Every travel destination has its fans – people that say, “You should go!” What if the person that says you should go just loves to sit in a pool and drink all day? (not that that’s a bad thing!)
But, let’s say it’s not your thing. Where can you find travel recommendations from people like you? Sure you could ask your friends, yet their travel experiences will be somewhat limited. What about having a site that matches your travel tastes with other people with similar interests?
That’s the niche the Finland-based TripSay is going after. I’d say they’re doing a pretty darn good job of it. I found this site using StumbleUpon, since I seldom travel or look at travel sites. The design intrigued me. It’s clean, kind of Web 2.0 with nice controls and a super intuitive interface. So, I started to play with it.
On the left-hand side of the screen, you’ll see the icons above. Pretty self-explanatory aren’t they? Although I don’t know why an orange heart is better than a pink one. Wouldn’t red be more obvious? At first I didn’t know what the Dislike button was supposed to be. Was it a blue boob or a blue bum? A blue bum made more sense, since one of the places I put the symbol on smells like bum. Yes, I just put that in an article. Journalism at its finest, folks.
In case you were wondering, it was Toronto. Let the flames begin! The cloud with the snore Z’ds are for the places you dream of going to.
TripSay wants you to tag at least 5 places before continuing. Now, keep in mind, you do this even before you sign up. That’s smart. It gets you to use the site completely risk free – you don’t even need to give them your e-mail address. That earned a degree of trust from me right away.
After that, you just click on the Proceed button to see your results:
I found what it returned to me to be a bit surprising! These weren’t places that I normally would have considered going, or even looked up. However, once I read the travel recommendations and reviews and the travel profiles of the people that TripSay said were similar to me, I started to really get into it all! Here’s the number one travel recommendation that it had for me:
I don’t know how to pronounce it, but it sounded cool. At first, when I saw a graveyard, I thought this must be some sort of morose joke. But the more I looked into Oaxaca, the more I realized how rich in culture and history it is. It’s not the super-resort of other Mexican places like Puerto Vallarta or the overcrowded metropolises that I despise like Mexico City.
At this point, I signed up for the free membership to the site. For the next few hours I played with it more and added more places I’ve liked, disliked or dreamed of going to. I found that there is a Groups section to the site. Within these groups, you’ll find people with similar life interests to you. From there, you can view their travel recommendations and get an idea of even more places to visit. I like the fact that there is a group for people that travel with children. That often makes things a bit more…interesting when travelling.
Once you set up a profile of yourself, you can add specific interests to your profile to get even more accurate results. For me it was things like relaxing, history, culture, arts, reading, etc. The auto-suggest feature does come up with some funny results as you start typing though. I started putting history in but I misspelled it as histr. Here’s what it suggested:
I really should have chosen histrionic personality disorder to see what would be recommended. Probably Bellevue Hospital. On second thought, it does look pretty cool.
The Me as a traveller control is a great idea too. Just a simple slider control to find where your balance is on some aspects of travelling. Even as someone who loves history and would love to travel Europe for 6 months or so, I do have a fairly tight budget. I’m also not multilingual. I’m more sesquilingual – one and half languages. French being the half. Oddly enough, I can pick out conversational themes in most Romantic languages as well as German. As long as they are speaking slow enough. Travel sports like waterskiing and such aren’t my thing either. I’m more of a museum guy.
You can always continue on adding places that you’ve been to and liked, or disliked. Since TripSay utilizes Google Maps, you can zoom right down to pretty much street level. At this point, you can even recommend a particular restaurant or attraction.
Here’s the zoom-in on Vancouver B.C., Canada with my favourited places. We weren’t there for more than a day, but I’d highly recommend it as a destination for anyone, not just museumnistas like me.
Add to this whole mix the fact that there is no advertising, or trying to get you to book trips through them, the experience is an excellent one. I guarantee that this site will go into heavy rotation on my bookmarks.
Do you have any expereinces with TripSay that you’d like to share? Just got some great travel recommendations? We’d love to read them in the comments below!
Image Credit: Kerry Vaughan
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