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One of the hardest things to do is to meet locals in a new place. I write this as someone who has traveled extensively, but not always found someone that I’ve clicked with. I recently tried out a new website called 2 glimpse. I’ll be discussing how I made a friend while traveling using this great alternative to Couchsurfing! This is a review of the 2 glimpse website.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by 2
As someone who has traveled quite a bit solo, I’ve used various apps to meet up with locals while traveling. It can be a bit exhausting to weed through all the messages from creepy guys trying to find someone who is a good match as a solo female traveler.
I’ve generally used hospitality exchange websites simply for meeting new friends while traveling for a coffee, a meal, or just a nice day out. However, this is not the intention of these apps, so I was very intrigued at the premise of 2 glimpse, which promises the meetings without the expectation of hosting. I’ll be explaining 2 glimpse as well as discussing my experience meeting up with a member from 2 glimpse in another Dutch city.
What is 2 glimpse?
2 glimpse is a website for making new friends while traveling–or meeting new people while you’re at home. As a guest, the idea is that you handselect someone who is a good match for you, coordinate with them to meet up, and get a glimpse into someone else’s life.
The website is both for people who live in a local happy to show travelers around as well as travelers looking for a unique experience. Something that I really liked about 2 glimpse is that the expectations are set by you and your 2 glimpse partner. Most people are not looking for accomodation, but a meaningful meeting without money being exchanged.
At the time of writing, the website is free at the moment to join as the membership grows, however an access fee will probably be charged at some point. That said, all meetups will be free and it’s against the TOS to ask for money. It was conceptualized by a Dutch female entrepreneur who wanted to able to meet locals abroad to see places beyond the touristic sights and to feel comfortable while traveling solo. Often, those small everyday moments and connections are what make a trip special.
How does 2 glimpse work?
You need to sign up for 2 glimpse and create a profile. Creating a profile took about five minutes. I put down some keywords that I felt define myself, uploaded a photo, added a little about me, and wrote what I was looking for. I like the fact that people write about what kind of exchange they are seeking as it helps you set expectations of what to expect from meeting up with them (although you still might be surprised.)
While creating a profile, you’ll also indicate what kind of exchange partner that you’re seeking in terms of nationality, gender, and age. At least at the moment, 2 glimpse skews heavily female, which I really appreciate as someone who prefers meeting up with other women while traveling solo. I kept most of these filters broader besides gender.
Shortly after filling in this information, you’ll have the algorithm match you with a few people. At the moment, the website is particularly strong for Europe, especially the Netherlands. I ended up with a few matches who I messaged after reading their profile….
My experience using 2 glimpse
Using 2 glimpse to meet Suzanne
I originally was seeking a partner to meet up with while in Austria or during a weekend away in Belgium, but for me, 2 glimpse was more about finding someone who felt like a good fit. After seeing Suzanne’s profile suggested to me, I felt an affinity with her although she was within the Netherlands.
Suzanne is a Dutch female entrepreneur who lives in Utrecht, the Netherlands. As someone interested in sports and trying out new hotspots, I was intrigued by her profile and sent her message. We ended up messaging for a short while using the website prior to taking it offline to Whatsapp.
After determining her schedule, we picked a day good for both of us and I decided that I’d visit Utrecht. I’ve been to Utrecht many times before, so I figured that I’d just leave it up to her. I’m a type-A personality, but Suzanne told me that she’d plan our day together. I decided to let go!
My experience meeting up with Suzanne in Utrecht
I arrived in Utrecht actually a bit nervous. I am an extravert who does enjoy meeting new people, but I do get anxiety before meeting new people. It’s a bit of a paradox although once I get comfortable, I really enjoy meeting new people. It’s always the first twenty minutes that make me nervous.
As soon as I arrived in Utrecht, Suzanne sent me a text with her location. She recommended that I rented a bike with the OV Fiets program, a subsidized bike sharing system for Dutch residents, that I had never used before. I got the bike and I could feel her warmth immediately. I was a bit surprised how quickly I felt at ease with her.
Afterwards, we had a coffee at a cozy Utrecht cafe introducing ourselves prior to getting brunch at a hotspot. We laughed a lot and talked a lot about our lives. It was also nice to see what Suzanne’s life was like as we ran into various friends of hers at cafes and on the street. She made a significant effort not to show me the main things in Utrecht, but places that I’d never thought of visiting.
One of my favorite parts of the day was going kayaking with her along the outer canals around Utrecht, which gave me a completely different take on Utrecht. As an entrepreneur myself, it was really inspiring to talk to Suzanne, who has built an empire of her own online about entrepreneurship, digital nomadism, relationships, and finding a balance between work and life.
I somehow had always had Utrecht pinned down as this old classic Dutch city and Suzanne definitely showed me a modern, lively edge to Utrecht that I had always overlooked. I kept wishing that I lived in Utrecht as all of the cafes that Suzanne showed me that she often worked at made it easy to imagine what my life would be like if I moved to Utrecht.
Afterwards, we stopped for a snack and a beer. I came away from the day feeling just thankful that Suzanne took a moment out of her busy life to show me her city. I hope to do the same for her in the Hague when she has the chance to visit. This lovely day reminded me of why I love the internet and why it’s important to take opportunities to remove yourself out of your comfort zone when it gets too cozy.
As with any internet application, you need to be careful. On 2 glimpse, only message with people who have added photos as well as a full profile. These people are fully committed to meeting others.
I’d recommend having a full conversation with the person prior to giving out any personal details. Ideally, vet them on Instagram or another social media platform.
As a first step, find out their expectations and think what kind of meeting that you want to have. Having your expectations in check is important to ensure that both of you have a good experience together.
First meet in a public place if you’re not fully comfortable. I discuss some of the advantages of 2 glimpse, but the idea that you can set the boundaries of what you’re okay with is a big part of this website. If you’re not comfortable meeting someone beyond the first coffee or you want to wait to see how you feel, that’s okay. Be honest and direct with the person about how you feel and it’s important to remember that you’re not obligated to spend time with them.
It’s generally good idea to tell other people where you are going and who you are meeting up with as a cautionary bit. Prior to my meeting with Suzanne, I provided my husband with full details about our intended meeting and updated him once we were together throughout the day.
Advantages of using 2 glimpse
You set the terms. You decide what kind of person you want to meet up with and what you’re comfortable with. If you’re only comfortable with getting to coffee to feel out if this is someone you want to spend time with, that’s okay. You can also be clear that you’re not sure–and feel it out. Many other hospitality websites require a stay or meetup to make it official, but I liked that 2 glimpse left this open to what suits you.
Choose the person who is best suited to you. 2 glimpse has an algorithm where you can see where they guess who you should be matched with, however it’s up to you to decide who you want to interact with. You can read their profile and choose maybe someone isn’t for you.
The website is majority women at the moment. This might change, but I’ve found that many similar websites that I’ve used were male-dominated and as someone married who can be a bit wary of men (sorry!), I felt more comfortable with the website after seeing so many female members!
Hosting is not required although you can stay with some members if you feel comfortable doing so after meeting them. As mentioned before, you can stay with some members who open their homes in this way, however you can just experience 2 glimpse as a traveler or a local interested in meeting new people. I found people that I messaged with friendly, open, and well-traveled.
It’s free to meet up with members! In the future, there may be a membership fee, however meetings with other members are always free, including accommodation if you choose to stay over. The tour that I received from Suzanne was something on par with a private tour. (I tried to treat her for a few things as a thank you!)
Things to improve with 2 glimpse
In general, the website worked well. As someone who is security minded, I would like 2 glimpse to have reviews and/or some kind of indication of others’ past experiences meeting up with people. For me, that is a key indicator of whether I’m open to meeting up with men although I’m content only meeting up with women for now.
I’d love to see members from more countries on the website. At the moment, it’s quite strong for Europe, especially the Netherlands. However, as someone who travels a fair amount, I look forward to seeing members from more countries to meet up with around the world.
2 glimpse: a new alternative to Couchsurfing?
I’ve used both Couchsurfing as well as 2 glimpse. I’ve found 2 glimpse to be a great alternative to Couchsurfing as it’s enabled me to meet new people on my terms. For those who are interested in capturing the community spirit and generosity that comes with those willing to show people around, 2 glimpse is a great website to try out. I look forward to trying it out elsewhere in the world.