Take New Adventures in Familiar Places
By Evan Hung, Co-Founder/CEO at Zipskee
When a friend returns from an adventure abroad—the question, “how was your trip?” always seems to be answered with a laundry list of the sights and places they’ve visited.
However, there are times when your friend will light up and share stories of the people they met. You can feel the passion as they tell you about the day they met some locals while riding on a bus, invited them to a soccer game, and later took them to a charming hole-in-the-wall restaurant for dinner. You can sense how unforgettable the experience was, as they eagerly swipe through the photos on their phone, tell you stories about every image, and recall how their new friends helped them experience something unforgettable.
When hearing stories like these, we can’t help but smile and be envious because: Who wouldn’t want an impactful experience while traveling somewhere amazing, having the good fortune to meet up with some locals, and going on adventures with them? That’s the kind of situation most people daydream about as we scroll through Instagram on our lunch break.
In fact, recent studies show that 78% of us are looking for more adventurous travel and 69% of us are looking to have more diverse cultural experiences. Even when we’re in between bigger trips—we still crave adventure. The good news?
We don’t have to travel to have those kind of experiences. We forget that on any given day, travelers visit the cities we live in. In other words, we could be the local in the adventures we dream about.
Guiding travelers is like giving a gift and receiving one at the same time. There are people visiting your city who would love to know about your favorite sushi spot or your go-to bar on Friday nights. Taking them to the hidden gems only locals know about gives you both an amazing shared experience.
Many travelers are friends you haven’t met yet. Think about your best friend—imagine them walking around the streets of Paris. Consider the hundreds of Parisians who will walk by them, never realizing they just passed the most interesting person you know. Then, think about how many people’s “best friends” are visiting your city right now.
We can fall in love with our city (again) through a traveler’s eyes. Sometimes your own home is the most unfamiliar tourist destination to you. Sharing your city’s best places with travelers immerses you in the culture and sights you regularly pass by. When you connect travelers with the “must-do” things in your city, you reconnect with what’s great about your home.
So what does it take to be someone’s vacation hero? Here are three ways you can connect with travelers and offer to be their guide:
1. Check out public events on social media: Look for upcoming events in your area—festivals, concerts, and cultural celebrations—then find their online event pages on sites like Facebook or BandsInTown. Check out your city’s hashtag on Instagram and Twitter to see what’s going on and connect with those who share your interests.
2. Tell your friends you’re eager to guide: Your friends have “best friends” that travel who may be coming to your area soon. Make a point of telling people that you’d enjoy showing their friends around when they’re in your city and ask them to connect you.
3. Connect socially online: Make it even easier on yourself by connecting with travelers via online platforms that allow you to search for travelers in your city who are looking for a guide to show them around or seeking fun, local experiences. Research shows that travelers are more likely to plan their own adventures in search of unique experiences off the beaten path.
Bottom line: We can be the catalyst for someone else’s adventure and experience our city in a whole new light at the same time. By becoming friends with visiting travelers, we become the source of memorable adventures & great stories—stories that will be passionately shared over travel recaps all around the world.
Remember to take lots of pictures so you can show your friends how awesome it is to be a guide in your own city—you might inspire them to do the same one day!
About the Author
Evan Hung is the Co-Founder and CEO of Zipskee, a social-discovery platform that connects travelers and locals around the world. He is a graduate of Wake Forest University and has experience in eCommerce, brand strategy, and business development. Zipskee was founded in 2015 on the belief that people make the culture, and connecting with culture is the best part of traveling. The platform can be used to share recommendations, arrange meet ups, and experience the real side of a destination that you can only get when meeting locals — Zipskee’s mission is to make it easy to make friends wherever you go. In Evan’s spare time, he can be found teaching hip-hop dance, playing music, and traveling the world.