http://intransit.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/11/two-new-web-sites-aim-to-connect-travelers/ Two new Web sites aim to make traveling a more social event. Both sites — triptrotting.com and igottaguide.com — combine travel with elements of social media, connecting members based on common interests. Triptrotting.com matches travelers with hosts in a 173 cities, including Los Angeles, Budapest and Barcelona. These hosts aim to give their pairing an authentic experience in their hometown, like inviting them to their Bangkok flat for a home-cooked Thai meal, giving an insider tour of bistros in a Paris suburb or taking them to hidden art galleries in Stockholm. The travelers and hosts are connected are based on common interests — similar to a dating site — and though there is no fee for services, hosts sometimes ask for a tip (generally up to $30) to help cover their costs. Triptrotting holds the tip and pays the host only if the traveler has a favorable experience. Shana Zheng, a founder of Triptrotting said that the site caters to college students and young professionals who want to meet like-minded people when they’re in a new city or to socialize with travelers to their city by playing host. At 32, I don’t really fit into either target category, but I gave the site a try anyway. After an easy sign-up process, I answered a series of questions: am more of a listener or a talker (definitely the latter); am I more likely to read a celebrity magazine or classic novel (both, depending on my mood). I could then browse through hosts around the world who I would be most compatible with. My top pick was a 36 year-old male in Los Angeles who is willing to give a nontouristy look at his city. Unlike Triptrotting, iGottaGuide.com is active only in New York City (Keith Petri, the site founder, said that more cities will be added this summer) and connects locals and tourists to amateur and professional guides. The focus is on itineraries that are off-the-beaten path and at a reasonable price point, like leading an art gallery tour in Brooklyn or a pastry tour of the Lower East Side. Navigating the site is straightforward: an account isn’t required and users can search tours based on their preferred mode of transportation like walking, biking or public transport and their interests like eating, drinking, sightseeing or shopping. I selected walking and drinking, and among the half-dozen choices was a three-and-a-half hour tour of Brooklyn breweries for $55 led by an amateur guide.