There are lots of services these days all designed to help plan that next trip, from accommodations to transportation and sightseeing. Yet, what are your options when it comes to finding a travel buddy? Well there’s Stitch for folks over 50 looking for people to explore the world with.
Not a traditional travel service
Stitch got its start with Dowling’s prior company which provided tablets to the residents of retirement homes. The goal of supplying this technology was to allow elders to be able to connect with their family in order to stave off isolation. What they learned however, is that the residents of such facilities were having trouble making friends even on the grounds. They saw the potential to create a service which would connect these individuals to other people their age.
This leads back to the present, where it must be noted that Stitch is not a traditional travel service. While finding like minded travelers is certainly a key aspect of Stitch, its scope is actually much larger. The main goal of Stitch is described as companionship, and while to many that might conjure an image similar to that of a dating service, it is far different.
Dowling painted a picture of how the site is used and what its members are looking for. “You see, [our users] might not even be looking for romance, they might have just moved into a town and might have things they want to do with their lives, but they don’t have anyone to do them with. So that spectrum of companionship is quite broad, but the pattern is that they need people to do stuff with, which is why travel is an aspect of Stitch.”
While it can be hard for the average person to find the time in their busy lives to go away on an adventure halfway across the world, those who fall in the retirement age bracket generally have a better time of it. With plenty of spare time and a history of hard work behind them, what better than to finally get around to all of those once planned trips? This realization required the good people at Stitch to develop out the travel side of their offering, setting up special deals and promotions.
“Normally a lot of trips have something called a ‘single supplement,’” Dowling says. “This means that often cruises and the like will charge you more for traveling on your own. When we organize trips, such as our trip to Cuba last year as an example, our members are able to communicate and sign up together to save money. Not everyone does it, but that is one of the benefits of being a member.”
Stitch works wth partners to get special deals on the trips that they offer. These trips can range from cruises, domestic get togethers, or even international trips to places such as Tuscany. According to Dowling, when members connect and travel on these official outings many times they will set up future plans which are community organized and managed.
Of course, security is always a concern when it comes to these types of social platforms. “We require all of our members to verify themselves by showing proof of ID. This allows us to strictly enforce our 50 or older policy. Users also gain levels of ‘trust’ as they interact with the community and attend events. We have badges to show off what a member has done.”
When asked if they would consider doing a similar site aimed at a younger crowd, Dowling suggested that the reason why Stitch has been so successful is because of it’s age requirements. “I’m not sure it’s needed for the younger crowd, when you’re younger you are constantly stumbling across opportunities to meet people.”
Even then, some of the tips Dowling shared, such as seeking group discount deals on travel packages, can be used by anyone regardless of age. Still, retirement sounds pretty good about now right? Anyone fitting the age requirements who loves to travel should definitely give Stitch a try.