Things I write: 10 ways to smart up your travels

This week I was invited to write a piece for Venture Village, that's the link to the published version, under these lines the text I wrote. I am überhappy on the final result, but the first text was a bit longer and more "me", plus it is an excuse to publish it here as well :D

10 ways to smart up your travels

Being on the lookout of the next best thing, killer features and future trends is part of a daily Internet routine when building a startup. It might not be the most productive or healthy thing to do, but it is unavoidable: you see some news, you dig a service, end up signing up and thinking “Oh man, that is awesome!”.

On the travel industry every day brings you in a new possibility that blows your mind, both as something you would love to include in your product or an app you want to try out in your next trip. Sharing some of those discoveries with Ben Kaubisch from Jetstream and Nina Hüpen-Bestendonk from Smaracuja & Travelettes we came up with the concept for the Tech Open Air Berlin satellite event last Friday and also for the must attend panel on Social Media Week Berlin on the 26th of September. Do you want a preview?

On one side, the intersection of geolocated data and curated content is changing our relationship with spaces. On the smartphones this information becomes portable and instantly available, which is shaping our city discoveries during our daily routine but also when we travel. You can make the most of all that crowdsourced data to create your own and best travel guide ever digging in these apps:

1. Foursquare. A long time friend of anyone in a committed relationship with a smartphone, many use it only to stream where they are and check who of their friends is around. But when you are researching on the best spots in another city, personalised suggestions and lists made by locals on the mobile version are a gold mine. Also, if you are on your desktop, go to Lists tab, your current city is displayed but if you click on it, you can change it: check this ones for Barcelona and Sydney!

2. Amen. Opinions might not feel for some as easy monetising data, but for travelers knowing what is the best and the worst of a city is priceless. Keep in mind some Ameners like sarcasm and don’t go to Kulturbrauerei because someone amened that it is the next Berghain. But tap the explore section of the app and you will see category feeds of different cities, food and travel topics.

3. Instagram. Yes! On Instagram you can search by hashtags and since many pictures are geotagged you can see where to find the best sushi, sunset or most beloved spots of a city. And now with the photo maps, you can get a great view of where that specific local or blogger loves to hangout. A bit stalky, yes, but we are stalking spots here!

4. EyeEm. EyeEm brings the tag to the limit, so if you search for a particular topic or place, you will see all pictures taken there grouped in a single album. Magic. See what’s going around in Melbourne or in Mexico City in a couple of scrolls!

5. Vamos. Finding the hot spots in the exact night you are in town is now possible with Vamos: it will show you any upcoming public event on Facebook. So you can now sneak in the cool parties locals enjoy like a pro ;)

Other apps in the same range include: Uberlife, Localscope, Discoverful and Foodspotting.

On the other side, your trip can be brought to the next level before and after with the help of social networks.  You can use these services for planning, booking flights, finding accommodation, keeping a record of what you did and also for saving your awesome pictures the smart way:

6. Drungli. If you are familiar with Skyscanner and Kayak, Drungli will bring tears to your eyes. Not only helps you to find the lowest cost routes on low cost airlines in a 3 months range, it also lets you set different alarms if the destination of your dreams goes under a certain price. It is simplified to the maximum, looking good and helping you to get all spontaneous about traveling.

7. StartupStay. Your best way to network with other entrepreneurs and save money during your bootstrapping years while building your startup. It allows you to sign up using your Linkedin account, which brings trust on top of their invite only community.

8. Roomsurfer. Leveraging your likes on Facebook through Connect, Roomsurfer allows you to find a like-minded host in the city you are visiting that matches your interests. For the ones familiar with Airbnb, 9flats and Couchsurfing, it puts a social media matching layer on the best part of each.

9. Jetstream. A social travel app with which users can plan, share and record their journeys on the go or uploading on a batch once WiFi is available. Geolocated photos, stories and destinations are displayed on a map, which is visible both on the mobile app and a map-based blog dedicated to each user. This makes email-based sharing possible, so that people without smartphones can follow the traveler on their journey.

10. IFTTT. The uses of If This Then That are almost infinite, but the ability to save to your Dropbox automatically all your Instagram pictures or get a text message in your phone if it is going to rain can help to smoothen your travels.

Encore: Triposo, an app aggregating all geolocated data available on the web and takes it offline so you can enjoy your travel guide anytime. See, there is an app for that!

You might want to check TripIt, Gogobot and Tripbirds too!

Would you like to learn even more on how smartphones and social networks are shaping our travels and decision making when booking the next trip? Come to Social Media Week Berlin then!

I have 2 dreams

So much for originality