Technological innovations have revolutionised the travel industry. Social media provides travellers with reviews and recommendations for destinations, accommodation and methods of transport to plan their holiday. Flight and hotel comparison websites ensure they can book the cheapest options available. Online check-ins and digital boarding passes on smartphones make their journey more smooth and efficient. Once they reach their destinations, geo-location applications allow visitors to easily find the local attractions. Today ShMadrid will highlight Nomaders, which offers travellers a more authentic way of travelling.
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The start of Nomaders
Coupled with the ever-shrinking cost of air travel, the developments have made travel easier and more accessible than ever before. But they also have an inevitable downside: it can feel that little of the world remains to be discovered. As Jim Carrey’s eponymous hero in the Truman Show is told upon revealing his ambitions to become an explorer: “Oh, you’re too late, there really is nothing left to explore!” Spanish start-up Nomaders is showing travellers that this is not altogether true. The venture’s focus is on giving access to the daily life of the destination by connecting travellers with locals. This is achieved through a global network of registered ‘Local Heroes’, residents passionate about their city and enthusiastic to share it with visitors. They offer ‘Nomads’ (travellers) a unique view of their destination, a more authentic travel experience beyond the guide books and tourist buses. These experiences range from a tour of the GooglePlex in Silicon Valley and a coffee and lunch with a Googler to a traditional bread baking class in an old-fashioned Slovenian mill. The idea was inspired when founder & CEO Alfredo Rivela visited Costa Rica, where through internet research he met in the jungle with a cultivator of flowers exported to the United States. He realised that arguably the most powerful experience of travel remained largely untapped: the feeling of having lived in your destination.
“I really believe we can do something big and make a difference in how people understand each other,” says Rivela. “When you travel you learn a lot about different cultures and how to navigate different worlds. One of the most important things to me is creating a better world for the future, something I think can be done by encouraging more traveling.”
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To use Nomaders, travellers review the Local Heroes in their choice of destination, each of whom provides a profile containing their proposals for the visit and is vetted by the Nomaders team. The user will then contact the guide to arrange their visit. Local Heroes are all volunteers, which ensures their enthusiasm is genuine and not solely motivated by profit. Although Nomads don’t have to pay, the company encourages a collaborative model of altruism, which can entail an exchange such as a skill, or a voluntary contribution. Nomads also receive a Nomaders passport, which is stamped with experiences than can lead to special offers. Also available is an internationally valid Nomaders currency. In addition, Nomaders provides a service for viewing and reserving accommodation selected by the company and can arrange flights for travellers.
Although Nomaders was founded in 2007, it underwent numerous changes before the Local Heroes concept was introduced. After launching in Madrid, it has expanded to destinations across the continents. Rivela has since relocated from Madrid to Silicon Valley, from where he has adapted the Nomaders sales platform for American and international markets. The Nomaders global travel community now counts over 400 registered Local Heroes.
Have you checked out Nomaders?