If you have travelled alone, you know eating alone or strolling by yourself could ultimately get boring and lonely. There would be moments when you wish you had a friend in the city – someone fun who could give an authentic, invaluable holiday experience. But why wish for a chance encounter? Nowadays, there are multiple apps to help the solo traveller connect with locals. We’ve rounded out our top 5, based on popularity and credibility.
Vayable offers unique and enriching cultural experiences, not your typical tours.
Let us say you are a fashionista travelling to New York. Your holiday bucket list consists of 1) touring the office of a fashion magazine and looking through the upcoming edition’s storyboard; 2) learning garment history in; 3) have a Devil Wears Prada moment with an actual personal assistant of a world-famous designer. You spend hours on the web swimming through information and looking for leads. Many days after, your research has provided with little helpful data. Solution? Vayable.
This free app works like Airbnb. Users register, browse through the tours offered, click on it, and start negotiating with a “Vayable insider”.
Vayable’s insiders are independent tour guides and curators who have passed the vetting process. They compose of a diverse mix of interests, from artists to business executives, to Peace Corps volunteers to philanthropists.
Vayable has more than 5,000 insiders in 600 destinations.
For an idea of costs, the least expensive tour — a street food affair in Monti, Italy – costs USD44 for 3 hours.
Unlike Vayable, this free app helps travellers connect with locals as well as like-minded tourists even before they arrive. It’s like a Tinder for travellers, with more authentication features.
Users create their profile; key in their travel dates, destinations, attractions and events they’re headed for; and indicate preferences about who they want to meet up with. Once done, Tripr shows other users with the same dates and preferences and can start swiping for potential travel buddies.
Once a match is made, a connection is done on Facebook. By logging on to FB, users can verify each other’s identity.
Imagine being whipped up a meal by your favourite MasterChef contestant, dining in their own homes, and sharing stories with them or other travellers. It’s all possible via EatWith.
Vogue magazine dubbed EatWith as the “Airbnb of Global Dining”. Through their free platform, it helps you find local chefs who are all are passionate about connecting cultures through food.
Travellers browse menus or themed dinners, book a table, and… voila… a date is set! Each of their 650 talented hosts has been vetted to ensure guests enjoy their meal-sharing experience.
Meals range from USD25 to USD50.
When you are craving to have an amazing night out with a local over craft beer or a music fest, download PartyWith. It’s a community of more than 150,000 party lovers from 150 destinations.
During registration, PartyWith’s makes it clear that their app is not for hook-ups. It’s really about connecting anyone anywhere for nightlife. Users review the people whom they’ve met via the app – something that dating apps never do.
5. Tour Bar
Tour Bar defines itself as an international travel dating site with a million verified users.
Users need to comply with a 3-step verification process. After users upload a profile photo, they need to take a second picture holding a piece of paper with “Tour Bar” on it. Once done, users are also asked to upload a valid identification card, like a passport or driving licence. Lastly, users send a verification code sent to the user’s mobile numbers.
It has 50,000 users worldwide, with a 4.1 rating on the Google Play Store.
BankBazaar tip: Since you’ll most likely be paying through the app for these experiences, you’ll want to use a good credit card for online spends like the HSBC Revolution Card. It will earn you 2 miles/dollar (5x points) on online transactions with no minimum spends or limit on the number of miles you can earn. Check if you’re eligible and apply for this card on BankBazaar.sg.