Since the launch of Airbnb, we’re finding that travel doesn’t have to be so touch and go. It used to be that we’d touch down in a new city for a few days of very scheduled sightseeing, sleep at hotels and rent cars from big businesses. Then when we got home, we’d realize our Camera Roll looked just like every other person’s who’s ever visited that city.
You can already rent cars from locals and rent houses from locals, but what about seeing cities like locals? Like, maybe you want to visit New York and get the gist of what it actually feels like to be a New Yorker. This week, to Upgrade Your Life we’ve found eight apps that will guide you through your next trip so you can really experience new cities instead of getting stuck in tourist traps.
1. Get Recommendations: From bars and restaurants to boutiques and museums, who better to get recommendations from in a new city than the people who already live there? Localeur is an app/website that might make you cheat on Yelp. In each of Localeur’s 12 cities, 20 or so “Localeurs” use their insider knowledge to give you only the best-of-the-best suggestions of what to do, see, eat and drink while you’re visiting.
No more discovering hidden gems long after you’ve visited a place and no more scrolling through endless reviews. If you’re a local in one of their cities, you can upvote or down vote your favorite spots too. (This one is great even if you’re already a local.)
DL It: Free on iOS. Coming to Android soon.
2. Get Your Questions Answered: Sometimes you have a question that’s just not Google-able. Like, “Which club has the best techno music?” or “Which park is best for a picnic?” That would be the perfect time to use AskNative. With the app or the website, you can ask any question and people who live in the area you’re visiting can answer. Getting a recommendation straight from a question you asked can really make your travel experience more personal, and you may even meet a new friend. You can even chat with people directly and translate across multiple languages. If you don’t have a specific question, you can just get tips when you arrive at your destination.
DL It: Free on iOS.
3. Hear Stories from a City: If you’re a fan of podcasts, you need to know about Detour. With this app, you can go on audio tours of your city. It’s only in San Francisco right now, and there’s a special SXSW edition for Austin. To use the app, just go on a walk in said city, and you’ll be guided through the history and culture of the area you’re actually walking in at that very moment.
It’s like a way cooler, less awkward version of those tourist walking tours, complete with full production value, interviews, music and more. It’s seriously a full-circle media experience. They give you a map, tell you how long the tour will take and let you know how much transit fare will cost. We can’t wait to try this in other cities too. In the meantime, if you’re visiting San Francisco, it’s a must-try.
DL It: Free on iOS.
4. Get Full Travel Plans: Localfu does all of the legwork for you with the help of an insightful local. Localfus are experts on everything from nightlife to family activities. You just let them know what you’re looking for, and they’ll send you a whole travel plan with addresses, images and maps — all you need to start your local adventure. Localfu lets you choose someone who does stuff you like to do and asks them for suggestions. This one is a website, not an app, but your travel plan will be mobile friendly.
5. For a Good Party: This app keeps you plugged into what’s going on at the best local clubs and dives wherever you are. It’s called Party With a Local, and you can put a request out for the kind of place you’re looking for and even see partiers nearby. Whether you want to go out for a good happy hour or party the night away, you can skip all of the tourist places (with overpriced drinks) and get right to a community of people who go out in that city on the regular.
6. For Insider Food Tips: Sometimes, it’s just not good enough to see pictures of the food at a restaurant. Sometimes you really want to get a feel for the place. Tastemade puts you right on the scene with user-generated videos showing you the atmosphere and the food. It’s the perfect way to show up feeling like a local before you even get there. You may even get leads on the best thing to order. Once you get the swing of things, go ahead and add your own videos too.
7. For Finding Events: This app is currently only in New York City, but we’re keeping an eye on it in hopes that it spreads like wildfire. Fever is an app that alerts you to events that are going on in the city on that very day so you can scout out fun, new experiences. The events are so cool, you’ll feel okay skipping the the Statue of Liberty altogether.
8. For Real-Time Translations: Struggling with a foreign language can make you feel like a total traveling noob. Whether you’re speaking to locals in a foreign country or just trying to read a menu, it helps to know the language. If you’ve ever tried flipping through a translation dictionary, you know that it’s not the most efficient way to go. Speak and Translate is like having your own multi-lingual BFF right in your pocket. You can type or speak into the app for a translation. You can even have the app translate and speak words and phrases back to you so you can learn how to say them yourself. The app has you covered for 100 languages, and it works on your Apple Watch too.
DL It: Free on iOS.
How do you travel like a local? Give us all your tips in the comments!
(Feature image via Detour)