Sometimes, you want to be a tourist. To just hop on the famous red double decker bus and have someone else schlep you around the city. Other times, you crave an off-the-beaten-track 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 alternative travel sites to help you get a taste of local living wherever you are. Read on for the best alternative travel sites you aren’t using!
I spend most of my time using buses, trains, and planes when I travel, and usually, those options are sufficient. But, I do want to share some alternate transportation websites with you, 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 as well as transport! Rent one on RVShare.
By Bus…sort of:
- Busabout is the best mix of traditional tour meets independent travel that I’ve seen, and definitely deserves it’s place on my list of the best alternative travel sites. It’s hop on, hop 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 too! 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 everyone really gets to experience a place like a local. But now you can! Not only are tours with locals more 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 just 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. It has many more location options than Eatwith, and is 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 experiences! Plus, they’re in a ton of cities worldwide.
Best of the rest:
For the adventurers, art enthusiasts, and family travelers – my best alternative travel 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, and for times like that, my best alternative travel sites are definitely worth trying out!
Have you ever tried any of these services? Which are your best alternative travel sites for local experiences? Share in the comments below!