Afar Media, a recently launched alternative magazine for “experiential” travelers, is launching a new site in private beta today that aims to match adventurous travelers with like-minded travelers to exchange information about trips, experiences and more. Afar Connect is sort of like eHarmony meets TripAdvisor, but without the romantic interest. We have 100 invites for TechCrunch readers to use the site; you can use the code “TCAFAR” here to sign up for the Afar.
Afar Connect uses a proprietary ‘Travel Personality’ technology to create a customized profile for each user. Types of profiles range from the Florida-bound “Vacationer” to a “Discoverer” volunteering in Haiti. Users can then ask questions on the site about their upcoming travel plans and the site will connect the user directly with others who share their same travel profile and have specific knowledge of a particular destination.
In addition, users can also comment on posts, ‘follow’ other members whose advice they value, share photos, and more. Users can either create an Afar-specific profile or log in using Facebook Connect.
Afar also encourages local businesses and travel brands to participate in the community. Businesses can set up profiles similar to travelers, and respond to questions, offer advice, and share information about their company. From airlines to snorkel shops, travel brands that participate in the spirit of the community can use the platform to drive customers to their front door.
The site seems to be ideal for more adventurous travelers, where first-hand trip information for unique and out-of-the ordinary journeys is harder to come by. So if you wanted to trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru; you’d be able to connect with another traveler who had made the same journey.
Afar Connect is complimentary to the brand’s bi-monthly magazine which portray’s narratives and photography of experiential travel and trips. In theory, the site seems to provide a somewhat unique service in a very crowded online travel space. One challenge for the site may be driving traffic to Afar so that there are a large number of experiences for users to tap into for advice. One way Afar could gain more users interacting with its site could be through partnerships with companies that attract travelers like Travel And Leisure, Fodors, or even National Geographic.