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These days, it’s all about “authentic” travel. Hotels, tour companies, even Airbnb are now concerned about the travel experience you’re having — not just what you do or where you stay. But what does that really mean? And how can you travel authentically? Here at TPG we suggest using some apps that will help you to travel like, or even with a local. After all, there’s no better way to explore a destination than with those who live there! Download our favorites and try them out on your next trip.
One of the best ways to experience a culture is through food. Instead of dining at restaurants that may have overpriced menus geared for tourists, EatWith offers curated food experiences in 130 countries that will give you a better understanding of the cuisine in a particular destination. You can sign up for dinner parties, food tours, cooking classes and more using the app. EatWith allows you to search by destination, with filters for price, cuisine, languages, food preferences/allergies and event type. Savor a pizza tasting in Valentina’s home in Milan, have a barbecue on Ramiro’s patio in Argentina or take a cooking class at Pen’s farm in Thailand — you’ll even pick fresh vegetables from the garden to cook with. Get the app for free on Google Play or Apple.
Located in 50 cities around the world, Withlocals offers unique tours and guides to help you get to know your destination. You start by choosing a theme for your tour and then you select your guide. Guides post videos on their profiles so you can really get to ‘know’ the guides beforehand and pick the perfect one for you. It’s possible to chat with your local guide before your tour to add any personalized options, like a wine tasting or shopping stop to your tour too. The app is especially apt for families, with several tours created with the local destination and children in mind like treasure hunts. Get the app for free on Google Play or Apple.
Some may argue that it’s not food, but nightlife, that really shows you the soul of a city. This may be right, at least in spots like Las Vegas, Berlin or Ibiza! PartyWith allows you to party with locals in over 150 countries around the world — places like Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Lisbon, London, Los Angeles, New York City, São Paulo, San Francisco, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro and more. With search features like city, people or event, you have a variety of ways to discover the best party for you. Searching by events will help you search for exactly what you like to do, with choices such as concerts, festivals, happy hours and special parties thrown by nightclubs, bars or lounges. You have your own “party profile” and can search for other people with similar profiles, or simply search in the city where your visiting (or live) to pull in all the options. Get the app for $0.99 on Google Play or Apple.
Jetzy is a little bit different from some of the other apps on this list. The location-based app allows you to connect with locals and travelers in real time. You can share photos, give or ask for recommendations or even make plans to meet up with someone. Jetzy allows you to search by topic — things like fitness, food or weekend plans, ensuring you’ll be able to ask a local where the best yoga class, brunch spot or park is — and even see photos and meet them there. Sharing your own experiences and recommendations in your home city or while traveling and interacting with others will earn you points. These points can later be redeemed for rewards like spa or restaurant credits, hotel stays or full trips. Get the app for free on Google Play or Apple.
Meetup is all about interacting with locals and other travelers with mutual interests or hobbies. Whether you’re traveling or in your home city, take what you love and do more of it with Meetup. The app shows you groups that are formed around particular interests in your city, like yoga, photography, cooking, wine tasting, hiking, language exchange, cinema and much more. You can join groups to get updates on particular events that you may want to participate in. The app can even help for networking, as there are many groups dedicated to business and technology, or you can find co-working groups. Those traveling with kids can participate in family-friendly meetups, and it’s a great way for solo travelers to make friends and connect with others. Get it for free on Google Play or Apple.
If you’re not typically into guided, group tours or don’t feel like paying a hefty fee for a fancy private tour, Showaround can help you find locals willing to give you a more authentic tour of their home city for a cheaper price. Some will even offer tours for free because they want to practice their English or simply because they love meeting people from around the world. The app aims to provide more local experiences tailored to your interests, like checking out a new art gallery instead of the Louvre in Paris or drinking wine and eating tapas at local spots in Madrid. Search by your destination using filters like a male, female or couple guide, activities you’d like to do and languages you speak. It’s also possible to set a price range when searching; you can read reviews for guides as well as leave your own. Get it for free on Google Play or Apple.
The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), up to a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees