This dating app sends you on a fairy-tale first date somewhere in the world.
“I was Belle, and he was Robin Hood. We moved in together in June and are currently enjoying our happily ever after.” Colorado native Jenni met the man who stole her heart on Fairytrail, a dating app unlike any other that pairs remote workers and travelers based on adventure selections using fairy-tale characters that are mapped to Enneagram and Myers-Briggs personality types.
Jenni stumbled upon an article about Fairytrail and saved it due to her interest in becoming a digital nomad. Compared to other dating apps, she loved that it was designed around personality rather than settings that she would typically filter out, like location and religion.
“Our religious backgrounds are completely different, but we’ve had some of the best conversations about spirituality I’ve ever had,” said Jenni about her dream-come-true romance. “My character Belle also matched my Myers-Briggs personality type (INFP) perfectly as did my partner’s.”
Being able to cast the net wider and date outside of her immediate location worked in Jenni’s favor: according to Fairytrail’s data, Colorado Springs, near where she lives, is the city with the second-highest number of single women in the U.S. after Honolulu making it that much harder to find an eligible knight in shining armor. Fairytrail users aren’t confined to local singles, and daters can even adjust their settings to decide whether future partners are fully or partly remote or not remote at all. “About 50 percent of our users are looking for the one and someone to travel the world with, which is easier if one or both people are fully remote,” according to Fairytrail’s founder Taige Zhang (an ENFJ).
Recommended Fodor’s Video
Founded in 2019, Fairytrail is the brainchild of Chinese-American Taige Zhang, who has lived everywhere from Berlin to Shanghai and Winnipeg but struggled to find a long-term partner to start a family with after moving to the U.S. for work. “I was traveling a lot for my job, and since most dating apps require a location, it was difficult for me to meet for coffee dates,” said Zhang, whose Fairytrail character is King Arthur.
“What blew my mind was that many women were willing to fly for a first date,” he announces. “Since I wasn’t around for coffee, we would have video calls, and then after some talking, they would fly to meet me, or we would both go somewhere.” Zhang found those adventure dates infinitely more enjoyable than any coffee meeting, and one of his romance-tinged expeditions eventually blossomed into a relationship. This led him to the belief that travel encounters could be a fun and effective way to find a partner.
Star-Crossed Lovers Crossing Borders
Since launching, Fairytrail has facilitated over 75,000 travel matches with daters around the world everywhere from Papua New Guinea and Antarctica to Kenya and the United States, where just over a quarter of its users are based. To match on the app, both parties must select the same destination that they would like to visit together though crucially, they are not obliged to actually take the trip. Matching on destinations (rather than just photos, for instance) uncovers shared desires and tastes and helps to find out “if you are destined to meet,” as the app’s Trail Map page declares.
Year to Date (YTD) data from thousands of adventure selections shows that Bali takes the crown as the destination that most travelers wish to explore. The ‘Island of the Gods’ was the top choice for both men and women, with Barcelona, Tokyo, Lisbon, and Marrakech following close behind. Personality data collected reveals that extroverts show a slight preference for meeting and mingling in beachy destinations like Cancun and Honolulu, while introverts lean towards more cultural cities like Paris and Rome. This jibes with a 2015 study in the Journal of Research in Personality, which found the ocean to be the geographical preference for extroverts, while introverts favored mountains. “If you’re looking for someone that’s a bit more extroverted, head to a beach,” Zhang advises.
Looking at where in the world Fairytrail users are actually located also provides handy snippets of wisdom for romance-seeking nomads. Unattached men looking to date travel-loving ladies will find the most single women in Lithuania (where 77 percent of users are female), the Philippines, Cambodia, Slovakia, Kenya, and South Africa. Ladies might want to increase their chances of a love match by visiting one of the countries with the most single men: Pakistan (where 93 percent of swipers are male), Egypt, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Luxembourg, and Qatar.
Of the top 10 cities with the most male singletons in the United States, six are in California: San Jose, Santa Clara, Fremont, Hayward, Oakland, and San Francisco. Men also significantly outnumber women in Austin, Louisville, Tucson, and Baltimore. For reduced competition, gents ought to flock to Honolulu, Colorado Springs, Indianapolis, El Paso, Columbus, Fort Lauderdale, Kansas City, Nashville, San Antonio, and Asheville, where there are significantly more single women than men.
Former Apple analyst Zhang also discloses that when it comes to destinations, women on the app are slightly more intrepid. 27 percent of women would pack their bags and fall in love “anywhere” compared to 24 percent of male users. It’s clear that Fairytrail appeals to daters that are flexible, open-minded, spontaneous, and adventurous.
“We ask people to include their most adventurous experience in their profiles, and it’s a great conversation starter and travel inspiration,” Zhang notes. Some disclosures that stood out to him include crashing the Cannes Film Festival, climbing up a tree to escape a charging rhino, and traveling through the Palawan Islands on a small boat and sleeping under the stars.
“Hearing these stories reminds me that our world is an amazing place full of magic and wonder,” says Zhang, who incidentally is an adept storyteller himself. “With Fairytrail, you’re basically just out having fun adventures with someone you like, checking off your bucket list, and calling it dating,” he remarks. “The chance of finding love is higher for our users, and even if the stars don’t align, at least they can say they had a breath-taking adventure.”
Are Users Charmed?
Romantic bliss and once-in-a-lifetime adventures sound like a match made in heaven, but what do users have to say about it? Jenni from Colorado adored the fact that she had to pick the same travel destination as any potential match to be able to chat.
“That seemed like an authentic way to identify if people really had common interests or not,” she states. In addition, she believes the app prioritizes human connection more than others she has utilized. “Some dating platforms commodify human beings and treat them like consumption goods designed to be used for pleasure,” she laments. “I didn’t feel like a piece of meat when making my Fairytrail profile,” Jenni admits that she didn’t entirely understand the settings at first, however.
Sexual empowerment coach, sex educator, and digital nomad Jocelyn Silva whose Fairytrail character was Pocahontas, similarly struggled to navigate the app. “I love the concept, and I believe that with some tweaking, it can be amazing,” she expresses. “But the prompts are confusing, and how you go about interacting with your matches is a bit challenging to comprehend.”
Mexico-based data analyst Karina Gómez-Moreno also encountered technical issues but saw Fairytrail as a promising way to meet someone amazing when she became a digital nomad. Her Fairytrail character was Jasmine, and she enjoyed a six-month courtship with a nomadic gentleman before meeting in person. “Using the app was a very exciting experience because the traditional dating sites and apps show you people with so many different lifestyles that probably won’t fully align with what you’re looking for,” she cites.
Fairytrail is far from the only show in town when it comes to dating apps, but it has the edge over competitors due to its focus on remote workers and mobility. “Digital nomads want to find someone who shares their passion for adventure and can travel the world with them,” Zhang explains. The founder is passionate about connecting people and believes in the life-altering magic of meeting your special someone.
“People are the doors to everything—jobs, adventures, business opportunities, crazy life experiences, health, and happily ever after.”