The Best Travel Sites You Aren’t Using

Some of my favorite travel sites that help you get a taste of local living. Click to read the best travel sites you aren’t using from

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!



Some of my favorite travel sites that help you get a taste of local living. Click to read the best alternative travel sites you aren’t using from

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.


The “How”:

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.

By Car:

  • Paid hitchhiking with Blablacar. Don’t worry – it’s safe!
  • Rent someone else’s car instead of paying a rental company with Getaround.

By Boat:

  • Book a private yacht and captain with Nautal. Prices are actually surprisingly reasonable when you book with a group of people.
  • Own your own boat for the day with Boatsetter.

By Bike:

  • Rent someone’s bike wherever you go with Spinlister.

By RV:

  • 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:

Some of my favorite travel sites that help you get a taste of local living. Click to read the best alternative travel sites you aren’t using from

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! Read my review of Eatwith here.
  • 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.
  • Local food tours and experiences: Check some fo the ones I’ve done on my travels here: AmsterdamAthensCairoMadrid (twice), PetraSingapore, and Valencia (also twice).
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I wrote a whole post about alternative accommodation, which you can check out here.

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.


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!

Some of my favorite travel sites that help you get a taste of local living. Click to read the best alternative travel sites you aren’t using from
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16 thoughts on “The Best Travel Sites You Aren’t Using

  1. Pamela Konjevod says:

    I heard about most of them but daamn for sure writing down some of them, hope they spread out and have more people around the world 😀

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      Let me know if you ever use any of them! Would love to hear your experiences. I love that these sites help us connect with people around the world 🙂

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      Agreed Andra! I can’t believe I didn’t learn about it until last year. It’s a lifesaver when planning multi-city adventures! I actually tried Blablacar for the first time this past summer in Spain and it was a great way to meet locals and super safe :). I highly recommend it if you get a chance to use it!

  2. Sara Cormeny says:

    Your “best of the rest” section really spoke to me — I am always looking for excellent cultural experiences on the road! To that end, I think Time Out London and Time Out New York are websites with awesome up-to-date listings and reviews for theatre, comedy shows, music, and festivals.

    I usually search a destination name on my Kindle and then look at self-published guides by locals to get a sense of the place, and have read some enjoyable books as a result.

    To that end, I have self-published a guide to Washington DC evening entertainment (dinner, show, drinks all in one neighborhood), which is updated quarterly and showcases the best of food, theatre, drinks and a fun local experience for anyone visiting the city.

    I just love, love, love the do-it-yourself travel style, thanks for your tips!

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      Oh you’re totally right, how could I have forgotten Time Out? It isn’t big here in Los Angeles but I always look it at globally.
      That’s a REALLY smart tip!! I’d never even considered checking out self-published guides. How do you go about finding the self-published ones amongst the piles of big brands? Just curious 🙂
      I’ve only been to DC briefly but I’ll definitely check yours out for my next visit. Feel free to write the name!

      Really glad you liked the post and found it useful! Thanks for commenting and reading 🙂

      • Sara Cormeny says:

        So glad you’ll have a chance to check out my Kindle book, The Insider’s Guide to Great Evenings Out in Washington DC.

        As to the question of how to find offbeat guides on Kindle — while I’m on my Kindle, I usually just type the name of a destination in Search. From there, sometimes the first page of results includes cool self-published or small-press nearly out-of-print guides, generally ranging from $0.99 (like ours) to $6.99. If not, I will click on one of the popular guides and then in the “other books like this one” the more offbeat and cheaper books show up. Then I can spend a good 20 minutes nosing around for good buys!

        And, just to give you some titles to start with, here are my favorite offbeat Kindle travel books so far, in the order I purchsed them:

        Jaywalking with the Irish, from Lonely Planet Travel Literature
        Perfect Phrases in French for Confident Travel by Eliane Kurbegov
        The Revealed Rome Handbook by Amanda Ruggeri
        Tips for the Table: All You Need to Know When Dining Out in Italy by Paolo Tosolini
        Rome the Second TIme: 15 Itineraries that Don’t Go to the Coliseum by Dianne Bennett
        Child Octopus: Edible Adventures in Hong Kong by Matthew Amster-Burton

        • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

          AWESOME. Thanks so much for all the information! I’ll definitely check these out :). In the meantime, happy travels!

  3. Nina says:

    OMG, i think i know many sites, but have to be honest, havent heard of any of listed sites. Gotta check them out! Thanks!

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