No one wants to feel like a tourist. And these days, people don’t even want to feel like travelers, but want to experience a place like a local. Luckily, there’s an app for that. Multiple apps even.
From sleeping in a local’s apartment to getting them to cook you a meal there, these 10 apps will turn you into an insider anywhere you go.
The Airbnb app allows travelers to peruse over 600,000 home listings in more than 34,000 cities. Hosts are usually happy to share their favorite hangouts, and neighborhood gems, giving any stay a unique local taste.
What’s more local than hitching a ride with a buddy? Currently in Europe only, this app connects drivers that have empty seats with travelers in need of a ride. Even better, you can choose your desired level of chattiness and engagement through the blabla index, making Euro travel more sociable… and cheaper, as you’re basically just helping cover gas, like a true friend.
Nothing immerses you more into a culture than a home cooked meal in someone’s private home. Eatwith allows you to do just that, in 150 countries. The meal-sharing app connects tourists and locals willing to cook for them for a fee. Hosts can set up meals, while users simply pick which time, place, or menu appeals to them the most. And yes, the over 500 chefs on Eatwith have all been vetted.
People will confuse you with a native as you lead them to under-the-radar eateries while rattling off fun facts and local history. Based on your current location and interests, this app recommends what to see, eat, and do around you, and will notify you as soon as you get close to something interesting (food and drink, architecture, history), drawing from websites like Zagat and Atlas Obscura.
Meet friends for drinks, movies, and concerts wherever you are. Sure, these people aren’t your friends yet, but they might be soon. From tech talks to trivia, happy hour to hikes, just fill in your interests and the app will let you see what’s happening around you that falls into those categories, helping you meet people that share your interests anywhere in the world.
The name says it all. You’re on vacation, so let loose by connecting with some locals for a night out. Similar to Meetup, users will post their plans and you can piggyback on them, meeting people for drinks at a wine bar or shots at a hot new club. The app is location based and has over 20,000 users in 160 countries, and lets you set a status to convey what you’re up for, so that people can invite you out.
Instead of looking lost while grasping a map, or outing yourself as a tourist by asking for directions, UrbanBuddy connects travelers to specially selected locals who will answer any and all of your questions asap — usually in less than two minutes. Like a concierge on your phone, you can ask anything from “what is the best place for brunch?” to “how do I get there?” The app also features local recommendations, allows you to make reservations, and often offers discounts at local businesses.
Vayable lets locals show visitors their world by letting them dream up their own tours. From touring Rio’s slums with a gringo rapper to a hipster tour of Paris, you can literally do anything, anywhere, and with a passionate local.
Should you find yourself in Southeast Asia, the Netherlands or Spain, this app will pair you with a local, who, for a small fee, will either cook for you in their home, show you around town, or teach you a local skill. The app also offers location-based suggestions, and features both host verification and reviews by other travelers.