[dropcap size=big]A[/dropcap]imed at time-poor, independent explorers, new website Travelove is designed for curious people who don’t have the time to build their own itineraries by trawling the internet.
The ABTA 2015 Travel Trends report, developed in association with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, showed that 35 per cent of people anticipate that their next holiday will be to a country they haven’t been before.
Meanwhile, the study found that “living like a local” has become a key trend across all age groups. People want authentic experiences but don’t always know how to go about setting them up.
Recognising this need, Travelove was set up last year by two sisters – Katka and Lada Mikulkova.
Their mission has been to work with locals to create tailored itineraries from a wide range of mix-and-match activities and experiences that can easily be selected by the booker online.
Travellers then receive a personalised guidebook containing facts, maps, history and walking routes. There are no big groups or coach tours to contend with.
How does it work? First, browse Travelove’s list of 14 destinations – so far these include Turkey, Israel, Singapore and Finland – and then the kind of trip you want.
For instance, you could select “Out of the Moravian Karst caves in the Czech Republic”, which is designed by Jitka Kicmerova.
This three-day excursion allows you to build your itinerary with a choice of activities, such as baking a cake in a 100-year-old oven, and hiking 12km to take a boat through a cavern of stalactites.
Fancy a beer bath for €45? You can add that. Don’t want to go fishing by a water mill? Take that off. Transport and accommodation can be arranged as well.
Travelove works with 40 trip designers based on the ground in each place. Its most popular destinations are Rome, Budapest and Paris, with experiences such as gourmet foodie tours, and cooking in the home of a local family the most highly rated.
Co-founder Katka says: “More and more people dream of a holiday where they get to meet local people and see local places, and this is exactly what we try to offer. Since launching, we’ve had over 250 customers, and we’re getting busier and busier.”
3 FOODIE EXPERIENCES FROM TRAVELOVE:
Dinner with Sally and her family – Singapore
Eat with a local family who will cook you nasi lemak, chicken rice, cereal prawn, satay, braised pork and home-cooked chili crabs.
Two hours, €17
The ordinary life in Golan Heights – Israel
Spend six hours with Paul who will introduce you to traditional food from local farms, help you cook a meal in the home of an Arab family, and teach you about the people and the region.
Six hours, €189
Stay in a cave and make cheese – Gran Canaria
Spend the night in a traditional cave house (fitted with windows and all mod cons) and learn how to make cheese by visiting a factory in the mountains.
One day, €30