“Living Like A Local” Made Easier with Travel Apps and Websites

Jonathan Murray —  January 18, 2014

Once they decide where they want to go, travelers want to know what they can do when they get there, relying on the Internet and a sense of exploration to serve their needs.

However, new and emerging websites and smartphone applications are popping up all the time, many of them delivering information that’s local, socially curated and—in some cases—highly personalized. And they require little if any extra work from you!

Pointing your guest towards resources like these can help make their travel research much easier.

Jauntful

Jauntful map unfolded on a table

Image from Jauntful.

On the MyVR blog, we’ve talked a lot about the value of local guides for vacation rentals and the fact that, even in our increasingly digital world, providing a printed version is a good idea. Jauntful is a new service—currently in preview mode—that pulls these two ideas together.

Through the Jauntful website, you create a list of your favorite attractions and restaurants. These are added to an interactive map of your community, which is not only easy to share online but also to print in a very clean and foldable format.

Jetpac City Guide

You can learn a lot from an image—including, apparently, what the local hot spots might be. Jetpac scans and filters images and locations on photo-sharing service Instagram to assess factors like which spots have the best views, where business travelers like to go, or the perfect haunts for foodies and wine lovers.

How does it curate this information without asking people to answer a single question? Jetpac analysis photos for visual clues like shades of lipstick, the white of smiling teeth, or blue sky; they recently used their filters to reveal Belfast as the happiest city in the UK. Accuracy, presumably, depends on the type of people posting photos to Instagram in a particular area. You can judge for yourself by checking out their top travel collections on Pinterest.

Jetpac on Pinterest - top travel collections screenshot

Check out Jetpac’s top travel collections on Pinterest.

Triposo

Triposo iPhone app

Image from Triposo.

Billing itself as “one travel guide for the whole world”, Triposo is a smartphone app that provide ideas on the go. It uses a wide variety of data points, from photos to Wikipedia to scanning for keyword frequency in travel articles, to deliver recommendations that are tailored to a person’s current location, time and weather in addition to their personal preferences.

Will it work in your area? It’s not available everywhere, but they do have fairly broad coverage—at least by state if not specific location. The application is free for iOS or android phones, so the easiest way to test it is to install it yourself and take a tour.

Vayable

Vayable city tours - screenshotIf the curated guides and personalized information from the above sources isn’t enough, Vayable offers another option: it connects travelers with locals who are willing to offer themselves up as tour guides.

As you might expect, Vayable tours are largely focused in cities at the moment, but it’s an interesting concept that’s spreading

Other sites, like Couchsurfing, have played a similar matchmaking role in the past, but Vayable has a slight twist. Local tour guides are vetted, with interviews, background checks and references reviews before their suggested tours are made available.

Tours also come with a fee of $20-70 per tour; Vayable “charges the traveler a 3% fee and charges the tour guide a 15% fee.”

Travelers are looking for a local experience; that’s one of the factors that draws them to vacation rentals in the first place. Emerging complementary services like Jauntful, Jetpac, Triposo and Vayable make it easier for you to help your guests shape a vacation that’s truly “living like the locals.”

Do you point your guests toward any particular travel applications to use during their stay? Share your favorites in the comments below.

Jonathan Murray

Jonathan Murray

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Before starting MyVR, he co-founded Lift Media (acquired), a lead generation company that worked with clients like American Express, Netflix, and Fandango. He started MyVR after being frustrated with setting up his own Sonoma cottage as a vacation rental. He studied engineering at Bucknell University and received his MBA from Stanford University.
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