I've been married for 18 years and missed the opportunity to use Internet dating services. From the sidelines, I am a big believer in the value of services that can match people's interests and affinities potentially leading towards meaningful relationships.
We need another service that essentially does the same thing for traveling families.Each year, we plan one or two vacations. Some are local-ish, driving vacations. Some involve flying. Historically, we have tried to go out of the country once and then maybe to the beach or a lake. Clearly, this year, we will be staying more local.
My kids are 11 and 14. We like to do certain things - as Popeye said, "I ams what I ams." or "we ares what we ares." When we take a week to go to the Outer Banks, let's say, how can we connect with a couple of families that we have enough affinity for who will be on the OBX at the same time? Or if we visit my dad on the Redneck Riviera, how do we find that family that wouldn't laugh at our Takoma Park values from the front seat of their Esplanade? We don't want to share a house so much as share a few experiences and most importantly, connect our kids with new friends and pals.
I realize that many families do group vacations - sharing houses and the full travel experience. We are quite a bit more independent than that. Our travel opportunities are precious and the excercise of matching affinities, budget, and vacation time with a neighbor or local friend is too daunting. Plus, I love meeting new people, and I want my kids to meet new people to.
Family Travel Matching
It's simple really. Let's take the best of affinity matching - we like science fiction movies, swimming both at the beach and in a pool, weird local activities (next time in LA, I want to visit the Museum of Death - probably not with 11, though.)
And combine it with travel destination and timing: e.g. we will be in Assateague in the 3rd week of August
Our children's ages and interests
Some budget & taste information: we don't want to eat at McD's, abhor expensive brunches but kinda dig things like the Kill Devil Grill...
and some ideas of what we would consider fun...
We should be able ot find folks both traveling and native to our destination who also want to meet new people for some low-commitment diversions. The New York Times Travel section featured a service today that starts to get there: Tripsay.com.
the new service seems more about aggregating traveler reviews and then allowing you to join groups - but it's a very high-level affinity like "passion on cultural nightlife" or "hiking." It's not family oriented and I am guessing matches more young people.
"What's your passion regarding travel? Join TripSay and create a group with others sharing that passion! TripSay groups are made up of people who share common interests or activities.
Build your traveler network using groups. You can share tips and places with your network and as the result you'll get their recommendations for your next trip!"
Time to start a Family travel matching Service. We could call it, FamilyPosse.com.
(thanks to Creativepro.com for the station wagon pic)