In recent years, startups have rapidly conquered the travel market: Uber has long been taken a niche in a traditional taxi service, while car rental comes to the place of public transport. Indeed, personal vehicle is a very attractive travel option in terms of price and convenience. Plus, 7 seater SUV rental makes the service affordable even for big companies of travelers or if you travelling with your family. You can pick up a car almost anywhere in the world, and travel at your own pace. If you are going to the USA, the cost of a car is $ 25-35 per compact or economy class, depending on the location. All you need to provide is a driver’s license, credit card and passport.
However, this is not all – with the help of online platforms, travelers can easily find a guide among locals who will be happy to introduce the country from the inside. So, check out the 6 most interesting services and applications, and you might want to use them on your upcoming trip.
#1 Tours by Locals
Over the 10 years of its existence, the Tours by Locals online platform has managed to bring together more than 2,000 guides and cover 159 countries. Only very small areas of shallow lagoons remain undeveloped, for example, Crooked Island – an island that is part of the Bahamas.
Here, travelers can either offer guide their own itinerary or choose an existing one. For example, for those who prefer quiet and secluded places, the service offers an eight-hour excursion to the picturesque regions of the South Island of New Zealand.
There are also less intricate routes on the online platform – for example, excursions to the main attractions of Western Europe. The website has the opportunity to order both a group tour and an individual one. Accordingly, the price will depend on the choice — usually it doesn’t exceed $100 per person.
#2 Show Around
The Show Around online platform is considered to be one of the leading travel start-ups: the service has gathered more than 80 thousand locals and is already available in 204 countries.
Unlike a number of other similar services, Show Around performs only one function – it finds a guide. The tour route is planned after choosing a temporary satellite, there are no ready-made options here. You might wanna take a look at touristsecrets.com.
Perhaps the main advantage of the platform is the business cards of local guides. You can find literally everything – detailed information about the interests and knowledge of the culture of the region of each registered guide.
The tourist can rate his guide, as well as write a comment. The average price of an excursion is about $15 per hour.
Show Around has long had an application for iOS, and recently a mobile service has become available for Android users.
The approach of the Japanese online service Shiroube is somewhat different from the rest – the tourist first selects the section of interest, for example, “Art and History”, “Nature and Adventures”, “Food and Wine”, and only then begins to look for a guide. Using the site is very simple: there’s an advanced search that allows you to choose the language, age and even gender of the guide. Each guide has his own profile where tourists can see photos, main interests and offers.
There’s no database of ready-made excursions there – the local guide comes up with a personal route for each client. However, the developers of the service still collect some statistics, for example, lists with the most common locations and recommendations are regularly updated on the site.
The service is aimed at a fun pastime with visits to night clubs, various workshops and non-tourist pubs, and the price of the tour usually doesn’t exceed $400 from a group of four people.
The creators of Embark.org have chosen a narrower niche for themselves – the service is suitable for the fans of outdoor activities and extreme sports. According to the developers, the platform is more focused on creating a community with one common interest – a passion for active travel.
As a result, the creators managed to combine business with pleasure – to unite fans of extreme tourism and to enable non-professional guides to earn money.
This platform is good in that it makes it possible to find a person who organizes your active vacation even in the center of a big city. For example, with a guide you can try climbing in the Fontainebleau forest, the road to which from Paris takes not more than 40 minutes.
Half of all offers are excursions for several days. The service offers extreme entertainment such as three-day rafting in India, kayaking in Croatia and an eight-day walk to the peak on the border of Valle d’Aosta and Piedmont in Italy. Everything is in the company of a local guide who knows his job.
The site also has a blog where travelers talk about their impressions, which will help you choose from a variety of options that is right for you.
Prices for guide services start at $80 per person per day.
The Vayable online platform, created just recently, has already earned the attention of The New York Times, CNN, and The Wall Street Journal.
The service is focused on the central cities of Western Europe and the UK. The developers approached the project thoroughly: local guides will not only tell, but also teach.
For example, one of the suggestions is a course on photography at night in Paris. The guide will guide tourists around the Latin Quarter and the Seine embankment, and will also tell you how to make good night portraits.
#6 Rent a Guide
German startup Rent a Guide offers guide services on all possible types of vacation activities – from dinner in the best national traditions on the 123rd floor of the Burj Khalifa tower to a hot air ballooning or jeep safari in the Arabian deserts. For those who love hiking, Rent a Guide will prepare tourist excursions in the capital cities of Western and Eastern Europe.
A balloon ride will cost $300, and a jeep safari will cost $45.