Make Happy Travelers
I fall in love with travel on 25th July 2005. From there, I have gone to many places, into the mountains and into foreign cultures. I dislike following tour or having a guide, as I cherish the freedom to travel on my own pace without a paid stranger tagging along. I love the experience, but the planning and logistics is very tiring. I wish someone can show me all the gems and arrange all the logistics and accommodations, where I can just pack my bags and have fun, without the daunting research and planning. Sometimes I leech on friend who figured out and arrange everything, where I just follow his lead and have fun, and the experience is very liberating.
I don’t want a personal guide following me around (as I felt it’s kind of “restrictive” and tiring), unless the guide is a friend. I want easily accessible information, someone to tell me how to go to places with recommendations of good food and things to do. Abundance of good information which is easily accessible. LonelyPlanet seems to be the pioneer of such abundance of travel information, followed by TripAdvisor creating an online version. Sadly LonelyPlanet foray into the digital world is a half-hearted ones, where we couldn’t do an easy search or ranking or browse by categorization. TripAdvisor seems big but feels of void, where they are plenty of common place of interest but I could hardly figure out the logistics or what are the convenient route people usually take. The information is superficial and insufficient to complete the planning of my trip.
On the other hand, accommodation booking had greatly improved over the years thanks to booking.com (works well in Europe, Japan, Vietnam) and CTrip (China). Its simple, instance confirmation and sometimes you bump into good deals. Airbnb sounds interesting as well, but I haven’t get to try it yet. Air ticket booking is working pretty well these days, especially with AirAsia and CTrip (for China domestic flight). Hipmunk give you a good overview of what options are available and their prices.
I’m not going into accommodation or air ticket booking since the experience is not that painful (though it’s lucrative business). My pain is in the planning: route, logistics, places which interest me (I avoid buildings), activities (hiking) and how to make friends with local by attending meetup, or how to live the life of digital nomads and finding hackerspace.
I hatch the idea of “making travel simple” 7 years ago, and the idea still stick and resonate within me, as I still travel and feels the pain, and I have yet to bump into a feasible solution (though many had tried and pivoted to booking instead). My original inspiration is to make a better version of TripAdvisor, but “better” might be a very vague idea. My intention is to make happy travelers, so that I can travel worry-free, spending more time enjoying and less time doing research and planning.
I started building Travelopy about 2 years ago, and my methods and approaches changes along the way, but my intention to make happy travelers remain the same. I can’t say for sure I know the formula to make happy travelers, but while I still have a passion for coding and travelling, I shall continue to experiment until I myself is a very happy traveler (or even a nomad) by simplifying travel planning: where to go, how to go, what to do, where to stay and where to eat. When the trip ends, how to share my experience in a memorable way.
My presentation on Travelopy on Oct 2011
I will share my ideas and experiments along the way on how to simplify travel planning and become a happy traveler :)