A great way to discover the heart of a city—the cool cafes, eclectic boutiques, authentic restaurants, art districts, etc. is to go to the places the locals go. Forget about carrying outdated guide books around town or trying to figure out if a website travel review is from a tour operator or legitimate traveler, several start-ups have created apps to link tourist with local people who can provide first hand experiences about what to eat, see and do. From sleeping in a local’s apartment to getting them to cook you a meal there, these 16 apps will turn you into an insider anywhere you go.
Leave your guidebooks behind and rely on the inside scoop – just in time for the holidays.
Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world.
Whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 34,000 cities and 190 countries. And with world-class customer service and a growing community of users, Airbnb is the easiest way for people to monetize their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions.
Whether you’re looking to explore the Hawker Food Stalls in Singapore or taste Filipino-inspired tapas and cocktails in San Francisco, Feastly offers shared dining experience in unique locations around the world.
Meet friends for drinks, movies, and concerts wherever you are. Sure, these people aren’t your friends yet, but they might be soon. From tech talks to trivia, happy hour to hikes, just fill in your interests and Meetup will let you see what’s happening around you that falls into those categories, helping you meet people that share your interests anywhere in the world.
4. Field Trip
People will confuse you with a native as you lead them to under-the-radar eateries while rattling off fun facts and local history. Based on your current location and interests, this app recommends what to see, eat, and do around you, and will notify you as soon as you get close to something interesting (food and drink, architecture, history), drawing from websites like Zagat and Atlas Obscura.
This app keeps you plugged into what’s going on at the best local clubs and dives wherever you are, and you can put a request out for the kind of place you’re looking for and even see partiers nearby. Whether you want to go out for a good happy hour or party the night away, you can skip all of the tourist places (with overpriced drinks) and get right to a community of people who go out in that city on the regular. Similar to Meetup, users will post their plans and you can piggyback on them, meeting people for drinks at a wine bar or shots at a hot new club.
The people we meet change our lives. A friend, a date, a romance, or even a chance encounter can change someone’s life forever. Tinder empowers users around the world to create new connections. Unlike real life, on Tinder you only get messages from the people you’re interested in.
UrbanBuddy is a platform for connecting hotel guests to locals through real-time chat! Get expert advice, recommendations and true hospitality from our carefully vetted buddies. You’ll also get direct access to your hotel’s amenities and a highly curated directory of local hotspots right on your phone.
Nothing immerses you more into a culture than a home cooked meal in someone’s private home. Available in 150 countries, the Eatwith app is a perfect digital companion, especially if you’re traveling solo. Hosts can set up meals, while users simply pick which time, place, or menu appeals to them the most. Chefs range from professionally trained, Michelin-starred chefs to home cooks. Then guest browse unique experiences and book their seat for brunch, lunch or dinner.
Triip will pair you with a local, who, for a small fee, will either cook for you in their home, show you around town, or teach you a local skill. Triip’s local experts will tell you everything from nightlife to family activities. You just let them know what you’re looking for, and they’ll send you a whole travel plan with addresses, images and maps — all you need to start your local adventure. This one is a website, not an app, but your travel plan will be mobile friendly.
A social city and travel guide with recommendations in over 90 countries. Unlike most review apps and sites, the app is filled with positive reviews only. In less than 200 characters users can review beautiful photos and videos that provide insight into what’s happening around town. And, you can follow people whose experiences inspire you, create a wish list experiences that you want to try and earn status points when people wish list your posts.
Sometimes, it’s just not good enough to see pictures of the food at a restaurant. Sometimes you really want to get a feel for the place. Tastemade puts you right on the scene with user-generated videos showing you the atmosphere and the food. It’s the perfect way to show up feeling like a local before you even get there. You may even get leads on the best thing to order. Once you get the swing of things, go ahead and add your own videos too.
Struggling with a foreign language can make you feel like a total traveling noob. Speak and Translate is like having your own multi-lingual BFF right in your pocket. You can type or speak into the app for a translation. You can even have the app translate and speak words and phrases back to you so you can learn how to say them yourself. The app has you covered for 100 languages, and it works on your Apple Watch too.
Localeur is a community of locals who want to help you experience the best places to eat, drink and play. Jump in, add your favorite places and earn local influence.
The simplest money converter out there, Currency is free to download and to use and it provides exchange rate information for over 500 currencies and countries. Convert your cash on your own and eliminate the risk of vendors sensing they have a tourist on their hands.
Listen to travel insight from HearPlanet, the guidebook that speaks out loud on your device and tells you what to see and where to go. HearPlanet finds the lesser-known spots and guides you along – via their advanced mapping engine – to find global coverage of over 300,000 locations.
Matches you and your friends with other people who have similar interest. Here’s how it works: Based on your preferences, Grouper uses a scheduling tool to find a time and location. Take note, this is not a dating site. It simply takes the headache out of coordinating groups of like-minded people by setting up drinks between 2 groups of friends.