Mate to Order

The incredible phenomenon called the World Wide Web – Aladdin’s Lamp wasn’t a fable after all – has spawned a new subculture of made-to-measure travel companions who seek each out at the click of a mouse. Shilpi Madan spotlights the brave new trend that empowers travellers to choose their vacation mates

Balls figure largely in your hubby’s travel itinerary. Golf balls. You mention trekking but he plugs his ears. Fine, you’re not Ulysses, but you do have a sense of adventure – something that transcends retail gymnastics in crowded malls. And sure, you love your ma-in-law but you would rather play midwife to the neighbour’s cat than vacation with her. Since this is not a good idea, you slot a visit to some prized vineyards with your buddy. But she mockingly sports a colander on her head in response. Feeling weighed down by travel angst? Despair not. Explore the web to link up with your perfect holiday mate.

“I think the concept of finding a travel companion though the internet is fabulous,” says 32-year-old Shernaz Batliwalla, an expatriate who shuttles between India and Dubai and runs a garment business. “I had a wonderful vacation in Goa recently with a likeminded friend I discovered through a website. I was able to connect with someone who was game for paragliding, loved seafood and was cool with simply chilling out on the beach. We split the bills, so money wasn’t an issue. It was the satisfaction of doing stuff I enjoy with someone who enjoyed it equally.” The trend of taking holidays and doing activities with web-picked travel mates is taking off. It halves the costs involved, offers company and helps you make new friends.

Shilpi Madan for Verve
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