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FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS AT LAST A SOCIAL TRAVEL NETWORK THAT DELIVERS
Industry: Technology       

A new online marketplace and social travel network called Friends of Friends Travel (www.foftravel.com) has launched that gives travellers the opportunity to tap into services for free from their friends, and friends of friends, all over the world.

(TRAVPR.COM) UK - May 17th, 2013 - Wouldn't it be great if you could travel around the world and every time you arrived in a place you had not been to before, you could meet up for a coffee with a friendly person you trusted, who could tell you the best places to go, store your luggage for the first 24 hours, and even give you a bed for the night while you sort out accommodation?

A new online marketplace and social travel network called Friends of Friends Travel (www.foftravel.com) has launched that gives travellers the opportunity to tap into services for free from their friends, and friends of friends, all over the world.
 
FOF Travel enables people to exchange travel services such as accommodation (roofs), places to store luggage (lockers), travel tips and advice from a local (guides) or even just a meeting with a friendly, trustworthy local (coffees).
 
The ethos of FOF Travel has been influenced by the growth of what is being called the ‘sharing economy' in recent years, in part a response to the ongoing trend of social media and in part to an economic climate that encourages thriftiness and cost savings. FOF Travel is also tapping into the desire for ‘genuine' travel experiences through the ‘guides' and ‘coffees services' giving travellers the opportunity to see a destination through the eyes of a local.
 
But FOF Travel will appeal to parents of young people too as it will offer them some of piece of mind to know that their youngsters have a network of trustworthy people they can call on in unfamiliar destinations around the globe.
 
"FOF Travel has been built around three key pillars of trust, philanthropy and wanderlust" says Krissa Curran, CEO and founder. "And the idea for the business was born out of the practice that myself and my friends, including co-founder DJ were already well used to; using social media to make contacts with the friends of our own friends, and sharing resources while we were all travelling, to save money and to make it a more fun and enriching experience.
 
"We found we were growing new friendships - which is what social media facilitates - and creating a better, more authentic way of experiencing the world than simply throwing a lot of money at organisations all the time. Don't get me wrong, industry leaders such as STA Travel and World Nomads do have great things to offer - that's why we've partnered with them. However, the fact is, if you're on a really tight budget and just want a safe place to stay, somewhere to leave your stuff, a few pointers on where to go and what to do - you know, the basic things you need when traveling - then who wouldn't be grateful to have a friend, or a friend of a friend, to save the day?"
 
While the new social travel network aims to give its members the tools to satisfy their wanderlust through a tight-knit community that is built on the trust of friends and the desire to share experiences with a personal network, there is no doubt that it is also a pragmatic way to travel, working out both cheaper and safer than travelling completely on your own.
 
People who sign up to the online community will be encouraged to build their global network by inviting friends to join, who will subsequently invite their friends to sign up. So, with in a comparatively short amount of time, the map of the world that appears on every individual user's dashboard will be populated with trustworthy friends and friends of friends all over the world, who will be able to offer their travel services for free.
 
"FOF Travel draws on all the positive attributes of leaders in the social and travel scene. We've learned from the social networking aspect of Facebook, the connectivity of LinkedIn, the wanderlust of Lonely Planet and the hospitality exchange of Couchsurfing. We even visited a few online dating sites for research.
 
"At the end of the day we're here to introduce people to one another and help facilitate a meeting and an exchange of things that people want from each other - in this case, free or cheap travel stuff. We wanted to understand what it takes to create not just a website, but a truly useful service that brings like-minded people together, in a way that hasn't quite been done before." says Krissa.
 
"We know that our offering is attractive for young and social travellers: we are giving them the opportunity to access the most basic of travel necessities - somewhere to stay, somewhere to leave their stuff, travel tips and advice from someone they can trust - and all for free. All welcome prospects when you are away in an unfamiliar country or city."
 
But you don't have to be a prolific or global traveller to benefit. Even if you only travel once a year, or prefer more local or regional travel, you can still offer to share your own knowledge of your home town to friends that are visiting. In return, you can make full use of your ever-expanding network when you do travel and go on your own adventure.
 
FOF Travel will also offer users the chance to join its Premium Members Club at an introductory rate of £12 (usually £19.99). Members of this club will have access to a Deals section with FOF Travel partners. These include: STA Travel, Hostelworld.com, insurance specialist World Nomads, motorhome and car-rental companies Travellers AutoBarn and Escape Campervans, Nomad Travel and their Travel Health Clinic, Busabout hop-on hop-off tours, Visa HQ, my Travel Cash and BucketFeet shoes.
 
Partner STA Travel has welcomed the launch of FOF Travel. Harriet Kerr, head of business development, says: "When FOF Travel first approached us with their concept of free travel between friends and friends of friends, we were very impressed and keen to support this new venture. We wish them every success as this could create a new revolution of travelling."
 
Nick Pound, director of World Nomads, who is also a new partner of FOF Travel, says he is "very excited to have partnered with this new and exciting start-up.
 
"FOF Travel is an absolute no-brainer if you want a cheap and safe way to travel," he adds.
 
The social travel network is currently in the process of researching and signing up more global partners as well as planning the next round of feature enhancements for the site.
-ENDS-
 
www.foftravel.com
www.facebook.com/foftravel
twitter.com/FOFTravel
 
Media contact:
Sophie Banks / Angie Cronin
Loudbird PR and Communications
Tel: 07815147073 / 07970 810302
www.loudbird.co.uk
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Notes to editors
  • FOF Travel is a new online marketplace and social travel network aimed at 18-35-year-olds.
  • It is designed to encourage people to see the world and enjoy authentic travel experiences through their network of friends and friends of friends.
  • Members can exchange basic travel necessities such as accommodation, storage space, travel tips and advice plus trustworthy local contacts.
  • The social travel network's foundations lay in their core philosophy of trust, philanthropy and wanderlust.
  • FOF Travel is dedicated to satisfying its members' wanderlust through a tight-knit, secure community that relies on the existing trust between friends and the philanthropy that exists in people who sign up.
  • FOF Travel has two levels of membership: free and premium.
    • Free allows users to build their network, view profiles of friends and friends of friends where you can see friends in common, send an instant message to their whole network, filter messages by type, map and list view of contacts and opportunities, send individual messages to access free accommodation, storage space, travel tips and advice, and friendly locals.
    • For an introductory rate of £12, the Premium Club membership offers users all of the above along with exclusive money-saving deals from industry partners sent directly to their inbox, the chance to filter opportunities by degree of friendship, location and service type to easily find what they're looking for and save time by sending group service requests to multiple people in multiple locations.
  • The brains behind FOF Travel are:
    • Krissa Curran, CEO and founder
    • Mark Strickland, chairman and co-founder
    • Daljeet Singh, head of marketing and co-founder.
       

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Name: Angie Cronin
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Phone: 07970 810302
Email: angie@loudbird.co.uk
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