Travel hacking. Typically a term reserved for finding better fares and “hacking” your way to free flights through accumulating miles and points from credit cards and rewards programs. I’m expanding the term. I think travel hacking is more than better deals. It’s about better experiences.
After all, travel really is about the experiences right? If you can get there cheap, that’s great. But once you’re there, if you can explore easier or cheaper, and create more interesting itineraries without much personal legwork, that’s pretty awesome too. The following are six services I’ve either tried out myself, or just come across and am intrigued by, that help make exploration easy.
Amons is one of the coolest exploratory tools I’ve come across recently. I’m a big WWOOFing advocate, and have done quite a lot. It’s great to travel new places and be able to stay for free in return for a little work. Amons allows people to offer short-term accommodation to guests willing to help with tasks such as house renovation, language lessons or babysitting in return for bed and board. and it offers guests those opportunities to trade work for stay.
Hosts all over the world can list their homes on the site for free and travelers can pay a monthly subscription of $6.99, enabling them to browse or search the offers and connect with potential hosts. Amons also supports private video chats, allowing people to get to know each other better before confirming arrangements. Awesome.
With Atlast Obscura, escape the beaten path and discover those hidden, awe-inspiring corners of the world you’ve been dreaming about. Atlas Obscura is a collaborative project built by a community of explorers bent on discovering and sharing the world’s most curious places.
Some possible places to explore include an 80-year-old house built out of newspaper in Rockport, Massachusetts, a fiery crater in Turkmenistan that has been burning since 1971, or a chapel built out of human bones in Portugal. Amazing experiences await!
Find and share new travel experiences. Vayable allows locals to utilize their time and knowledge to create new sources of income by sharing experiences in the cities they know and love. At the same time, this creates new, and often more meaningful, experiences for people to explore.
Discover unique, cultural experiences from walking photography tours and street art experiences, to ethnic food and backroads wine tastings. Local artists, designers, foodies, teachers, and more, are the creators and curators of these experiences. Try it out!
YapQ is a search tool for finding “must see” places around the world. YapQ uses an algorithm that rates millions of places around the world by their popularity, which allows them to suggest the best routes anywhere, based on where you want to go.
And by routes, as a free navigation app, YapQ is designed to get you from point A to point B not in the fastest way, but in the most interesting way. Scenic matters. Customize your routes, set your preferences, and explore more, without feeling lost.
VacayBug is about authenticity and ease of exploration. Create a “Passport” and document your favorite trips and favorite spots along the way. Then share those insights and recommendations with others while searching for unique places to explore yourself.
By documenting your trips in your VacayBug Passport, you’re not only showing off where you’ve personally traveled, but you’re helping others skip the unfamiliarity and more easily find the experiences that you feel matter most for that destination.
Accomable embodies the “exploration made easy” mentality. Their aim to make travel accessible. As accessible for disabled people as it is for anyone else.
Accomable is a listing service, much like Airbnb, for accessible properties around the world. Find homes, apartments, holiday rentals, and more, available for rent and accessible for all. This is not only a great niche in the sharing economy space, but is truly, a great mission.
These are just a few of the services out there making exploration easier. I’m going to keep the travel hacking series going, so if you know of other great tools out there that help travelers find better deals and better experiences, please let me know in the comments below!