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A great way to discover the heart of a city–the cool cafes, eclectic boutiques, authentic restaurants, art districts, etc. is to go to the places the locals go. Forget about carrying outdated guide books around town or trying to figure out if a website travel review is from a tour operator or legitimate traveler, several start-ups have created apps to link tourist with local people who can provide first hand experiences about what to eat, see and do.
- Localeur — Â Features a community of recommendations from locals on the best places to eat, drink and play. Simply download the app and gain access to a community of recommendations on everything from where to find the best dim sum in New York to the best boozy bars in New Orleans. Recognized as one of the top apps for travel by the Today Show and Forbes, the app is in 14 major U.S. cities with plans to expand to as many as 25 cities by the end of this year.
- EatWith — Encourages people to have dinner with strangers in foreign countries. With locations around the world including the United States, Russia, Turkey, Japan, Budapest, and Hong Kong to name a few, the eat with app is a perfect digital companion, especially if you’re traveling solo. Here’s how it works: First, the EatWith team interviews each host (currently only 4% of chefs are accepted). Chefs range from professionally trained, Michelin-starred chefs to home cooks. Then guest browse unique experiences and book their seat for brunch, lunch or dinner.
- HeyLets — A social city and travel guide with recommendations in over 90 countries. Unlike most review apps and sites, the app is filled with positive reviews only. In less than 200 characters users can review beautiful photos and videos that provide insight into what’s happening around town. And, you can follow people whose experiences inspire you, create a wish list experiences that you want to try and earn status points when people wish list your posts.
- Feastly — Whether you’re looking to explore the Hawker Food Stalls in Singapore or taste Filipino-inspired tapas and cocktails in San Francisco, Feastly offers shared dining experience in unique locations around the world.
- Grouper —Matches you and your friends with other people who have similar interest. Here’s how it works: Based on your preferences, Grouper uses a scheduling tool to find a time and location. Take note, this is not a dating site. It simply takes the headache out of coordinating groups of like-minded people by setting up drinks between 2 groups of friends.
Do you have any favorite apps to help youÂ avoid touristy hot spots and experience city culture from a local point of view? Leave me a comment below.