You’ve finally managed to arrange a few days off from work. After the initial celebration, you check your bank balance to make sure there’s enough for a decent holiday, pick a destination and then go through a mental list of what you’ll need: Hat and sunscreen? Check. Mosquito repellent? Check. What are you forgetting? The company, you ninny!
As we all know – for better or worse – the biggest secret to a successful vacation, the single factor that can make or break the holiday experience, is the company you’re traveling with.
Whether good or bad, however, company is not always a given.
“There are a lot of people around us who can’t coordinate with friends or relatives when it comes to dates or preferred destinations. People who love to travel but have no one to share the experience with,” says Ioanna Soldatou, a member of the team behind travelhut.gr, a new platform for connecting lone travelers.
The idea was hatched two years ago as the result of a real experience.
“We all love to travel, but we noticed that often, while we had the time and inclination to travel, the same was not the case with a friend, so many a holiday ended up being canceled and remained in the realm of dreams,” says Soldatou.
It was a simple idea intended to solve what can be a big problem.
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Travelhut.gr is an application that allows users to search for the right companion for a trip in Greece or abroad. To become a member, you need to sign up with a username and email, list the trips you’ve taken so far and the destinations you would like to visit in future so that you can develop a traveler profile. The app will automatically recommend other members with similar travel preferences, who you can then “friend” and contact. The service is free of charge.
The application has only been up and running for a few months and is already a success, according to Soldatou. She explains that 85 percent of its members are over 35, while there are also a few over-65s, people who have been widowed or who are simply lonely but were hesitant to search the Internet for a solution to their travel quandary.
“A lot of trips have already been successfully arranged. Members keep sending us messages thanking us for our help in finding a travel companion,” says Soldatou.
Some get even luckier, she says: “There are those who have found love through travelhut.gr. A trip was the start, then one thing led to another.”
Travelhut.gr has 900 travelers so far, while the top 10 searches right now are for Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Barcelona, New York, London, Prague, Vienna, the Greek island of Amorgos and Madrid.
“We are hoping that travelhut.gr will become an alternative for people who live to travel or simply want to travel. Basically, you no longer need to cancel a vacation because you couldn’t find company,” says Soldatou.