It’s easier than ever to plan your next city jaunt without leaving the comfort of your own living room. Flights? Check. Hotels? Check. Itinerary? Check. But how can you be certain that your planned schedule is taking in all the actual best places, as opposed to the clichéd, mainstream tourist haunts?
Unless you know a local, there’s always a risk you’ll overlook some real hidden gems by prioritizing those places that are signposted all around the city without really knowing what you’re letting yourself in for. But a new startup called Inside.co officially launches this week, and is setting out its stall to make it easier to tap existing, local knowledge. And yeah, this isn’t to be confused with Jason Calacanis’ news app called Inside.com, which also launched this week.
Inside.co: The lowdown
At the time of writing, Inside.co has 35 individual guides covering 17 cities – including New York City, San Francisco, London, Paris, Nairobi and Melbourne – and they’re all written for a typical 3-day visit, with points-of-interest mapped out too. While you can view a sample of each guide gratis, it will ultimately cost you ten of your Earth (US) dollars to gain full access to the locally-procured fountain of knowledge.
While some destinations currently only have one contribution at present, others have several spanning a range of themed-topics – such as A Romantic’s Guide to the Marais, Latin Quarter, and 6th Arrondissement of Paris; A Three Day Guide: Paris Nightlife and Next Day Recovery; and Experience Three Different Parts of Paris, in the footsteps of the Priest, the Gipsy and the Hunchback.
The plan, of course, is to build this portal into a repository of many guides for each location covering every type of traveler – from budget to boutique, walkers to whisky-drinkers.
Although there’s nothing in the way of native apps at present, the Web-based service works great on mobile devices, which really is a must for traveler’s. However, the bad news is you require an Internet connection to use this on your mobile device – this could be a deal-breaker for those coming from abroad. That said, we’re told that native apps for Android and iOS are in the works, and this should eventually allow offline access.
Though there is a limited selection of destinations for now, there’s enough on show here to suggest it could become a very useful service if it can really ramp up the content in the coming months.
It’s worth noting that the locally-written-travel-guides concept isn’t new. Besides the slew of blogs and other curated sites out there, existing big-brand guides such as Lonely Planet are usually written by people with intimate knowledge of a destination. And these often include ‘[City Name] in 3 days’-style sections too. But if Inside.co selects its writers based on excellence as it promises, then there’s no reason it can’t fill what is a sizable niche in the online travel-writing sphere, with quality, beautiful and up-to-date guides. With that in mind, you too are cordially invited to write about the places you know – profits are split 50/50.
Inside.co is the handiwork of Andrew Hyde, who you may know as the founder of Startup Weekend and Ignite Boulder, as well as a former TechStars employee and all-round startup aficionado. And also Brady Becker, who’s previously created two mobile apps – Forkly & Brightkite.
Inside.co is live now.