I’ve always been passionate about exploring places through locals’ eyes – it’s one of the main reasons why I travel in the first place.
But finding locals who are friendly, knowledgeable about their city and want to spend their time showing you around isn’t always the easiest thing to do.
Luckily the Internet has made it easier to meet fun locals. And no, I’m not talking about Tinder (although some of the experiences are pretty hands-on).
Today, I want to introduce you to Trip4Real – a platform aimed at connecting travellers with locals. Oh, and that paid travel job opportunity I mentioned? Be patient, grasshopper, for we will get to it shortly.
What is Trip4Real?
Trip4Real is a peer-to-peer community where locals offer a glimpse of their city through their eyes. In simple English… it’s basically a market place where locals can advertise their own guided tours to travellers. You can easily browse, filter by price, category, language, popularity and rating, and find your favourites.
The concept started in Barcelona but has now extended to many European cities in the UK, Ireland, Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, France and Italy. The tours are quirky and fun – think a Berlin Bike tour with erotic film stars, discovering the Parisian bistros culture or a Mad Hatter’s Tea Part in East London.
I absolutely love what its founder Gloria Molins has to say about starting Trip4Real – her story definitely resonates with me and how I like to travel:
“I had been traveling all around the world, from Sydney to China, and I realized that the best experiences came from being with someone local, and venturing off the beaten tourist track. I have always been in tourism, so I did my research and realized that this could be an amazing business concept. I actually bought the domain trip4real.com from Cambodia!”
It should come as no surprise that I actually went on one of their tours last year. Here is my experience…
My Tapas Cooking Class with Trip4Real
When I went to Barcelona last year (remember my secret trip for my mum?) I made our trip all about food. As you probably know by now I love good food and learning a new recipe I can try at home is pretty much the best souvenir I can imagine.
I was on the prowl for an authentic tapas cooking class when I came across Guillermo and Cristina. They are pretty much the sweetest couple you’ll ever meet and personify Trip4Real’s ethos. He’s French, she’s Spanish and they love sharing their love of local food with travellers.
Their class immediately caught my attention, because a) I love exploring places through locals’ eyes, b) food and c) it promised high quality ingredients from small local producers.
“Every time we have a day off,” the description read, “we go in the Catalan countryside to discover artisanal products from small producers, and the best of it appears in our cooking experiences. Vegetables and fruits are delivered to us by a local organic producer, seafood is freshly bought from the market on the same day, bread is from the best bakery of Barcelona, cheese and charcuterie are from a small local farm.”
I was sold. Supporting local businesses in this day and age – an age ruled by large faceless corporations – is very important to me and I already felt like Guillermo, Cristina and I were friends before crossing the threshold of their home.
For €75 per person we got a 10-course menu and unlimited drinks – local wines, beer, homemade ice tea… the whole shebang. The other guests beside my mum and I were a fun Turkish couple and a female professor from Hungary and we all stayed till about 1am, sharing anecdotes and drinking a lot of wine.
We learned how to make all kinds of dishes, from pimientos de padron to a delicious bacalao paste and romesco sauce. We even made mojito ice cream which tasted heavenly (and was a delicious way of getting tipsy).
It was the perfect travel experience – learning about the local culture, acquiring new skills, tasting delicious food and making friends. And that’s what Trip4Real is all about.
How To Get Involved With Trip4Real
If you come away after reading this post and think “damn, I’d love to go on one of their tours”, that’s great. But how about running a tour yourself?
Do you love your city? Would you enjoy introducing travellers to the place you call home? Do you know all the coolest off-the-beaten-path hangout spots? Then Trip4Real could give you an opportunity to start working in the travel sector and making great money while you’re at it!
Whether you’re a foodie like Guillermo and Cristina, a talented photographer, a film buff or a passionate historian, I’m sure you’ll have something exciting to offer to travellers wanting to learn about your city. If this sounds like you, go and sign up to become a Trip4Real guide right here!
Do you like the sound of Trip4Real? Would you consider guiding travellers around your city?