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Travel Companion Exchange (or TCE) is a site for anyone wishing to plan a trip and find companions to travel with. It offers three levels of membership: Bronze (which is free), Silver and Gold, each with its own benefits. It has served over 70,000 travelers to date and offers a money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied with its services.
All of this sounds pretty positive, right? Well, yes, the site does generally do a good job of helping you to find travel companions. It primarily does this by allowing you to build a profile page. An automated system then makes travel companion recommendations for you, and you can see whether you feel you could travel with those recommended members.
If you upgrade to a Gold account, you can also access the exclusive Relationship Compatibility Assessment, which goes into more detail about whether or not you might be compatible. This is of course very important because you might end up spending a lot of time with someone from the site, in sometimes-stressful situations, so it’s best to be as sure as possible that you’ll meld.
The basic membership is free, but you can also upgrade to a 3 month trial of Silver membership for free. This is a good deal because, if you plan on going traveling within 3 months, then you may not have to pay a thing to connect with other travellers. All members can build a profile and search for members. They can also contact all bronze and Silver members, although for some reason communication with Gold members is restricted unless you are a Gold member. We’re not quite sure why and this seems something of a useless and pedantic restriction.
Anyway, all members can also receive automatic matches and build a photo album of their travels to share with others. Another interesting feature open to all members is a personal travel map which can help you to plan your route around the globe. Upgrading essentially provides a few extra features such as live chat and privacy options. We felt that Silver membership offered the best range of features for the cost, although if you do want to chat with Gold members you will need to upgrade to a Gold account.
Prices are pretty reasonable, with Silver Membership coming in at just under $12 for 6 months. Combine this with the 3 month free trial of Silver membership and you're getting 9 months for just $11.95. Meanwhile there are a few features that set this site apart a little from its lesser competitors, including the ability to produce a blog, and make purchases on a travel book website.
We would, however, like to see more community features such as forums and free travel guides, perhaps even a noticeboard where people could put a brief note about where they are traveling, and when. This would allow people to meet others more easily whilst on their trips. Some kind of improved area for pre-designed trips or organized events would also be useful.
TravelCompanionExchange.com is a solid companion-finding website for travellers. Its matching feature is a good idea, whilst its prices are fair. However, they could do more, particularly in helping you to find and meet people quickly whilst you’re on the move.
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