There is nothing like going footloose, solo. But every backpacker does appreciate like-minded companions when there is a dormitory cost to split, a mountain range to trek across or a bonfire to light.
Fulfilling this urge of solo travellers to have a trip tailored to their needs, yet twinned with the company of like-minded people is WeTravelSolo, a Noida-based start-up.
Founded by Shefali Walia, the website serves as a community for solo travellers that also organises special interest tours for them. A business analyst, Shefali, an avid traveller herself, owes the initiative to her solo travels within the country.
“My travels taught me that friends after a certain age aren’t as accessible as they were earlier, mostly due to distance or lack of time. I met scores of people who wanted to travel, yet didn’t have companions to travel with. WeTravelSolo encourages such people to take a leap of faith and enjoy the experience of travelling solo. We in turn will ensure that solo travellers find the trip of their interest and companions who share the same interests, without the whole affair affecting the very charm of solo travelling,” Shefali says.
The start-up has so far organised about 18 trips across India, with most of the groups departing from Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai. The website has about 20,000 registered users, with 300 of them being active members, who participate in tours on a regular basis.
Each trip of WeTravelSolo is designed by a trip crafter, who in turn is an experienced traveller. While the trip crafter decides on the place and charts out the itinerary, the website has a team of travel planners who look after the travel and accommodation bookings.
“All a solo traveller needs to do is to register on the website and pick a trip of her/his choice,” Shefali says.
Whether it is to visit the temples of Khajuraho, track tigers at Ranthambore or ski in Auli in the Himalayas, the trips are categorised into themes such as mountains, heritage, wildlife, cycling, photography and luxury to help a traveller narrow down on their area of interest. That apart, the website has trips cut out for 16 to 60-year-olds, as well as specialty tours that include road trip, weekend mania, international backpacking and adventure trips.
“The best part of our tours is that the traveller is not bound to stick to the team or the itinerary and can break free from the group and join it whenever she/he desires. That is precisely why we have included only travel, food and accommodation expenses in the packages as these are three things that join people,” Shefali says.
Shefali plans to expand their reach to more cities and travel destinations in the country, and says they are currently working on the mobile application of the website that will be released soon.