When traveling to a new city or country, it can sometimes be difficult to immerse yourself completely into the new culture. Whether it is a nervousness that prevents you from getting out of your comfort zone or just the inability to connect with the right people to lead you in the right direction, sometimes there are things that just hold you back.
New technologies, however, have made it possible for people to connect with others in ways we could have never imagined. There are a number of new applications that make it easy to connect with like-minded people, who can help you experience everything about their city, in ways that a typical tourist would never be able too.
As James Michener once said, “if you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” With that in mind, before you take your next trip you should consider downloading one (or all) of these applications to get the most out of your travels.
Airbnb has become an incredibly popular company, which provides travelers with an authentic local experience through couch- surfing with the added safety and reliability found at a hotel. Airbnb is now expanding its reach with Airbnb Journeys, which are essentially activity packages created by locals and supported by the company. Journeys can range from biking to foodie excursions. Each package includes an Airbnb accommodation, one meal a day, and Lyft transportation from the airport.
2) Side Story
Many consider artists to be the soul of every city. Side Story is looking to connect travelers with these artists or ‘cultural insiders’ so that travelers can see ‘the soul’ of the community. These insiders will take travelers around and show them the inner workings of the art design, fashion, food, photography and street art culture. People can decide if they want to shadow a chef in Soho or spend an afternoon meeting artists and gallery owners in East London.
3) Zoola Fix
Zoola Fix is the must-have app for travelers looking to know where the locals party: it hooks up travelers with well-connected nightlife experts. The app helps people find the local favorites or best neighborhood spots no matter where they go, whether it is a rooftop in New York or an underground club in London. Guests can browse through a list of vetted “Fixers” in their destination city to find a profile that matches their party style. They can then chat with fixers in advance to create a personalized agenda for the night.
The food is a focal point of any cultural experience. VizEat was created with this in mind, drawing off the concept of the dinner table being the first social network. Travelers can search for local hosts (who are chefs) around the world to organize a home-cooked meal, food walk, local market visit, or cooking class. The concept is pretty simple: a traveler browses potential menu options and requests a date to start the booking exchange, in which they can discuss any details like location or allergies.
Experiencing a new city with other people can make the tip all the more memorable. Tripr is an app that is designed to help travelers cross paths with other travelers and locals during their journey. After a traveler creates a profile and adds their trips, the app will show you who will be in that destination at the same time. If two people indicate interest in one another, they can start chatting to arrange a time to meet up. The service is great for people who want a travel buddy or just get useful travel knowledge.