Traveling is great fun, but sometimes it can be hard to really experience a new place without ending up doing all the conventional ‘touristy’ stuff. And even if you try and go off the beaten track, it’s hard to find out what’s worth doing and what’s not. Now there’s a new service which aims to connect locals with visitors to help you discover great places and things which tourists won’t know about.
Local Fu is a simple concept. Offer a place where visitors to a new place can pay $5 for a personalized travel plan which is created by an enthusiastic local resident. To use the service as a visitor, just sign up, find your destination from the list, and enter in your requirements.
Right now the list of available locations is pretty small, with only a tiny number of international cities included (Paris and London natch), but the service is in beta so this is to be expected. For the same reason there’s not a lot of local guides on offer (for instance just 4 in the whole of New York at the moment), but again we’re guessing that will increase significantly once word gets around.
The idea is you find someone who is closest to your kind of person (e.g. book-lover, enjoys sushi and park benches) and ask them to prepare the plan for you to use. Hopefully they’ll know some stuff that the guide books and review sites don’t, and so you’ll get a real local’s eye view of the area you’re visiting. I like the idea a lot, and the fact that you pay for the help also makes sense, since it gives it more value.
Of course the real proof of the pudding will lie in the quality of the plans that you get from your chosen resident, and if they are top quality we can see this service really taking off. If they start being nothing more than a re-hash of Yelp or Wikipedia, then it’s going to fail. Interesting one to watch. While the service is in beta you can get a local plan for free by using the code – erlibird . Enjoy!