One of the latest trends in tourism are peer-to-peer travel experiences. While some may find this approach outrageous, others actually enjoy the idea of exploring a new culture to the core in the hands of untrained or semi-trained locals.
And why do we think this approach is great?
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It’s because of the fact that it allows people of different age, education, and interests to earn extra cash in a very interesting and untraditional way.
We did some research and came to a few reliable peer-to-peer travel sites we find are worth your time.
To start this, you first join the site and become what they call a ” Vayable Insider”.
What are Insiders?
I’ll let Vayable explain that:
” Vayable Insiders are independent people who create unique experiences to share with others. Anyone with unique knowledge, skills or access can earn money offering an experience as a Vayable Insider.”
According to the company, you can be anything as an Insider-writer, musician, taxi driver, teacher, poet, travel agent,…-You get the picture.
As long as you can “provide cultural enrichment, education and a good time” you are a good fit to become a Vayable Insider.
As for the kind of “experience” you can offer to people, it can be anything from showing someone a historic building in your town, taking them to a famous local bar, doing a shopping trip at the local farmer’s market, to whatever else that you think is interesting about your city or town.
The have some very strict requirements, and expect every Vayable Insider to :
- Commits to delivering a high-quality experience to every traveler.
- Prioritizes safety and security above all else.
- Is passionate, personable and trustworthy.
Here is how it works:
I live in St louis, MO. So let’s say I become an Insider and offer a 2 hour tour of the St Louis Gateway Arch and surrounding area, and I set my price as $200.
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Travelers who go to Vayable to sign up for a travel package see my offer and are interested. Vayable then contacts me and asks me if I am interested in doing this tour. If I don’t have the time, I simply decline.
If I do however have the time, I accept. In that case, the company will arrange everything for a %15 fee. So in this case, they take $30 and I get $170 which will be deposited to my bank account within 24 hours of the tour ending.
Of course, that’s not the standard rate. That was just an example. But according to the company, people on average earn around $20-$25 an hour. Not bad for something that can be actually very fun.
To see an example, check out this guide where Dijon, a San Francisco based filmmaker and photographer, offers a tour named “Photograph the Souls of San Francisco”. He is charging $99 for 2 hours. That’s almost $50 an hour. And from the number of review he has, it seems like he is doing good.
Shiroube is another service which was created with a main goal to connect locals with travelers looking for unique experience.
This service comes from Japan (the actual name “Shirube” stands for “to be a guide”), and they are still rather young: They have around 5 000 guides in more than 3 000 cities.
What is different about Shiroube is the fact that their main idea encompasses a number of different services.
That actually makes them very flexible:
- If a client just wants a couple of guidelines, they can be provided with a selection of tips via email.
- A client can order a custom made itinerary based on time and requirements.
- But they can also be offered a full tour-guide package.
After creating an account as a guide, you can post 3 ads free of charge. If you do well specifying your best touring assets, like nightlife, history, or sport events, you are already halfway there.
Having in mind that they are at an early stage, their payment system is still not firmly specified, but it is something that’s being worked on. However, they are also working on developing a system that will make the service free of charge for users by introducing corporate sponsorships
This company has been around since 2008. Although it’s a great company, it is not as easy as the other ones listed here when it comes to signing up.
They have a tedious interview process which entails two phone calls. Of course this is done to ensure you are a qualified person and know what you are doing.
The good thing is that there is no upfront cost to you (the tour guide). Needless to say you will have to share a percentage of your earning from each tour with them, 20% to be exact.
That 20% fee, in my opinion, is well worth it. Not only they give you free training and cover you with a $3 million liability insurance, you also benefit from their experience and reputation. You don’t have to promote yourself, you don’t have to deal with finding clients and non of that hard stuff. You just join them and they do the rest.
4. SnappyGo – Update: no Longer in service.
To qualify as a great SnappyGo adviser you have to know how to provide the travel experience that outstands the experience an average travel agency can provide.
At this point, SnappyGo has already reached over 11 000 advisers who offer their services on over 1 800 destinations located in 181 different countries. But there is still enough space left for you.
The process of application is designed in a way that will show if you have what it takes to be a travel advisor.
And if you do go through, your job will be to provide itineraries and travel tips that include details about your hometown that only a true aficionado would know about.
How can you get a gig on SnappyGo?
There are 2 ways for this to happen:
- If a traveler is doing a search on his/her own, he/she can contact you directly through your profile.
- A traveler can send an adviser request to SnappyGo, who then reaches out to relevant adviser profiles and encourages them to contact the possible client.
As far as the money goes, you can expect $30-40 for shorter itineraries. Creating such itinerary will take a couple of hours to finish, at most.
Longer itineraries could bring you even up to $150.
It goes without saying that good credentials and more experience can significantly impact your rates.
The people who use this site to rent friends have various reasons for doing this, and some of them use this service to find local people who are willing to show them around.
And the beauty of working with this company is that you don’t have to work with anyone you don’t want to. You can accept or reject any client.
Here is how it works; You join the site for free as a “Local friend”. Then interested people will contact you on the site and you can offer them a customized tour plan. And yes, you get to set your own prices.
As far as pay goes, there is one big difference between this site and the others mentioned here. Instead of charging you a percentage of every tour, they charge you a flat fee of $100 a year.
What does $100/year get you?
It gets you a personal page on the site where your services are offered. They will also help you with some marketing. To what extend, we don’t know.
Now when a traveler contacts you and asks for a tour, they’ll have to pay 30% of the agreed price on the site and the rest after the tour, which is paid to you on person.
If you know you have some spare time you don’t wish to waste and you know your hometown better than your own home, this can be a great way to earn some extra money from time to time.
It can be your hobby, something you enjoy to do, but still get paid to do it. And that is always a big plus.