OfftheGrid, a new Tinder-like travel app that helps travelers meet and discover destinations • TechCrunch


The new app launching today is called OfftheGrid: aims to bring a Tinder-like experience to the travel market, getting its users to swipe and chat with like-minded travelers while discovering unique places to visit. The app allows users to share photos and videos of their travels, post about an upcoming trip, arrange meetings with others, and learn about new travel destinations.

Most notable is a Tinder-like feature in the Discover tab that lets users vote on photos of people around the world by swiping left or right, like you would on matches.

After catching the travel bug, 25-year-old Ethan Cervantes founded the startup to create a social platform where travelers can connect and easily find new experiences.

Social media is changing the way we travel, and millennials and wanderlust-weary Gen Zers often turn to Instagram for inspiration. Tourist company Arrivia surveyed more than 2,000 Americans between December 2021 and January 2022 and found that 60% of Gen Zers and 40% of millennials use social media for vacation ideas, for example.

However, browsing the Internet for directions can be time-consuming, the founder noted. While Instagram was where everyone was sharing vacation spots, Cerbantes said the places he toured on the platform didn’t have enough information for people who actually wanted to travel there. It also doesn’t help that you have to scroll past selfies and other posts unrelated to the area.

Based on his own travel experience, Cerbantes also realized that it is difficult to meet new people as a solo traveler. Travel booking platform Smart found that 49% of respondents are nervous about traveling alone because they don’t want to be alone in a foreign place.

With a team of six, Cerbantes designed OfftheGrid to “address the fragmented process of travel planning and the challenges of solo travelers,” Cerbantes told TechCrunch.

OfftheGrid aims to be a platform for travelers to connect with each other and share their experiences. Users can post their photos and videos on the app’s home page and see posts from travelers they follow.

Travel, another social networking app designed for travelers, works the same way. However, OfftheGrid has a swipe feature, where users swipe left or right on a person’s post, whether it’s a photo of a beach, a mountain, or perhaps a beautiful park. Users can like, comment and favorite a photo for later viewing using the bookmark icon.

But there is a catch. When a user sees a photo of a place of interest, they must have 10 in-app coins to reveal the information. For each swipe they get one coin. After unlocking, there will be a description and a map where you can see where the destination is in the world.

There are also options to watch video ads to earn coins for free or buy coins. Users can pay $0.99 for 100 coins, $1.99 for 300 coins, and $4.99 for 600 coins.

Image credits: OfftheGrid:

The app’s Trips tab, meanwhile, allows users to meet other travelers. People post where they’re traveling and how long they’ll be there, and then others contact them for advice or to set up a meeting. There is a daily limit on how many people you can message. After talking to three individuals, the traveler must use a coin again to talk to additional people.

Image credits: OfftheGrid:

Of course, it’s important that travelers stay safe when traveling to foreign locations. While socializing with new people can be fun, you should also be wary of meeting strangers.

“Security is our top priority,” Cerbantes said.

For starters, the app allows users to verify their email, phone number, and Facebook account. At launch, OfftheGrid doesn’t have a system to verify profile photos, but Cervantes said the startup is working on implementing a photo authentication API. OfftheGrid also plans to launch a blue badge system for verified profiles.

However, as dating apps have shown, users actually need background checks, which is why Match Group started integrating this year’s version into its apps, Like Tinder, after horrific stories of abuse, stalking and attacks began to surface from its users. OfftheGrid does not include such a feature, so travelers should be careful who they chat with and choose to meet.

OfftheGrid also has an Explore tab, a discovery tool to interact with a map of the app’s most liked and trending content. There is a search option if users want to jump to a specific location and filters such as “Wildlife,” “Parks/Trails,” “Shopping,” “Museums/Galleries,” and “Food.”

Image credits: OfftheGrid:

OfftheGrid is a bootstrapped startupwhich means that the company is self-financed and does not rely on investors and external sources.

Cerbantes said the company has many plans for this app. This includes a subscription model that allows subscribers to open photos and connect with as many people as they want. An organizer feature is also in the works, allowing users to plan a route based on the photos they like in the app.

Another feature being rolled out in the app is a Locals section in the Trips tab so users can find people to connect with in the area.

Cerbantes mentioned that OfftheGrid will hold monthly photo contests in the future. The photo with the most likes will win the one accurately geotagged. The details of what the prizes are are still to be determined.

The travel app can be downloaded App Store: and: Google Play Store and is recommended for users 18 years and older.



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