brand new site for meeting both locals and other travelers, wherever you go…

    It’s 100% free.
    You create a personal profile, and if you’re going somewhere, you add your “vacation entries” to the site with a few details of the trip, and then you can use the “Find Locals & Travelers” feature to communicate with other members who live where you’re going, or members who are going to the same place at the same time. If you’re NOT traveling, you can communicate with members living near you or coming to YOUR city.

    There’s also a “vacation photo gallery” where you can upload your favorite photos in 5 different categories, and there’s a “recommendations” feature where you can view and make recommendations for bars/restaurants, nightclubs, events, accommodations, must-see places, and other businesses in any city of the world!

    The site looks great on all devices. It can be used on computers, tablets, and mobile phones (the website is specially formatted for mobile browsers).

  • Ana says:

    I’d highly recommend Tripolette to find travel companions. They have the easiest way to search and filter and can quickly find like individuals without having to read through long posts. Also the visual world map is a nifty way to browse and find interesting destinations. check it out

  • Sam says:

    Tripolette was ok but the best I have found is Tripr.
    It is an app. Connected me with some great people in Peru.

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