More people are travelling now than ever. While travelling, people don’t want to feel like they are an out-of-place tourist. Lucrezia Senesi, a senior at Northeastern University, was travelling through Thailand with her family when she decided to ask a friend who lived in the area for some advice on where to go. Over the course of a few hours, Senesi learned about the best places to eat, where to go for fun at night, and where she could find the best hikes.
She realised she never would have found out these places online; only a local could have told her this. The information that her friend told her was very helpful as she was able to experience how it felt, living like a local in the city. It also gave her the idea for a website called EXPLORAC. Where local guides could offer customised experiences for travellers who want to immerse themselves in a foreign culture without feeling like an out-of-place tourist. She entered this project in the 2017 Husky Start-up Challenge which is a semester long program run by Northeastern’s Entrepreneur Club to help students turn their ideas into businesses. When she came third, it inspired her to work harder for her project.
Now she has built up a local network of helpful locals willing to offer unique insights and experiences to people who are travelling to their city. Locals are the best source of information for tourists who want to explore the unexplored places in the city.
Pedro Gonzales, a user of her website, on a tour to Museum of Fine Arts, says “It was really easy, I met my guide at the entrance and she knew about all the exhibits going on,”
Interacting with the locals gives you a deeper insight into the lives of the local and understand the place better. The best way to connect to a place is by connecting to the locals.