I’ve always loved packing my bags and jumping on a plane, train or tuk tuk on a whim, but I’ll admit, there are certain destinations I have put on the back burner for one reason or another. Perhaps they’re not particularly safe to visit as a solo, female traveller or they may have been places that I wanted to experience with someone, to share the awe with. This is why GoPal piqued my interest.
GoPal is essentially Tinder for travellers. The website’s algorithm matches like-minded travellers using criteria such as gender, age, travel style and destinations you’re interested in visiting. It’s free and open to everyone, everywhere. And it’s not just for singles. You can meet up with other couples or groups as well.
After I signed up, I was keen to get ‘swiping’ straight away. My first endeavour to find a travel buddy did not fill me with confidence. I discovered a dread-locked guitarist from Toronto, a middle-aged Melbournian with a ‘can I speak to the manager’ haircut, a set of 40-something twins from the UK and wanna-be Instagram model from the Netherlands. I filtered my results. These results looked far more promising.
Applying my usual Tinder approach, I say “f*ck it” and sent out a few messages to some seemingly adventurous, non-creepy looking travellers. I got a message back from a girl named Becky in the UK. She’ll be in Sri Lanka towards the end of June. We shatted about the places we really wanted to see and agreed that hiking Adam’s Peak was essential. We have plans to catch up in Nallathanniya and do the trek together.
While the primary aim of the site is to connect people with their ultimate travel buddy, it also helps travellers evade the single supplement. When you’re travelling on a budget, being able to split the cost of s hotel room, taxi ride or airport transfer could mean the difference between staying away for a few weeks vs a few months.
Another way GoPal helps you save money? Members get exclusive discounts from brands such as Expedia, WebJet, G Adventures, Contiki, Emirates, P&O and more. GoPal also donates 1% of all travel bookings to certified environmental organisations.
GoPal launched in December 2018 but already has a wide network of sign-ups from twenty-something backpackers and to over 50’s cruise lovers. If backpacking solo is too daunting and group tours aren’t your thing, GoPal could be you saving grace.
If you want to try it out, you can sign up for GoPal here.