Travel Companions section

Anyone thought about implementing a section that helps members find other members to travel with?
This idea comes from the fact that many popular discussion groups in CS were flooded with posts in which members were writing about their planned trip and thought would be nice to travel with a like-minded CSer.
Why not making a section that helps people exactly with this: find a travel companion for their trip?

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Excellent idea! I’ve always had to go to facebook for this and constantly make and read posts which is annoying.

I think it would be good to have a feature which is the mix of the public trip function (where people generally advertise where they’re going) and what happens on Facebook groups (where people are more likely to prioritise advertising themselves as companions).

Hi @anon46748786, this forum is for the sharing of ideas and voicing of opinion. Mine is not speaking louder than anyone else’s. Within the volunteer team there are many differing opinions on what things are important to consider, and I have also publicly disagreed with many of them on this forum. We want discussion and different viewpoints!! EVERYONE is encouraged to add what they feel whilst respectfully taking into account the views of others. I just wanted to reinstate @kellyt’s point as I agree with it :slight_smile: Btw I’ve edited my above point in case it wasn’t clear that I meant combining the style of post that happens on Facebook (for the internal Companions feature) rather than actually using Facebook.

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I think it would be cool also to have a place where you can find companions or people to hitchhike with especially. You used to be able to find people that way on CS when groups were more active and central to the site’s function.

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You’ve misconstrued this. Rest assured, we are not going to force anyone to integrate with a third-party service to use the core features. This does not mean we won’t use some Facebook’s API, no one ever claimed that we wouldn’t; for instance, we plan to support sign-in with Facebook as an alternative to sign-in using an email address.

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This sounds like along the vein of public trips! I met up with a few people using the public trip function. Maybe as an add-on to the original feature, we can add a button/badge that says “Looking for travel companion”?

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I was going to say something like this. Maybe when creating a public trip you can select what you are looking for: host, meet people, travel companion (you can select one or the 3), and then that list can be easily filtered or searchable. I think it’s a good approach, because when you are traveling you may want the 3 things and having to repost your trip to another section, maybe in several cities is not very user friendly, and will make the devs work simpler. :slight_smile:

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It’s nice idea in theory but in real life someone can turn out to be a total nightmare when you have to travel with them. Especially when sharing a car with someone else. I can even think of a time where I thought I was going to die in a car crash because the Couchsurfer I drove with was driving at such high speeds on a motorway when it was pouring down with rain and he was busy asking the girl in the seat behind him to give him a massage whilst he’s driving like a crazy person.

Let me guess… Turkey? :stuck_out_tongue:
Just kidding, but can confirm that some people are really terrible travel companions and compatibility would be hard to measure. I think if it was framed like meet up and discuss the plan before you decide to start traveling together it would work. A lot of backpackers seem to have success finding travel partners on groups on FB and there’s nothing for reference there.

Great idea! With these 3 options one that creates a public trip clarifies what answers they’re expecting to receive and from which people. But why select only 1 out of 3? One could even want 2 or even all 3!

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I have used CS groups, both in Africa and Iceland, for this purpose and it worked out quite well. The only problem I had was that when CS implemented the mobile app, it did not include the groups feature. Nonetheless, I kept using it, though with a lot of work and very cumbersome, by accessing Cs in the mobile browser.

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In addition to being able to request to surf with or host someone, perhaps we could offer a 3rd option:

Travel buddy Request

If someone creates a public trip they could indicate they are open (or not open) to travel buddies (and how many). If someone indicates they are open to having one or more travel buddies, then someone could send a request (just like a host or surf request) asking to become travel buddies for this trip. If they agree, they can “link” profiles for that time period as I described in this thread.

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Thank You @Marlies for your contribution. Personally I used this feature on CS several times and noticed that this works mostly for finding locals in those specific places to meet upon arrival. All the time I used this feature, this feature proved totally ineffective in finding travel companions. To sum up: based on my personal experience this is a great feature that will allow members to find people to meet in the places they are going but is a totally useless feature when it comes to finding people to travel together with.

Thank You @Emily for your contribution. The way I imagine(d) this Travel Companions section in my mind is that it has to be effective for all types of travel styles, it should be built in a way that is effective, that concretely works, for all people who have a passion for traveling no matter their travel style. There are people who hitchhike - as You said and as I do - there are people who travel only by train, others only by bike, others by their own car, others by airplane, some prefer to have short breaks from work of just two-three days known as city-breaks, others prefer long trips of one, two or more months or year(s), to some people traveling means volunteering in exchange of food and accommodation, to others it means laying on the beach all day long without doing anything else, to others again it means doing an adventurous, tiring and challenging activity, and God/Allah/Budha/Tree call it as You want knows how many other travel styles there are. What I want to say is that such a section must be built in a way that is effective at allowing people to find other people to travel together with for at least the majority of the travel styles.

Thank You @Kellyt, @Aleja, @Archer, @Emily and @Jesse for your contribution. Relating this to CS, as was/is on CS, making a public trip implies that one has already decided and planned the trip that wants to do. This kinda leaves any potential person who sees it with two options: take it or leave it (join or ignore). I have traveled alone and I have traveled with people; as everybody knows here, also here on Couchers there is a proof that I traveled with other people - I and @womxn traveled together (read the story published at https://community.couchers.org/t/couchers-org-success-stories/531?u=adr1an ). I know what I am talking about. Based on personal experience I can say with certainty that traveling with another person is not an experience that fits into a “Take it or leave it” type of category. Based on personal experience I can say that traveling with someone is more a type of experience that requires mutual understanding, cooperation, sacrifice and compromise, so it fits into a more complex category than just “take it or leave it”. If one wants to travel with someone else but approaches with a mentality like “if you like it like i do it okay, otherwise bye bye” then at this point this person would do a big favor to himself/herself by choosing to travel alone. Because of this, a travel companion section, at least based on my personal experience, is more effective when allows people to get in touch to see if they connect, and then plan together. So with this purpose is way more effective building it in a way that allows members to mention about their trip whatever they want, as much or little detail as they want, without following a predefined scheme that allows members to put only certain details and then that’s it. A section that is built to offer user flexibility will prove to be more effective at doing its job than a section built to offer strict and rigid well defined steps.

Here below is my idea of type of solution that can prove effective from my perspective. To me, a top flexible interface that is effective at this purpose is again (as mentioned in other posts) a keyword based user created database. Make the travel companion section be nothing else but a database of published ads of trips that members can browse and publish as they please. So, initially the user is presented with something like this where is possible to write as many details about the trip as one wants.

The trip ad when is published gets stored into a database which displays them as a list. When a member wants to publish a trip or simply browse profiles of potential travel companions, goes to the Travel Companion section which displays all the ads as a list which by default sorts them in order by their publishing time in descending order (the newest at the top on the first page). Here are two examples of trip ads.

Then to look for potential travel companions the member is presented with a search feature in which keywords must be typed in order for the search engine to display those ads that have that specific keyword included in their description. Something like this:
search

In the trip of Adr1an relevant keywords are “adventure”, “antarctica”, “airplane”, while in the trip of WhiteSwan the relevant keywords are “australia”, “airplane”. The ad trip of Adr1an is quite absurd but is okay as example, so when a member types “antarctica” or “adventure” as keyword to search for companions, then the companion ad of Adr1an should be listed.

When a member types for example, “australia” the companion ad of WhiteSwan should be listed.

When a member types “airplane” as keyword then both travel companions ads should be listed.

These are just examples to allow You to understand how the system should function. There is no purpose to include a “Send message” button next to the member’s photo on the search engine result page as is natural to want to see the member’s profile before deciding to contact or not.

This is my idea. If You have a better one feel free to suggest it.

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