Withlocals has announced the launch of its travel guide app, which connects travelers with local hosts throughout Southeast Asia. The platform connects travelers with locals in their potential travel locations, allowing them to plan and book activities or plan trips with locals, or even eat home dinners with local hosts (as examples).
Upon launching the app, users can browse information and learn more about “authentic experiences” in eight countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Vietnam. When tapping on a country, the information can be further broken down for major cities in each. From there, users can post questions for locals in those cities or countries to answer, or plan a paid “experience” with locals in the region.
The app allows users to plan experiences across three main options. First is “Eat Withlocals,” which matches users with local home cooks, so they can experience the true culture of their destination by eating a meal in a family’s home. These experiences may focus on a particular dish, as an example.
Next is “Tour Withlocals,” which sees locals signing up to be tour guides for travelers. Each tour is listed alongside its destinations and included ticket or transportation options, all specific to the tour.
Finally, “Activities Withlocals” allows users to connect with local artists or other skilled workers, so they can learn more about their individual skills or hobbies.
Each activity is listed alongside its price, available dates, expected duration and other necessary information. This includes a look at the host, including any reviews they’ve received, and the background and/or personal information they’ve shared with the community. For instance, when booking an “Eat Withlocals” experience, the listing could include information on the location of the family’s home, which may (or may not) be near other landmarks worth checking out along the way.
“Since our launch in December 2013, we have been overwhelmed with the positive feedback that we received from our community, both hosts and travelers,” said Withlocals co-founder Marijn Maas, in a statement. “The development of the Withlocals app came as the next natural step. Our app changes the approach to traveling – no more travel guide books, but real, authentic suggestions from local hosts.”
Withlocals is available to download for free on the iTunes App Store and Google Play. The company wants to have 10,000 new home restaurants available in Asia in the next three years. It’s backed by $600,000 in funding from Greenhouse Group, a startup builder and backer.