Introducing Vayable Insiders

Vayable’s mission has always been to help people to see the world differently.  We started with our community of local Vayable Insiders hosting adventures.  Two years later, we have grown to nearly 5,000 guides in over 500 destinations and have connected thousands of people throughout the globe–from Buenos Aires to Bali–on our community platform. We are thrilled to announce that we’ve expanded our platform to better accomplish this mission with the launch of Vayable Insiders.

You can now request travel experiences tailored to your interests, style and budget.  We match you with vetted and trained local Insiders at your destination who work with you to design and build a travel experience as unique as you are, whether it be a ten-day road trip in Ireland or an afternoon discovering food and art in Paris.

Here’s what’s new:

  • Experiences tailored to you: A 60-second questionnaire which gives Insiders more accurate insight into travelers’ personalities, needs and their desired journeys means you get polished and customized proposed journeys designed by your assigned Insider.

  • Less work: Instead of sifting through travel forums, you have an Insider available for one-on-one conversations to refine your proposed journey to guarantee your perfect escape and for you to ask any questions about the destination. Insiders are also available to book your entire trip, from accommodations to restaurant reservations to museum tickets, so that you can pay in one click, which means you save time.

  • More connections created: We’ve created a safe place for people to connect with each other in destinations all over the world. All Insider applicants are pre-screened and go through a proprietary training program to formalize their skillset and to ensure they meet Vayable standards. We also give travelers access to Insiders on the ground who are happy to help travelers with anything else they might need, such as a ride to the airport, finding their way around and teaching them about local customs.

How it works:

1. Request an experience.

Go to Vayable.com and enter your destination and departure dates.  If you don’t know where you’re going, browse through travel experiences Insiders have created for inspiration.

2. Vayable matches you with an Insider

Vayable matches you with a vetted and trained Insider based on your destination, interests and personality.

3. Receive trip proposal

Your Insider will send you a trip proposal within a day to give you a taste of what’s possible. This proposal is only a suggestion and you can modify and build off of it with your Insider.

4. Connect directly with an Insider

To connect directly with your Insider, simply pay a $45 trip development fee (which we’ll then apply toward the total cost of your trip) and you’ll be able to connect directly to start designing the experience you want.

5. One-click booking

Once you’ve finalize an experience to your heart’s content, it’s time to book!  You’ll either receive advice and tips, a full itinerary or a full itinerary with bookings included–whatever you have agreed upon with your Insider and whatever best suits your needs.  You’ll receive an email with a link to access your personal booking page. Simply confirm and you’re off to enjoy your experience.

Fees

Fees for Vayable Insiders remain the same as throughout the Vayable platform.   You simply pay for the cost of trip (accommodations, tours, local transport–anything you choose to include) + Insider fee (an agreed-upon amount for their time and service) + a 3% platform service fee.

As with all Vayable experiences, Vayable takes a 15% commission from the Insider’s fees.

How are people already using Vayable Insiders?

1. Glenn and his wife wanted an on-the-ground Insider to create a completely custom, one day and one night whirlwind in “Welcome to Paris” experience. Our Insider crafted the perfect Parisian day complete with a locals’ jaunt through the backstreets of Montmartre with forays into music shops and a carefully selected boutique hotel with a roof top view of the Eiffel Tower.

2. Monty and Tan checked a big one off their bucket list by designing their dream mother-son bonding trip to Macchu Picchu! Our Insider planned their trip from start to finish, including a sunrise hike to Macchu Picchu, a private guided tour of Colca Canyon and topped it all off by taking them to eat ceviche with locals in Lima.

3. Greg knew he wanted to get off-the-beaten path but had no idea where to go. Our Insider crafted a two week adventure through Turkey and Croatia, where Greg enjoyed Turkish breakfast with locals, rode in a hot air balloon,  wandered around Roman ruins, relaxed in a Hamam and hopped around the Croatian Coast.

We hope these stories inspire you to go on your next adventure! Have a Vayable Insider design your next trip today.

Cheers,

The Vayable Team

Announcing two special community events in Paris & Barcelona

You love to travel. We love to listen.

At Vayable, we are constantly inspired by the questions, “Why do we travel? How can we travel better?” Join our conversation!

You are invited to meet our community and Vayable CEO and Co-Founder Jamie Wong at one of our two very special events this Friday, 19 July at The Workshop in Paris and this Sunday, 21 July at The Antic Theatre in Barcelona. We will have drinks, light bites, good company, and an open ear. We want to hear from you.

Click on the events below to RSVP. Friends are more than welcome–please have them RSVP also! We will be gifting $25 Vayable credit for everyone who brings a friend, and for their friend as well.

We look forward to meeting you!

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For any questions do not hesitate to contact us by email: party@vayable.com

Top 10 Places to Connect With Your Inner Child

“There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million.”
—Walt Streightiff

Our everyday lives often feel like a balancing act that even a trapeze artist would shy away from–balancing work, family, housework, finances, and those rare moments of leisure, to name a few. Although we’re on autopilot most days, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of “disconnecting,” as our Istanbul guide Kasper calls it, to come back to a familiar environment with new eyes.

Even our fun-loving Vayable guides need to escape from time to time in order to reconnect with their playful, nostalgic, liberated, ridiculous, and creative sides. Check out the top 10 spots that continue to instill a sense of wonder in each guide’s “inner child.”

10. Syssa E.Heiðmörk / Heidmork Conservation Area, Iceland

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“The Heiðmörk Conservation Area in Reykjavík’s backyard is an amazing 2800 acres of mossy fields, rock formations, cliffs and caves, forests and lakes–all in a vast lava field at the foot of Þríhnúkar volcanic craters. Need I say more? You only need a small amount of imagination to see trolls in the rugged moss-covered lava landscape at dusk and fairies in the forests at dawn; and if you are blessed with more, expect also to meet beings from other worlds that might lead you into some truth you may not have found yet.” (Photo courtesy of Syssa E.)

9. JeffreyTriangular Traffic Island, Flatiron District, Manhattan

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“Tall buildings and traffic jams fascinated me as a child. My opinion of gridlock has changed, but the excitement from cities in action has not. Where Broadway crosses Fifth Avenue, a magical traffic island is created. This triangular plaza mirrors the footprint of the Flatiron Building due south while towering north is the Empire State Building. I order comfort food from Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop (hot pastrami on rye + chocolate egg cream), grab a seat on the island and watch the city circulate.” (Photo courtesy of Jeffrey.)

8. Esther M., Villa Sciarra, Trastevere, Rome

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“Villa Sciarra, a little-known park in the Roman district of Trastevere, is my favourite place to connect with my inner child. I used to come here with my grandmother when I was a child, and I still remember (and my grandmother does too!) that I would get angry because I could not go on the merry-go-round designed for older children. I’m still obstinate and at times capricious, so absolutely this is the place to rediscover my inner child!” (Photo courtesy of Esther M.)

7. Aigul S., Teatro Elkafka, Amalgro, Buenos Aires

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“I discovered my inner child over 3 years ago in the dark rooms of the theatre Elkafka, in the Almagro neighbourhood of Buenos Aires. The stage of Elkafka has become a playground for my personal transformations. Here, I rediscovered myself by taking on lots of new roles, improvising and innovating with others, and making lifelong friends.” (Photo courtesy of Aigul S.)

6. Uriel G., le Louvre, Paris

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“Before I knew it was one of the most impressive museums in the world, le Louvre was a place of mystery and fear. The Great Sphinx of Tanis, the mummies, and the hieroglyphic stones, were among the many traces of lost civilizations before which I felt even smaller than I was at the age of 5. The many stories le Louvre contains, such as the theft of the Mona Lisa, its history as a dungeon and a fortress before becoming a world-famous museum, completely overwhelmed me as a little Parisian. And some years later, it still does!”

5. Kasper I., Büyükada, Princess Islands, Istanbul

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“The Princess Island’s Büyükada, which means the Big Island, is just a ferry ride away from Istanbul and is usually where people go to escape from the chaos and traffic of the city, which is why I went there my first time. Here, you can picnic, barbecue, play football, swim in the sea, rent a bike, or take a carriage ride around the island, where motorized traffic is not allowed. In the evening, the island changes to a great, calm and nostalgic place for a walk with an amazing view of Istanbul, full of lights. Büyükada allows me to briefly disconnect from Istanbul, which is important for someone living in the city for a long time. Just one tip: if you want to disconnect from the city, you should not go to the Islands during a summer weekend, or you will find half of Istanbul joining you on your mini-getaway.” (Photos courtesy of Kasper I. From left: Minnoş the street cat, enjoying the view from Büyükada and view of the sea from Büyükada.)

4. Shane U., the sidecar view of Shanghai & beyond 

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“My favourite place to connect with my inner child is the back of my sidecar. The first time I sat on a motorbike, revving the engine and feeling the machine vibrate, I knew I would have to get one of my own.  My inner child wants excitement and adventure, and that is exactly what my sidecar gets me.  Whether it is in the heart of the city of Shanghai, or the countryside near Xi’an, the sidecar provides for the child within!” (Photos courtesy of Shane U. From left: at Nanpu Bridge; at the Peninsula Hotel; the Pudong Skyline; Xi’an countryside.)

3. Russell H., the Wave Organ, San Francisco

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“When I first moved to San Francisco, a city native invited me out to the spit of land just beyond the Marina Green to make music with the Wave Organ. With it’s womps and gurgles, we had a great time trying to play along (the neighbors were not happy with our childish noise making). To add extra inner child mojo to the Wave Organ, hop on a bike and ride along the Embarcadero, through Fort Mason, and down to the Marina Green. The views are amazing, and the Wave Organ is a creative, architectural treat when you catch it at the right time of the day–when the water hits the tubes just right–for the fantastical fun of San Francisco Bay sounds.” (Photo courtesy of the SF Exploratorium.)

 2. Anne D., Picnicking in Paris

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“For me, picnicking is one of the things that reminds me of my childhood summers. It wasn’t until I moved to Paris that picnics became something adults did as well. They’re the perfect excuse to check out a new location around the city and pick up something delicious at the local market. It’s a lovely experience being around fellow picnic-ers as well, and you can’t help but feel like a local.” (Photo courtesy of Anne D.)

1. Where do you go to connect with your inner child? Reply to our post on Facebook by July 1 with your favorite spot (bonus points if you include a picture!) We will blog the reply that gets the most Facebook likes, plus give you a $25 Vayable gift card to hopefully bring you a bit closer to your inner child’s next adventure. Remember–the world is your playground.

The Tesla experience. You can have it too.

We all heard the news, right? Yesterday Tesla announced their earnings report, where they surged past already frothy expectations in revenue and profit, bringing the stock price to an all-time record high. In the midst of all the buzz and excitement, we can’t help but ask: how many of us can actually put down a cool $70k and get one of our own? We certainly can’t.

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Collaborative consumption services make it a bit easier to afford those dream luxuries like convertibles that cost about as much as your entire college tuition. You can rent it out on services like Getaround, or if you prefer to keep other people away from the wheel, you can drive people around through Vayable. You’d also be bringing joy to the masses because now everyone can get the Tesla experience too!

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Still don’t think its in the cards that you’ll own a Tesla in the near future? You can get the Tesla experience by exploring great city of San Francisco with Getaround founder, Jessica Scorpio. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even be able to pitch her your startup idea while you’re at it.

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And the winner goes to… Buenos Aires!

A few weeks ago, we launched Vayable Destinations, a resource for travelers with insider tips provided by our guides and community. You voted for your favorite guide, and the winner is… Buenos Aires with 277 Facebook likes! A cosmopolitan mix of Europe and South America, its dramatic tango, political ups and downs, and opinionated porteños make the city anything but boring. Notable runner ups were Austin in second place is 116 likes and London in third place with 92 likes.

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Aigul, the contributor, is a Russian expat and journalist living Buenos Aires. Be sure to go on her street art tour if you happen to visit Buenos Aires! She got a sweet cash prize of $300 as well as, of course, bragging rights. We met her as well as other guides and community members last week in Recoleta. Enjoy the photos from our event!

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Buy One, Get Mom Free

This weekend is Mother’s Day! She had to change dirty diapers, attend school plays, and clean up after never-ending messes. This weekend is the time to show our appreciation for the moms in our lives.

Whether she’s into finding the best hidden vineyards in Napa, sailing the seas, or learning about history, give her an experience that you think she’ll love. To sweeten the deal, we want to treat your mom to a Vayable experience!

Book before this Sunday, May 12th and Moms go free (it’s on us)! Simply book for one fewer than the size of your party, and email us support@vayable.com to let us know.

Don’t live close to Mom? Get her a gift card for an experience, and we’ll rebate $10.

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Vayable Runs for Boston

We were deeply saddened by the tragic events of last week at the Boston Marathon. Stories of people turning back  to help those in need and runners going straight from the finish line to donate blood at the hospital serve as a reminder that we, as a community, in the face of adversity, are resilient and good to one another.

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We’ve been touched by the outpouring of support from our community. Our guides around the country have volunteered to lead runs as a fundraiser to help people most affected by the events of April 15.

On Sunday, April 28 no matter where you are and what shape you’re in, we will all run for Boston. Sign up for Vayable Runs for Boston by booking the event in your city. Over the week we’ll keep up updated by amounts raised by each city. All proceeds (including fees) go to the One Fund Boston.

Don’t see your city but want to lead a run? Sign up here to lead your own! Anyone can make a difference by just going on a run!

On April 28, we are all runners, and we are all Bostonians.

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The award goes to… Dublin’s ghost bus!

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Votes came streaming in all week and the results are finally in. And the winner of Vayable’s most unusual experience goes to… The Gravedigger Ghost Bus in Dublin!

Our friends over in Ireland are on to something… If a pub crawl and dramatized plague ghost stories are not an unusual way to spend an evening, then I don’t know what is.

  Experience # FB likes @ start # FB likes @ end # increase
1 Gravedigger ghost bus ride in Dublin, Ireland 1 207 206
2 Hairy crab snacks and a vintage 1950s sidecar ride in Shanghai, China 0 64 64
3 Ninja training in Kita, Japan 4 36 32
4 Introduction to Barcelona’s stunning nude beach 0 18 18
5 Hang out with a rapper in Rio’s favelas 7 19 12
6 Macaroon tour of Paris, France 0 4 4
7/8 Bollywood behind the scenes in Mumbai, India 1 3 2
7/8 Video document your adventure in Berlin, Germany 0 2 2
9 Stripper lessons in Vegas, NV or San Francisco, CA 0 1 1
10 Thrift shopping with new gay bff in New York, NY 0 0 0

Have a unique experience that you want to share? Sign up here as a Vayable guide.

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Vote for Vayable’s Most Unusual Experience!

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Top 10 Most Unusual Experiences

Over coffee this weekend, someone asked me what makes Vayable so special. The answer? Our guides connect people to one-of-a kind experiences that you can’t find anywhere else.

Testing this theory, today we scoured our pages in search of the most unusual tours out there. Here’s what we came up with: Vayable’s first Top 10 Unusual Experiences (in no particular order).

And now… it’s the moment of superlative truth! Which of these experiences is the most inventive and unusual? Go to the pages above and vote by clicking the Facebook like icon! Vote and vote again… Because by voting, you enter in a lottery for a special Vayable gift package!

Voting ends at 12 pm (PST) on Friday, April 19. The winner will be announced on Friday afternoon—and will be featured on our blog and put at the top of their city’s listings!

Have a unique experience that you want to share? Sign up here as a Vayable guide.
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Announcing Vayable’s first Community Photo Contest

Calling all photographers! Vayable is searching for beautiful photos that, besides technical quality and composition, showcase the unexpected and capture the magic of a place.

Enter photographs in any of our categories – NY, SF, London, Paris, Barcelona, Rio, Istanbul, Buenos Aires and Wild Card Travel — and compete to win cash and prizes. We are looking to highlight photos in all these cities and beyond (so please do submit even if it’s Bangkok!).

After reading the contest rules below, you will be ready to enter the contest.  There are two ways to enter: upload through this submission form or email your photos to photos@vayable.com.

The contest will open March 16, 2013 and close May 31, 2013 . On a weekly basis, we will post some of our favorite incoming entries to Facebook.  Good Luck and see you on Vayable!

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Contest Rules:

Who may enter:

Photographers must be 18 years or older.

What to enter:

Photographs in our nine categories which are of special interest to Vayable.com.

NY, SF, London, Paris, Barcelona, Rio, Istanbul and Buenos Aires — Locales, peoples and activities in all these places that convey a sense of place.

Wild Card Travel — Locales, people and activities everywhere else in the world that convey a sense of place.

Photographs MUST be shot by the entrant since January 2010.

Please submit photos in Landscape orientation and not altered beyond minor adjustments (spotting, dodging, burning, sharpening, contrast and slight color adjustment)

How to enter:

Please submit photographs on-line through this form or by sending photos via email to photos@vayable.com.

Photographs must be in .jpg or .gif format and around 5 MB or at least 300 dpi at 3,000 pixels on the longest side.

By entering the contest, entrants grant Vayable, and those authorized by Vayable, a royalty-free, non-exclusive license to display, distribute, reproduce and create derivative works of the entries, in whole or in part, in any media now existing or subsequently developed, for any educational, promotional, publicity and all other standard Vayable purposes. Any photograph reproduced will include photographer credit as feasible. Vayable will not be required to pay any additional consideration or seek any additional approval in connection with such uses.

Prizes:

Grand Prize: $150

Category Winners: $20 Vayable Gift Cards