When I first began traveling the world, sharing your experiences via social media had just begun to take off, and it was one of the first opportunities you really had to truly live vicariously through the travels of your friends. I would see Facebook albums pop up in my stream from all around the globe, (on my first year abroad 88 girls from my High School traveled to the UK alone – we Australians LOVE to travel the world!), though these were essentially just albums of all of the cliche things that tourists do.
Everyone snapped their selfies holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa, popped up at almost every Australian bar across Europe, and probably got by without learning a single phrase in a foreign tongue. And while that was all fine for them, I couldn’t help but feel the urge to seek out unique experiences instead.
I wanted to return home with photos which were different from the shot everyone else had, and see the world through the eyes of a local. While 88 girls had traveled to the UK with a contiki tour pre booked, I wanted to replace the generic, mass produced holiday that my peers seemed content with, to seek out a more unique, personal experience, while maybe even supporting the local communities that inspired me to book my trip.
Back then there weren’t the sleuth of technology, apps and start-ups which are around today, and in the end I found myself on a Contiki tour too. Though nowadays it’s becoming easier and easier to connect with locals in order to ensure a fully immerisve experience abroad. If only apps like Ventoura had been around back then.
Meet Locals For Authentic Travel Experiences
Meeting the locals wherever you go is pretty much always a good idea, though it’s often a lot easier said than done when you’re in an unfamiliar city abroad. But with a little preparation before you arrive, it’s very possible to experience a city just like the locals do, and Ventoura puts you in touch with locals for a tour – an app which allows you to leave your heavy guidebook behind and rely on the inside scoop.
The app is free, and as easy as entering your travel itinerary and finding locals who can show you the hidden treasures of their city; the doors you would have walked past, the cliff diving spots you would have never found, the galleries which are lesser known. Without an intimate knowledge of a destination it’s impossible to catch these gems – and generally only the locals know best!
Urban exploring in Paris wouldn’t have been the same if Mike and I hadn’t hooked up with a friend of a friend who offered to show us around the city of love. We ended up ice-skating on the Eiffel Tower and hitting up quiet, charming neighborhoods away from the main tourist scene with coffee shops we would have never known.
The possibilities from an intimate local tour really are endless, and they are options you’re unlikely to find on generic mass produced tours. Each tour is, after-all, based on the creativity of the individual who calls your new destination home.
If you’re looking to see and know about the monumental landmarks of an area, sure, Ventoura is still a great app. After having recently become addicted to chatting with travelers and locals alike, there are a fantastic range of city walking tours which will ensure you don’t miss the main sites. Though the main perk for someone like me, a traveler who’s looking for something more, is that it comes with the added bonus of the inside scoop – the ability to get yourself off the beaten path.
It’s learning about the restaurant on the corner loved by the locals for its freshly caught fish, the best spot to catch sunrise in the mornings, the hiking trails that lead to spectacular views, and the secret ice caves normally reserved for the background of your phone.
This is the type of knowledge that comes with a local guide, that comes only from local insight.
Whether you’re hitting up streets of Barcelona for a secret coffee tour with the film student who has a coffee obsession, or wanting to learn how to make traditional Spanish tacos in someone’s home, Ventoura offers a great range of options for exploring a destination in a way different to a generic group tour. Someone has created an itinerary tailored just for you, whether it’s an active holiday or a cultural tour.
Though you can also use Ventoura to match with other travelers who are in the same place at the same time. In 2009 I was psyched and ready to head out on my second whirlwind adventure abroad. I sent out a group text, and had 15 friends in for an immersive experience through Eastern Europe. Of course, as the date for the trip came closer and closer, and payments became due, I ended up finding myself on my own. Though I easily made new friends in hostels after having decided to travel regardless, it would have been so amazing to have had the opportunity to chat with other travelers before leaving home.
So don’t be intimidated by solo travel if your friends end up leaving you alone – start chatting to travelers before you go and you may find yourself set with a new travel companion in each place you go. It’s a great way to find travelers to enjoy your journey with when your peers back home may have a different set of priorities for their holidays abroad.
Make Money as a Local
It’s important to remember as a traveler, that we are not the only ones benefiting from the choice to travel local. The locals benefit too. A great deal of the money generated by tourism never actually reaches local communities, and travelling locally gives our money the best chance of reaching the people who really deserve it – the people living in the area who make the place what it is.
As our current travels throughout the US are winding down to a close, our relocation to Australia draws closer by the day, and Mike and I will soon be faced with the transition from nomad to local once more. And while you can take the girl out of travel, you can never truly take travel out of the girl! Establishing a base after so many years of vagabonding on the road just means that we’ll be in the perfect position to meet up with travelers and show them around our home! I figure what better way to do so than to sign up as a local on Ventoura and make money while doing so.
Creating a tour takes just a few minutes. You can accept bookings whenever it’s convenient for you, and still take time for your regular commitments.
In a Nutshell For Travellers
– Get to know people you will see on your travels before you leave home.
– Meet locals for unforgettable experiences and step off the beaten path.
1. Download Ventoura
2. Enter your destinations
3. Match with locals and other travelers
4. Have an awesome experience
The Ventouring matching system means you meet only the people you want, and that they want to meet you.
In a Nutshell For Locals
– Get paid for providing awesome experiences to Travelers. You are the travel guidebook.
– Have fun and earn at the same time. It really is that simple!
1. Download Ventoura
2. Create your experience
3. Match with travelers
4. Chat and accept bookings
5. Earn money
Whether you’re breaking away from the 9-5 grind, or you’re a student looking to earn extra money, Ventoura can work for you.