Can Friends of Friends Make Travelling Better?

Can reaching out to new friends make travelling better? Source: Wikimedia There are plenty of people who want to travel the world and gain exciting new experiences and perspectives from the places they visit. That said, all too often potential travels are put off or even not undertaken at all for a very simple reason – the traveller in question has no one to go with nor the means to sustain themselves on their adventure. But should travelling – with all of the benefits it brings – be only for those who can find a suitable companion who also has the income to be able to afford it? Thanks to the power of modern social networking, a Melbourne-based business has hit upon the idea of getting people to hook up with one another when travelling based on a remarkably simple premise. According to Friend Theory, the start-up enterprise concerned, everyone in the world has a connection with everyone else, albeit through six degrees of separation. So, if you looked at everyone in your phone's contact list and then counted every name in each of their contacts, and so on, then you'd only need to go through six connections to see the link between the whole of humanity. The people behind Friend Theory have used this well-known concept and decided to try and make it work for lone travellers. Here's how it works.

The Theory Behind Friend Theory

When you sign up for Friend Theory, you have access to a kind of social network that is designed for travellers. It allows you to hook up with hosts in places that you will want to visit with whom you can opt for a range of different activities. This might be as simple as showing you around their home city, for example. In other situations, hosts will offer accommodation, access to Wi-Fi and even food. They can also make suggestions on, for example, the best restaurants, most interesting sights or coolest casinos in the area. By finding a friend of a friend, the idea is that you are not simply meeting up with a total stranger and, since the platform allows for feedback from both parties, it should make sure that everyone who uses it remains safe. Think of it as a cross between Airbnb and a dating app but for travellers who want to gain local insights and travel cheaply. One of the ideas of the peer-to-peer platform is that it will help lone travellers to overcome one of the hardest things of all about turning up in a new place – that of orienting yourself and settling in. Once Friend Theory has set you up, then you could feasibly stay on in the area or choose to move on. It is not like booking a holiday in a hotel, after all. The other key factor for many is the low cost of the service. By staying with people who live in a destination rather than a professional accommodation provider, it is possible to live quite cheaply and, thereby, extend the length and duration of your travels. Local knowledge makes all the difference when visiting a new area. Source: Wikimedia

How Friend Theory Came to Be

Initially aimed at millennials, Friend Theory was the brainchild of three friends who saw a niche in the market for a platform that connected people across the world via their own friendship networks. The service had 1,000 users on it before it launched, something that has grown to approaching 200,000 now. Two of the founders met – you guessed it, while travelling – through a mutual friend which is what sparked the idea for Friend Theory. Nowadays, the business is set up to provide a reliable service to two main target groups, young lone travellers with limited budgets and international students who may know no one at all in the city they are due to study in. The service now operates in over 130 countries across the world and is steadily building a reputation for itself among travellers as a great way of meeting people as well as travelling cost effectively.

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