August 19, 2016
Being a tourist sucks. While traveling the world is one of the most rewarding experiences you can enjoy, feeling the judgmental eyes of locals is enough to send you home early. Whether it’s because your camera is too big, or because your Chicago Bulls jersey keeps getting caught in taxi doors, there is no cure for tourism when it comes to traveling. Until now.
CultureCloud is a free app for Android and Apple devices that can help you avoid all the hustle and bustle of tourist traps when you’re traveling around the world. While many apps like this boast their ability to find “local hotspots,” CultureCloud separates itself from the pack by allowing users to connect with like-minded people traveling in the same area as them. After all, taking in the sights is hardly enjoyable without a new friend to take them in with you.
“Oftentimes the best travel adventures aren’t about where you are, but who you’re with,” said Jeff Eker, CEO and cofounder of CultureCloud in an exclusive interview with Tech.Co. “Users build up their travel-cred the more places they visit, people they meet, and local partner businesses they visit.”
The app even gamifies the traveling experience byproviding users with a unique point system that rewards you for traveling to new places and meeting new people. Whether you’re competitive edge gets the better of you or you just want to travel the world, CultureCloud makes sense for even the most amateur traveler.
“Each time you visit a city or a country you get points – if you meet someone and visit a local partner in a city, you’ll get a bonus,” said Eker in the same interview. “Gain altitude points to rank up starting from sea-level all the way on out into the universe. Compare your ranking against those in your city, your Facebook friends, and people around the world.”
As if this technology wasn’t fun enough, CultureCloud decided that the 2016 Olympics in Rio was the perfect place to take their product out of beta and into the real world. The Brazilian city allows for a unique opportunity to showcase the apps necessity in foreign countries, while providing a global stage to mix and mingle with new friends and new locations. It made the decision fairly easy for the budding startup.
“There are hundreds of thousands of travelers from all around the world converging on this beautiful city to learn about not only the Brazilian culture, but the culture of the person sitting next to them at the volleyball game or hanging out nearby on Copacabana,” said Eker.
As far as next steps are concerned, Eker and the CultureCloud team hopes to increase their presence in cities all over the world. The app’s truest benefit is the amount of businesses that are typically difficult to find without a little local help from their ambassadors. They aim to spread this network of ambassadors around the world so there won’t be a corner of the planet that you can’t travel to like a pro.
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