‘I really like Korea but I can’t speak Korean, so I’m apprehensive about exploring alone. So I had no choice but to go on the same packaged tour every year. This is already my 3rd time.’
Many of us have similar experiences of wanting to explore a new area but unsure of how to go about doing it due to language barriers, lack of information etc. Often, we want to have the ‘local experience’ but end up in the tourist areas where guided tours / information is most readily available. The less adventurous will stick to packaged tours offered by travel agencies.
Imagine yourself spending a day with a photographer whilst exploring Paris.
Do you fancy visiting famous bars and live clubs in Shanghai with a Chinese college student?
Picture yourself walking around traditional marketplaces with a food blogger in Hong Kong, trying different kinds of yummy street foods.
How about surfing with a businessman in Sydney on a sunny weekend?
Sounds too good to be true? This is exactly what myRealTrip is offering.
Founded in Feb 2012, myRealTrip offers a platform for anyone to host authentic travel experiences anywhere in the world. Guides can plan their own itinerary and tours according to their passions and the areas that they are knowledgeable about. Local natives are not the only ones who can sign up to be a guide; expats in the community or foreigners familiar with the country can only sign up to be one. myRealTrip then takes a cut from the transactions.
One major concern one may have is the safety and credibility of the tours and guides. myRealTrip does short interviews with potential guides, as well as collect their personal information to ensure that the tours are safe for all its users.
Both alumni of Korea University, CEO Donggun Lee and CSO Minseo Baek are passionate about traveling and sharing their experiences. Both of them are also conducting tours in Seoul and they are also hosts of a weekly event ‘Dinner with myRealTrip’, where those interested in the service can have a get-together session with the founders at their office.
myRealTrip is still in beta mode and it was only opened to the public a month ago. However, they have already started offering quite a number of tours.
Although the site currently offers trips only in a few countries (mainly US, Korea), the team aims to bring the service international. The site is currently offered in 3 languages: English, Korean and Japanese, with more languages to be added as the site takes off. Browsing the site in different languages will bring you to different tours targeted at that particular population.
Booking of the tours is currently done via email and the site does not have an online payment system yet. However, one will be able to book everything smoothly online once the site is officially launched.
myRealTrip is definitely a service to look out for in the near future. If you are thinking of visiting Korea, check out one of their tours at their official site.