Looking for a date for your next travel adventure? Fairytrail might be the app for you
As someone who perused - nay - heavily scanned the Bay Area’s most popular dating websites and apps for almost 5 years before meeting my boyfriend, I am no stranger to how difficult it can be to make a connection with someone in the modern world of dating. So it was a breath of fresh air when I met Taige Zhang, co-founder of the new dating app Fairytrail, which matches single people for exciting adventures all over the world. His approach to the dating app is different from any I’ve ever seen before, and gets the ball rolling for you and a potential match, in ways that OkCupid and Tinder could never.
Before we get into what Fairytrail does, let’s think about some of the most dreadful factors to online dating. Narrowing people down to those you’re attracted to and have the same interests and intentions as, just to have your messages be ignored by most of them can be exhausting, discouraging and even downright depressing. I remember that I found it extremely difficult to find men I was interested in, and I was living in a city of over 800,000 people! You’d think that in a city that big, I’d have decent odds. But that was not the case. Apps like Tinder and Bumble don’t exactly encourage a culture of getting to know another person through conversation about common interests. Trying to sift through the bot accounts and eggplant emoji messages for a decent response is dreadful. And once you finally receive a message from someone you like, you must then spend time sifting through LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram to make sure they not only exist - but are really the one you’re talking to. And even if light messaging over the app and scanning their social media platforms all goes well, you still have no idea whether or not you’ll get along the person when you meet up.
All of this apprehension and anticipation then many times leads you to planning very generic or limited first dates with the person, so that just in case you have nothing in common or can barely keep a ten minute conversation going, you only waste money and time on one cup of coffee, or one bottle of beer. And in the event that all goes well and you’re having a blast talking in person, you’re still stuck on one of the most limiting and generic dates one could think of.
Why is it that every time single people are on a first date having a riveting conversation, they are sitting at a noisy dive bar trying to yell at each other over Warrant’s “Cherry Pie,” or stuffed in a Starbucks surrounded by people eavesdropping on our conversations while working on their screenplays? And yet whenever they’re doing something exciting or romantic like ziplining in Costa Rica, learning to make bread in Paris or gazing at the clouds rolling over the Golden Gate Bridge, they’re stuck wishing they had someone to share it with? And even if you did meet someone you liked on Tinder or Bumble, you couldn’t just ask them to travel with you or go on an exciting adventure a few dates in. Those apps encourage a culture of keeping everyone at arm’s length for as long as possible.
And despite what every Mary-Kate and Ashley movie promised us as children, it’s not easy to meet someone you really like while traveling. Even if you change your Tinder location in an attempt to contact locals ahead of time, statistics show that only 20% of those interested in you will actually be willing to wait to meet you, or be interested in talking to someone who is only there temporarily. Which is frustrating because this generation takes their wanderlust very seriously. More and more people travel for leisure and work than ever before, and the number of people opting for remote work to accommodate their travel schedule is only increasing.
You’d think that in this world of self-driving cars and filters that show you what you would look like in 60 years if you avoided moisturizer, that the world of online dating would have evolved more to match the modern-day lifestyle.
Luckily, Zhang has decided to tackle these issues head-on with Fairytrail. Fairytrail realizes the gripes of online dating, and proposes a more personalized dating app experience, that helps you find someone you have a connection with, and plan an unforgettable experience with them. Let’s now get into some of the questions I know have popped into your head while reading this.
WHAT INSPIRED FAIRYTRAIL?
Zhang’s guiding principle behind Fairytrail was his philosophy that people should do more of what is meaningful to them. And being that travel and exploration is so important to this generation - with the trends of constantly relocating, traveling and working remote becoming more popular than ever, - he wanted to create an app that accommodated that market and helped them meet fellow travelers, people from varying cultures and backgrounds, and those they could make a real connection with past DM-ing and talking over coffee.
How does it work?
The Fairytrail app matches you with other travelers who are hoping to make a connection. Once you match with someone, you are each presented with a list of fun group activities and tours that range from camelbacking through Marrakech, to snorkeling in Bali. Then you each select the ones you’d be interested in. If you match on any of the trips, you gain access to video chat with each other. And if there’s chemistry, you have the option of booking the trip together! The video chat feature helps to eliminate the risk of getting catfished or meeting up with someone you don’t enjoy talking to. It also eliminates the experience of standing outside of a bar asking strangers if they’re BayAreaBoy89, or discovering your date sent you photos of themselves from 5 years ago.
And no worries if a trip is not convenient for your budget or schedule at the moment. The app does not require you to go on the trips to see each other. Rather, it gives you an exciting opportunity to have an unforgettable experience with the other person, that beats any coffee date by a long shot.
What are the logistics of planning the trip?
Trips are booked through a Fairytrail booking agent, and set up through trusted sites Airbnb Adventures or Viator. You have the option to choose pre-planned trips that range from 2-3 days. And all Fairytrail trips are done in groups of 4-20 people (including non-Fairytrail guests) with a tour leader present and the Fairytrail support hotline available. Combine this with the added bonus of getting to speak with your match over video chat before meeting, and you can rest a lot easier knowing you’re in a safer and more secure situation than meeting someone in a bar while on vacation.
How much does it cost?
The Fairytrail app and its matchmaking elements are free to use. If you choose to go on one of the group adventures, you just pay for your portion of the trip. Some trips cost as little as $99. Trips are booked through flat-rate $15 refundable deposits. And as someone who lives in the San Francisco, I can tell you that when you consider the cost of Ubers to and from your date, plus drinks, dinner, and any rogue SF surcharges to your bills, you’ve pretty much racked up around $114 per person just to have a typical date in the city. If you love traveling, why not stretch your hard-earned money and have a more exciting and unique experience?
How do I get started?
Getting started on Fairytrail is just like getting started on any other dating app. You download the app, upload photos of yourself, fill out some information and a few blurbs, and start “Liking” or “Passing” on people. By now, I’m sure you can do that in your sleep. But the results and experiences you’ll gain from a Fairytrail are where it can be an enormous step up from any other dating app or site you’ve used.
If you end up planning a trip with a Fairytrail match, mention this blogpost to your booking agent. The first 100 readers of mine to mention it will receive 50% off their first adventure package.
TO SUM IT UP
While I was lucky enough to have met the love of my life through a standard dating app, I had to waste countless nights with dull back and forth messaging, weeding out people who weren’t actually interested in making a connection, and going on the same dates to the same restaurants with the same kinds of people before I actually met my Prince Charming. And while in hindsight the experiences taught me a lot, I really wish I didn’t spend so much time messaging with and meeting up with people that I ended up having no interest in. If you’ve recently been bitten by the wanderlust bug and want to share your next travel experience with someone new, I suggest giving it a try!
Early adopters of the Fairytrail app have noted that they love the idea of traveling with someone new, the security of meeting in group trips, and the opportunity to get to know the other person well through traveling with them. And it’s been beneficial to those who are constantly on the move for work or leisure, as they feel they finally have a dating app that isn’t current location-based or filled with people who are only looking to respond to locals.
Whether you’re savvy to online dating or brand new to it, I want to know what you think about the concept. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below. And if you end up finding an date through Fairytrail, I’d love to hear about your experience. Until we meet again!