With the amount of new travel apps and ideas hitting the headlines each week, it can be really difficult to know which new sites will really help you with you travel plans.
From companies that are trying to make car rental less stressful (the answer to all our prayers!) to startups that make travel planning a piece of cake by making others to do it for you (pure genius!) below are my personal picks of the best travel startups and apps to check out in 2017.
Image: Janet Newenham
With an arsenal of over 100+ destination experts (professional travel bloggers, guidebook writers etc), Tripeasel helps you plan and book one of a kind holiday experiences for couples, families or solo travellers ranging from budget to luxury for destinations worldwide. I actually know more than a handful of bloggers and travel writers working for Tripeasel and most have travelled as much if not more than I have. We are talking true expert level. You are getting the best travel advice out there, from people who do it for a living, without having to spend hours (if not weeks!) scrolling through endless online articles and blogs looking for the best travel tips.
EasyTerra is an independent car rental comparison website that compares all the car rental rates worldwide, so you don't have to. Car rental is honestly one of the most stressful parts of my travelling career regardless of where I am located. I find I spend days looking for the perfect rental and end up tearing my hair out when all the extra fees continuously get added on. If EasyTerra can make my life easier, then they can probably make yours a little less stressful too.
Blacklane is a global professional driver service connecting people to professional chauffeurs via their mobile app, website and hotline. Booking an airport transfer, especially in a new city, can be very painful, especially if it's a city you are totally new to. I know what you're thinking...what about UBER? Well the reality is UBER isn't always available in some of the countries I've travelled to and many cities (like Johannesburg in South Africa) I would much prefer to have a guaranteed safe and professional ride to pick me up. One main difference also is that Blacklane drivers will actually come meet you in the arrivals hall with a sign so no mad manic trying to find your driver outside amongst the madness!
GeoRush is an online tool that crunches mind-boggling amounts of weather data to forecast peak conditions at thousands of global water sports locations. I can't tell you the amount of times I've been all set to head out surfing or planned a weekend of adventure only to discover the weather is awful (welcome to Ireland!). I love that GeoRush is data heavy so they do all the hard work so I don't have to! It seems like the perfect site for keen adventure enthusiasts to start planning their next trip.
TalkTalkBnb is a totally new, totally free, collaborative website that puts people wanting to travel in contact with people wanting to learn languages. TalkTalkBnb links travellers to hosts who let them stay for free. As a firm advocate of all types of sharing economy sites, from Couchsurfing to Airbnb or Homestay, I love the idea behind this travel startup and it's something I am excited to try out. I love having the opportunity to stay with a local and knowing that you will get to spend some time together, exchanging ideas and hopefully learning something new.
Taking on a very fresh, responsible and ethical approach in the volunteering scene is GivingWay - a FREE social platform that enables worldwide travellers and grassroots organizations seeking volunteers to directly connect in a simple manner. As someone who has volunteered abroad many times, almost always going directly through a local organization on the ground, I love this idea of GivingWay and recommend everyone thinking of volunteering overseas to check it out.
Skyroam's global WiFi hotspot keeps you connected around the world without the worry of roaming fees, unsecured connections or configuring SIMs. Keeping travellers connected wherever they go, this is of the must-have packing items of 2017. I got a SkyRoam WiFi hotspot just before my overland Cork to Cape Town trip and it saved me from disaster on many occasions!! Be it helping me to find my hostel in the Swiss mountains or figuring out how to pass 7 hours at the airport in Egypt without going crazy, it has been an absolute lifesaver! It's travelled with me to 18 countries and counting and is still going strong!
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