Sometimes, you want to be a tourist. To just hop on the famous red double decker bus and have someone schlep you around the city. Other times, you crave an off-the-beaten-path adventure. An experience that you’ll tell your grandchildren about. Luckily, the world is offering more and more of these local and off-beat experiences. With new products and services popping up daily, it’s hard to keep track of them all. I’ve rounded up some of my favorite travel sites that help you get a taste of local living. Read on for the best travel sites you aren’t using!
I spend most of my time using buses, trains, and planes while I travel, and usually, those options are sufficient. But, I do want to share with you some alternate transportation websites: for the times when “the usual” just won’t cut it for the adventures you have in mind.
What is the best way to get from one city to another? That depends on how you define “best.” Luckily for you, this burning transportation question can be answered by Rome 2 Rio. The site shows you EVERY possibility on how to get from point A to point B – including the time, cost, and mode of transportation. It’s amazing.
- Paid hitchhiking with Blablacar. Don’t worry – it’s safe!
- Rent someone else’s car instead of paying a rental company with Getaround, Hubber, or Drivy.
- Book a private yacht and captain with Incrediblue. Prices are actually surprisingly reasonable when you book with a group of people.
- Own your own boat for the day with Boatbound.
- Rent someone’s bike wherever you go with Spinlister.
- A house on wheels means saving money on accommodation too! Rent one on RVShare.
By Bus…sort of:
- Busabout is the best mix of traditional tour meets independent travel. Hop on and off where you’d like, and get picked up one day or one week later – it’s totally up to you. Not only is it reasonably priced, but it’s incredibly flexible and a great way for a solo traveler to meet people as well! Just book online and you’re ready to go. Did I mention they run services all over the world?
Experiences by Locals:
Anyone can grab a guidebook and traipse from monument to monument but not every gets to really experience a place like a local. But now you can! Not only are tours with locals personal, but they also offer you an insight into parts of the city you would have never thought to explore – whether it be street art, hidden hiking trails, or food market tours. You can always be independent and do your own local exploring with the help of resources like Spotted by Locals. But for those of you interested in curated tours, check out the below sites!
Whether you’re tired of eating at restaurants and eager for a home-cooked meal, or looking for a unique foodie experience; these are the sites for you.
- Eatwith: Multi-course and high-quality dining in people’s homes or in unique venues. The menus are truly incredible!
- Bookalokal: Another website for local dining experiences. Much more location options than Eatwith, and not always located in someone’s home either.
- Traveling Spoon: Eat, cook, or tour with a local! This site offers these opportunities and more in Asia.
- BonAppetour: Offers dinners with locals, but also includes interesting sensory and unique dining experience! Plus, they’re in a ton of cities worldwide.
Best of the rest:
For the adventurers, art enthusiasts, and family travelers – these sites have something for everyone!
- Peek: A little on the pricier side, but provides an excellent list of adventure classes and tours in local cities.
- Context: Small and curated tours led by professionals in the field. For example – a museum guided tour with an art historian.
- Vayable: Everything from art to food to adventure tours can be found on Vayable. Both Vayable employees and travelers rate tours and the site has options that suit any time frame or price range. Get $10 off by using my referral code.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with going the traditional route when it comes to tours, meals, or transportation. But sometimes you’ll find that going outside of the box makes a trip that much more memorable!
Have you ever tried any of these services? Which are your favorite websites for local experiences? Share in the comments below!