Forget Facebook.com's virtual "poking," college Web surfers now have the choice to actually meet up, even if they are an ocean away.
Travelersmeet.com is a new Web site uniting a universal online college community in the effort to coordinate similar travel plans. With spring break just around the corner, the site is helping college students make distant friends before they even pack.
The travel site is the brainchild of San Diego businessman Tom Bohan.
"Two or three years ago I traveled a lot to domestic and international locations," Bohan said. "I always thought it would be cool to meet other people or locals in that city."
Bohan ran with the idea and created a Web site allowing people with travel agendas to meet other travelers. Most of the site's users are between the ages of 18 to 30 who are also traveling abroad.
"Most of the people are traveling to the top four spots, which are Australia, Thailand, India and the UK," Bohan said. "Lots of subscribers are backpackers taking a year off."
Bohan said the site is a good tool for spring breakers wanting to get in touch with other students headed to a certain hot spot. In the past few weeks he has seen a marked increase in the number of university email addresses entered into the Web site. He plans to see "a lot more activity leading up to spring break."
However, some CSU students are skeptical about meeting strangers from on online source.
"It might be nice to meet other students…not necessarily random people," said Rebecca Aleman, senior apparel design and production major.
Aleman is a regular user of Facebook.com, a popular online community used by college students to interact socially. She said with Facebook, "it's more about meeting up with people you know from high school or other friends" and not about creating new relationships.
Aleman would have reservations about meeting someone she met online and that allowing for her information to be published on the Internet would be a mistake.
"I keep my profile private so that nobody can see my information," Aleman said.
Seth Stewart can be reached at email@example.com.