Run-of-the-mill chain hotels and organized tour groups aren’t so much my cup of tea. As an independent people-person type of traveler who loves supporting small family-owned businesses instead of large impersonal corporations, getting off the beaten tourist path and meeting with locals wherever I go, peer-to-peer platforms such as AirBnB, Couchsurfing, Bla Bla Car or Warmshowers have always been some of my favorite alternative ways of traveling. What’s better than to discover a new place in the company of a local who knows the lowdown much better than a plain old book, takes you to all the magical yet unknown locations and is just so happy to help you discover their home town? One of my favorite things about traveling is meeting with locals and seeing “normal life” through their eyes in the places I visit.
There is a new service around the block which, rather than being about hospitality or transport, is about the precise reason why I use the above-mentioned platforms: you can now hire locals to show you their city in many European countries. Enter the peer-to-peer platform called Trip4Real.
Trip4real is a community marketplace that’s been created for locals to list their own guided tours, and for travelers to browse, buy, enjoy and rate them. The Spanish-based travel startup currently has offerings in many European cities in Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, the UK, Portugal, France and Italy. Tours such as Cook Authentic Paella with a Foodie in Barcelona, Berlin Bike tour with Erotic Film Stars, Discover the Parisian Bistrot Culture with Parisians, or Discover the City by Running with a Local in Amsterdam are just a sample of some of the quirky and fun experiences you can book on Trip4Real that will let you explore a destination like a local, with a local. You can filter your search by category, price and language, as well as being able to sort the results by popularity, price and rating.
This rather simple yet ingenious idea comes from Spanish former-traveler-cum-entrepreneur and self-proclaimed digital optimist Gloria Molins, who’s made a reality of her passion:
It all started when I myself was a traveler. I had been traveling all around the world, from Sydney to China, and I realized that the best experiences came from being with someone local, and venturing off the beaten tourist track. I have always been in tourism, so I did my research and realized that this could be an amazing business concept. I actually bought the domain trip4real.com from Cambodia! source
From the perspective of a freelancer (and following on my previous post about becoming self-employed and eventually location independent), this is such an inspiring and exciting story. And for you European cool cats reading this, Trip4Real represents an incredible opportunity to dabble into travel-oriented freelance work, build a name for yourself and start making great money on your own terms. Got a creative idea for a unique activity in your hometown you’d like visitors to enjoy? Or an amazing secret spot you’d like to help people discover? Are you a foodie? A photographer? A unicyclist? Great! You can sign up to become a Trip4Real guide right here. Surely you know your own town better (and, let’s face it, are a million times more interesting!) than a plain old guidebook and most definitely you have got something a lot more exciting and innovative to offer than those generic cookie-cutter organized tours. I am hoping that Trip4Real will eventually come to Canada and I will most definitely jump straight into the bangwagon. If ever I go home, that is.
This post is brought to you by Trip4Real. All opinions are, as always, 100% my own.