This New Dating App Is Like Tinder for Travelers
OfftheGrid aims to unite solo travelers on the road
There’s a good reason why dating apps are inundated with travel photos. According to a 2017 study by Hinge, cited by Vox, travel photos tend to receive 30% more likes than the average photo. Another study from Match Group, the company that owns Tinder, found that 62% of men and 74% of women want a partner who shares their travel interests.
As such, it stands to reason that there might be room among the Tinders and Bumbles of the world for a dating app tailored specifically to travelers. Enter OfftheGrid.
The newly launched travel app aims to bring, according to TechCrunch, “a Tinder-like experience to the travel market, by having its users swipe and chat with like-minded travelers while also discovering unique places to visit.” In short, OfftheGrid allows users a way to share trip details and travel photos, and, thanks to the “Discover” tab, vote on said photos by swiping left or right a la Tinder (even the interface resembles the dating app a bit), as well as meet other travelers.
The idea, according to 25-year-old creator Ethan Serbantes, is to make it easier for solo travelers to meet people, which is, in theory, a good idea. But, as a female traveler, I’d be remiss not to point out the obvious, which is that there is an inherent safety risk associated with all dating apps. Is the person on the other end of the phone who they purport to be? Are they well intentioned? These are questions most people ask themselves ahead of meeting a match on their own turf. Being a solo traveler on top of that introduces a whole new set of risks.
It’s apparently a factor Serbantes has given some thought to as OfftheGrid verifies users using their email, phone number and Facebook account — but at this stage, there is no background check system currently in place, a precaution Match Group began implementing earlier this year. So, the onus still falls largely on the user.
The good news is that there’s a limit on how many people users can message per day. According to TechCrunch, after chatting with three individuals, the traveler has to use coins to chat with anyone else, which I have to believe will weed out at least some of the predators.
That said, I can see it being a good resource for authentic travel inspo and for chatting with like-minded people — even if you don’t intend to meet up IRL. It’s currently live on the app store, so you’re free to decide for yourself.
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