top of page
  • Writer's pictureAdam

CoLab // Week One // Problem Statements

San Sebastian, 2022

Last summer, I went to Europe alone, and relied on what felt like very unintentional tools to meet fellow tourists and locals: party hostels, travel mode on dating apps, Reddit.

These actually worked well enough, but I thought it might be time to think of a new way to make it easier to meet people for short or long activities while traveling independently.

So I came up with Sojourn.

Problem Statement

How might we help solo travelers and digital nomads more seamlessly meet like-minded travelers to make friends, share experiences, and save money?


Sojourn is a website and mobile app which helps users enhance their travel experience. Below is a brief example of a user journey I am exploring:

  1. User has an upcoming solo trip they’re excited about

  2. User creates a profile on Sojourn

  3. User uploads details about their upcoming trip:

  4. A few demographic details

  5. Where they are going

  6. When they arrive, depart, and any elements of travel flexibility

  7. Input any “locked” plans (e.g. prepaid day trips, unavailable dates, hotel bookings)

  8. Input any specific “open” plans (e.g. a day trip they want to do, and can accommodate additional companions)

  9. Preferences: budget range, tourism wishlist, nightlife habits (e.g. clubs, bars, coffee/tea), structured vs. unstructured days, favorite museum types, dietary restrictions

  10. General interests / hobbies

  11. A machine learning system helps classify and recommend traveler match-ups based on itineraries, preferences, and personality

  12. Text and voice communication allows users to connect before or during travel


Some Data:

  • In the U.S., 16% of people have taken a solo trip, and 25% are considering it in the future

  • The search term “solo travel” has increased by 267% from December ‘20 to April ‘22

  • Source

  • Between ‘20 and ‘21, the digital nomad movement grew by 42%

  • Source

Current ways to meet other travelers and learn about tips include:

  • Physical: Hostels, Activities (walking tours, pub crawls), Travel groups

  • Digital: Meetup, TripAdvisor, Travello, dating apps—travel mode and regular, exPat groups on Facebook,, Quora, Reddit, Couch Surfer


Travel is a central part of the human experience. Whereas we used to travel for survival, we now do so for leisure, work, education, and adventure. As travel has become more common with the lowering cost of hotels and airfare, people seek new ways to work (digital nomads) and adventure while abroad, while wanting to connect with fellow humans and the greater world around them. This process still remains cumbersome, straddling the digital and real-world, often needing to stay in party hostels to meet peers, or use dating apps to find other travelers.

Research Objective

I want to understand common pain points and desires for travelers. This includes solo travelers, traveling couples, and group travelers. I want to discover how people make new friends when at home, using digital or non-digital tools. I also want to discover how people tend to make friends while traveling, and what their favorite experiences have been when interacting and exploring with these new companions.

Customer Segments

  1. Solo and small group travelers who want to enhance their tourism experience by connecting with other like-minded travelers.

  2. Digital nomads “settled” in a foreign country wanting to meet other nomads and travelers, and regularly embarking on short trips to neighboring countries.

Research Questions (Key Questions to Answer)

  • How do solo or small group travelers meet fellow travelers?

  • Which activities would be most enhanced by connection with fellow travelers?

  • What tools (digital or not) do people use to make new friends in their home city?

  • What are the most important compatibility attributes when traveling with a friend?

Interview Script


Thanks for speaking with me today. I’m hoping to learn about how you travel, what you look for in a travel companion, and which digital and non-digital tools you use to meet new friends, whether traveling or at home.

Anything you say will be anonymous. I really want to get at the core of your personal story, and learn about your experiences—good or bad.

Looking forward to our conversation.

Kindly, Adam

Specific Questions

General Travel Questions

  • How frequently do you travel domestically?

  • How often do you travel abroad?

  • Could you describe who you tend to travel with? (friends / family, solo, travel group)

Travel Discovery

  • Could you walk me through how you build a travel itinerary?

  • How do you discover where you’ll stay?

  • How do you find places to eat?

  • How do you decide which activities to do?

  • When you’re traveling from city to city, how do you get around?

  • When you’re moving within a city, how do you get around? (walk, taxi, rent a bike/car)

  • What was the flow like on your last long trip? (jam-packed, leisurely, no plans)


  • What kind of accommodations do you prefer to stay in when traveling alone?

  • When traveling with a friend or partner?

  • How far in advance do you book?

  • Which booking tools do you use?

  • How important is price in your accommodations booking?

  • Which other factors are most important when booking where you’ll stay?

Community Tools

  • When traveling alone, how have you met locals or other travelers in the past?

  • Which digital tools do you use to connect with people in foreign cities?

  • How would you describe the connections you’ve formed with people you’ve met while traveling?

  • While in your home city, how would you feel towards using an app that allowed you to meet travelers coming into your town? Would you be open to showing them around for an afternoon?

Travel Partners

  • Could you describe your ideal travel partner?

  • Could you describe the worst traits in a travel partner?

  • Could you describe the ideal local you meet while traveling? (Do they show you around? Give tips? Take you to a local spot for dinner?)

  • For a two week trip to, let’s say, Europe, how many travel companions is ideal?

63 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page