Let’s Change the Way We Travel: Adventure With Locals

Traveling has always been a massive part of my life and just like most other adventure travelers, I love coming home with crazy stories to share. It has become much less about what I see when traveling and more about what I do. If you’re reading this, I’m sure you feel the same way.

Advlo Founder, Jon (center) seeks to change the way we adventure travel
Advlo Founder, Jon (center) seeks to change the way we adventure travel

 

While traveling through Southeast Asia, I found myself in a coastal town called Mui Ne in Vietnam. It was immediately brought to my attention that this town was known for its pristine kite surfing conditions; so, much like all of the other backpackers, I wanted to jump into the action. Problem was, as I was walking around to the tour operators which offered kite surfing lessons, I was shocked to find out a few hours of lessons would cost several hundred dollars. Not wanting to miss out on the activity, I searched online for another option but was disheartened to find out that all of the tours had set times and had departures earlier that morning. Since I was only in town for that one day and there was no way I was going to skip out, I had to find a local kitesurfer.

So then I had to ask myself, “How does one simply find a local friend who would be able to be my alternative to these tours?” There were 3 things I looked for:

1. Knowledge of the activity and location

2. Access to proper equipment

3. Willingness to help me and for a lower rate

As my luck had it, the rest of the day was spent with a local who not only gave me lessons but shared stories and his culture rather than just maintaining a client/customer (“tour guide”) relationship. I later found myself in similar situations; whether surfing in Ecuador, volcano boarding in Nicaragua, or climbing in Colorado, adventures with locals was the way to go.

 

Jon rode 7 hours on a dirt road for some volcano boarding in Nicaragua
Jon rode 7 hours on a dirt road for some volcano boarding in Nicaragua

 

So How Can We Adventure With Locals?

With no consistent way to find affordable yet authentic adventure travel activities, I realized this wasn’t just my problem; locals and travelers alike are missing out on amazing opportunities. So, our team traveled to through Latin America to speak directly with potential adventure hosts and travelers to find out exactly what problems needed to be addressed. In Ecuador, we met Adony who loves to teach travelers to surf or take them to secret surf spots that you can’t find online. Problem is, he has no online presence so unless you have a mutual friend, you’re highly unlikely to get in touch with him.

 

Local surfer, Adony (blue shirt), invited Jon and his friends back to hang after surfing
Local surfer, Adony (blue shirt), invited Jon and his friends back to hang after surfing

 

Over the past year, our team has been developing Advlo, or Adventure Local, a peer-to-peer platform for finding, hosting and requesting adventure travel activities around the world. Local hosts, such as Adony, who had no prior online visibility can now offer customized adventure trips or lessons to more than just those who crossed paths with him or her. Travelers such as you and me can now easily access local hosts directly, form genuine connections, and go on badass adventures without overpaying or going with a large tour group.

 

Help Make Advlo a Reality

We will launch the Advlo platform at the end of this summer ready for beta use in Denver, Colorado. If you’re ready to adventure with locals and not tour guides, we’d love your support. We’ve launched a crowdfunding campaign, which will end on June 30th, 2014. Your support will go directly toward onboarding adventure hosts and developing the platform. To show our thanks, we’ve got some perks up for grabs including VIP access to the platform, Advlo stickers and t-shirts, and even free GoPros and adventures! Can’t spare any change? No worries; find us on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and say ‘Hi’! We’d love to chat!

 

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All my life I've been addicted to traveling and treating life as a big adventure. Through backpacking and circumnavigating the world on a ship, it became very apparent to me that my most memorable experiences all stemmed from traveling with a local. Insights from my own and others' experiences sparked a movement, which has now grown into a team of dedicated travelers creating Advlo. We're creating a platform to connect adventure seekers directly with local guides in order to lower cost for the travelers, increase the margins going back to the local's hands and, most importantly, promote cultural engagement and REAL travel; not tourism. Prepare for our launch and get ready to offer your own local adventures with the world!

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