7 Travel {like a local} Websites

Posted on September 22, 2016

Inner Beauty

There are thousands of  travel apps, websites & blogs, all worth exploring- if you have the time to search. Here are 7 online guides where you can learn to travel like a local.
I use Yelp, Foursquare and TripAdvisor even when I’m not leaving town. They are perfect for checking out the top tourist attractions and the best places to eat when you’re traveling-but these websites will help you find adventure, meet fellow travelers & make new friends, and live like a local!

travel and surf

RootsRated is a travel website for people who love the outdoors!
Get some fresh air and explore the cities on your itinerary while hiking, running, biking, skiing, paddling…you name it, you can find it. RootsRated harnesses local outdoor retailers and local expert adventurers who will help you find your thrill. At last count the website has nearly 90 U.S. cities listed. From trail running in Portland, Maine to surfing in San Diego, California.

P.S. Check out the stories tab if you want inspiration on where to book your next outdoor adventure.

Travel Cooking Class

Vimbly’s website is a place to explore thousands of local activities and then book them directly from the website.
The site lists activities based on these categories: “learn”, “explore” (check out the extreme explorations!), “eat”, “drink”, “watch”, “date” & “fight”* (*mostly martial arts- not bar brawls).

The cities listed are only in the U.S. and limited to major metropolitan areas. However, I recommend checking Vimbly out if you live nearby or planning a visit to any of the cities listed.

Travel Street grafftti art

Atlas Obsura is hands down the winner of the day for finding hidden gems. I searched both my current hometown and the city I grew up in; I thought I knew about every interesting thing to do in both towns. Clearly, I need to make some plans for a day trip. Search Atlas Obscura by “destination”, “most popular”, “newly added” and “random”.

Go ahead check out your city- have you seen it all? 

travel restaurant

Virtual Tourist (VT) is an online community of locals and travelers sharing real experience and advice.
Start with the Travel Guides tab in the navigation menu; the drop down will let you explore your destination by location.
If you want a real answer from someone who lives in or has been to the city you would like to explore head right to the Forums tab and search by location- ask your own question or learn more by reading other travel questions & answers.

The coolest feature of VT is its Meet Members tab, do you want to have coffee with locals or fellow travelers in Krakow? Search Meetings- when you create a member profile you can organize your own meeting-as always be safe out there!

In spite of its “marriage” to Trip Advisor these reviews are unbiased and you can’t pay to get to the top here.   Take your time to explore the site- is not pretty or one of the easiest to navigate, but with a little patience you will find some great travel information here.

Travel China Town

Much like Virtual Tourist, Like a Local Guide is an online community of users. At the time of writing there were 5,127 local contributors from 353 cities to guide you to the best tours and activities, sights, restaurants, cafes, bars and shops. It also features a forum where you can get your questions answered or peruse lists according to your interests, all curated by locals.
You can search destinations by scrolling all the way to the bottom of the page and clicking “locals” -all of the cities represented and their contributors are located there.

The site’s navigation is fairly straightforward, but does have paid advertising. Download the mobile app for iOS and Android and you will have access to offline maps with suggested places nearby for your destination (for purchase).

I would love to see grow- currently it is limited to larger cities, most located in Europe. For example, Miami has only one reviewer; seriously?! Come on Miami – represent!

Travel Cafe bouganvilla

If you’ve traveled further than your front door you most likely have heard of Lonely Planet, they’ve been around for over 40 years. Their books are an indispensable resource for any trip, long or short!

The website is a fabulous resource on its own, but the Thorn Tree forums are a community of travelers that cover every possible place you’ve dreamed of visiting. Find a travel buddy, browse by country or interest, or join the chat on Tree House forums.

Travel Piano Concert

Book a tour – no- an experience – with an insider who is passionate about their city on! Choose from an estate sale tour in Minneapolis, biking the backroads of Tuscany, a private piano concert with views of Manhattan (wow!), to secret gardens of Athens.

I might be tempted to plan my next trip based only on the rich cultural opportunities the Vayable platform offers.  This website allows anyone to create an experience in their city as long as it meets their guidelines.

Their mission statement? this. is. awesome -“Vayable’s mission is to become the global platform for real-life experiences. We are enabling locals to use their time and knowledge to earn a living by generating new sources of income, while creating a better world where people can experience richer, more meaningful lives.” 

If you take advantage of any of these websites next time you travel, share your adventure with us on our Facebook Page!