February 24, 2012
While hopping around Asia for 6 months, I’ve collected vivid memories of the cities I visited: the tropical heat and crowds of Hong Kong, the sensory overload of loud hawkers and stinky tofu in China, and the bright neon dance costumes at a parade in Singapore.
But if I forget the feel of these one-of-a-kind Asian destinations, I can always visit the beta travel site Fathom. Fathom sorts travel articles by motivation: click Romance and you’ll see deserted beaches with sparkling blue water and the sun setting over an Italian villa; Thrill brings up menacing Australian crocodiles and swimmers at the peak of a Zambian waterfall. You can also browse categories like Kids, Fun, and Food.
“We don’t publish banal or boring content,” says founder Pavia Rosati, former executive editor of online magazine DailyCandy. “Our readers are curious and engaged with the places they visit…We call our audience the travel-proud.”
New York-based Fathom also captures the atmosphere of cities in their Shop, which sells souvenirs and travel gear specific to each destination. So, for example, you can buy that long black coat or sparkly necklace that’s sure to fit in on the streets of London.
Once you’re inspired, Fathom helps you drill down to the practical stuff with travel guides and itineraries; hotel, restaurant, and activity recommendations for various budgets; and basic info on taxis and tipping. They also feature links to useful sites like TripIt, Wanderfly, and Thrillist. (There’s no mention of my two staples, Lonely Planet and Wikitravel.)
Because of the focus on feel and design, Fathom even appeals to those who don’t plan to buy a plane ticket.
“People who love food watch cooking shows and savor cookbooks filled with food they’ll never eat or meals they’ll never prepare….When you’re stuck on a boring conference call, I want you to come to Fathom for a mini vacation,” says Rosati. She describes Fathom as “the travel site that was missing from her life.”
Soon, travelers will be able to book hotels, flights, and experiences on Fathom, and Rosati hopes to see it become “the ultimate, one-stop travel website.” That’s a tall order, given all the travel sites out there, but beautiful design is a promising start.
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