CouchSurfing.com, the popular travel network which allows its members to offer up their couch to fellow travelers as free accommodation, could have some major competition in its future.
Travel community TripUp has recently developed a Facebook application that mimics the Couch Surfing project. Members who have added the application to their Facebook profile can list their own couch as a home for fellow travelers, as well as browse a map of other members who are offering up a couch.
The biggest advantage of this is being able to tap into Facebook’s huge worldwide network — a reported 30-million users. The Couch Surfing project has over 270,000 members according to TechCrunch.
But will TripUp’s Facebook application take off? It takes a certain personality to open up your home and couch to passing strangers — something the Facebook crowd, in general, won’t necessarily be willing to do. The Couch Surfing project is well-established and robust, while TripUp’s is severely lacking in important features such as a verification and rating system.
I’ll stick with CouchSurfing.
TripUp is a social network site that promises to connect travelers from all over the world. Claiming they were dissatisfied with “out-of-date and out-of-touch guide books” that led them to dead-end destinations, the creators of TripUp designed a site where travelers can solicit advice from both locals and fellow travelers (a.k.a., Trip Gurus). Moreover, the site allows travelers to meet up en route.
In theory, the idea sounds cool — who wouldn’t like to connect with experts and glean some “insider tips” prior to visiting a city? — but in practice, the site has a vague Match.com meets MySpace-y feel, wherein people are posting pictures of themselves drinking at clubs; leaving general descriptions like, “Single and interested in meeting men“; and providing very little input.
However, if you’re willing to sift through the personal ads, then you can find some people who’ve really added to the community — like Emily, who’s posted 79 reviews, 15 videos, 196 photos, and responded to 21 forums. Sorry, guys, she’s taken.