Ideas and Validation February 8, 2020

Solo Travel Site/App

Eric Turner @CodeOfTheProgrammer

I've taken a couple of vacations by myself that I really enjoyed (a trip to Barcelona, skiing/Sundance Film Festival in Utah, a road trip through the southeast of the United States). I'm inspired by the fact that the /r/solotravel subreddit has over 800k subscribers and is growing by around 20k subscribers per month! If you search Instagram for #solotravel you get over 5.5 million results. There tons of articles, blogs, and books about solo travel. Travel is a gigantic industry with room for a lot of players.

Looking through the posts on /r/solotravel, they seem to fall into a few main categories: seeking advice, looking for ways to work while traveling, and looking for people to hang out with while traveling.

I'm seriously considering building a site/app that's helps solo travelers find other solo travelers to hang out with, has a forum, and aggregates content (articles, blog posts, social media posts). Basically everything solo travelers might want.

There are a lot of possibilities, but initially I think a web site and mobile app with features to help solo travelers find other solo travelers to hang out with, and content aggregation from around the web to drive traffic to the site/app would be the top priorities.

As far as monetizing it, maybe use a Pay-What-You-Want model and show travel-related ads to users who are using the site for free?

Questions:

  • What do you think of this idea?
  • Any suggestions for narrowing focus ?
  • How would you monetize it?
  • How would you market it?

I'm just about done with a landing page for gathering email addresses for people interested in it. Should have that up this weekend!

Edit: The landing page is up! https://solotravelbunch.com

Thanks,
Eric

  1. 4

    This is pretty cool. It's somewhat like Nomad List but that's more geared towards digital nomads. I like the concept. I think you have something that could work here. You'll have to figure out the monetization strategy though.

    1. 2

      Yes, @levelsio is really doing an amazing job with Nomad List!

    2. 2

      Also good idea. Build a nomadlist for solo travel.

  2. 3

    Have you used couchsurfing? I think there's a lot that can be improved about that app and experience... But it's the go-to for solo travelers, whether we're looking for a place to crash or not. I 100% believe that a FAR better version of the Hangouts feature could be built... But building a better Facebook will never work.

    So, I love the idea. And think it would do incredibly well once off the ground. I just don't know how you get it off the ground.

    1. 1

      Thanks! I have not used couchsurfing. I'll check it out.

      One interesting thing i found is that about 60% of solo travelers are age 55 or older. That could be a good niche to focus on... not sure how many of those are using couchsurfing. ;) It might be an under-served community.

      https://solotravelerworld.com/about/solo-travel-statistics-data/

      1. 2

        VERY good point that I hadn't even thought of! Yeah, couchsurfing is a bit overwhelming to get started with. Especially if you don't want to use the couch part of the service!

        I think you're into something with the 55+ crowd. Though honestly 40+ might be enough to get you out of couchsurfing range.

        Would love to chat more or help out in any way if you'd like feedback or bounce ideas or whatever. I'm a full-stack dev who travels 5 months every year, so I think I sort of have an ability to see this from both sides.

        1. 2

          @heylorenzut would love your feedback on my travel app https://planmoretrips.com

          1. 2

            I really dig this and think it solves a real problem! My GF and I have so many different email threads back and forth, and a couple different Google docs to boot, that we made when planning our current trip. Your solution would have been so much better!

            1. 1

              Thanks for the kind words. If you have any feedback, bugs or features that could make it better. I am all ears.

  3. 2

    What do you think of this idea?

    Great idea. I'd travel more if I had a community that was focused on solo travel. This is my situation for reference:

    1. I am 21 year old software developer in Devon. My friends 'from home' are in Preston (300 miles away), the town I left when I was 18. These friends don't have any money to travel as they are at university.

    2. My friends that I know in Devon I mostly know through work - we get on but most are older than me and all have different life situations etc. So who do I travel with?

    Any suggestions for narrowing focus ?

    Make it for people who work in tech, more than solo travel specifically. I'd imagine that the situation I'm in is pretty common for most young devs (lifelong friends do not have budget/schedule I do, basically).

    How would you monetize it?

    My eyeballs are pretty valuable imo - the travel industry would love all that disposable income, and the tech theme makes your audience more homogeneous and therefore more valuable. I'm not talking banner ads, I'm talking offers for members, sponsored blog posts etc. Especially travel startups.

    How would you market it?

    ?? not my area of expertise. Pay some digital nomad 'influencers' to promote it (similar to 'Raid: Shadow Legends'). Would need some budget though.

    1. 1

      Thanks for the feedback!

  4. 2

    Would definitely use it, if you have experienced a hostel recreating that environment as much as you can online would be nice.

    1. 1

      Thanks! I've never stayed in a hostel, but I'll look into it. What are some things you like about the hostel environment?

      1. 1

        It's hard to explain. Maybe take a trip and experience it when you get the chance. Use an app like hostelworld

  5. 2

    Something that is needed: Solo woman travel partner app. Make sure to confirm each user...

      1. 1

        Oh and make it free please, monetize later or through ads, my mom would def love this service!

  6. 2

    Hey Eric, good to see you're working in the same space(travel) as us - it's a tough sector to crack. :( However, I think there is an opportunity in the niche of solo female travel - something like a slack board where females can reach out and connect each other. You could charge a yearly fee - to verify members. Happy to discuss further on a call/email or here :)

    1. 1

      Thank you Shay.

  7. 2

    This is a tough niche. Many people have tried something like this before. With Tinder, MeetUp, Facebook, etc, it's hard to get enough people on the app to make it work. Couchsurfing also has a feature like this and not so many people use it and they have millions of users. If this is the niche you want to focus on, I'd first start a blog focused on solotravel with tips and advice and build a community first, then build an app. Or you use MeetUp/Facebook and host a solo travel event and see if you can get people to show up in your community. Try and get some sort of MVP before really digging into this because it is super hard niche.

    1. 1