This afternoon, Jamie Wong, Vayable’s founder & CEO, spent some time over at Lifehacker answering readers’ questions on ‘how to travel like a local.’ In case you missed it, we’ve summed up some of our favorite questions and answers below.
Zach: Airfare seems to be the most expensive part of a trip, especially when trying to fly to the opposite side of the world. What’s your number one tip for saving money when planning a vacation?
Jamie: This is my specialty. 🙂 Airline loyalty programs are your #1 ally. Most of them also offer credit cards and you get what amounts to a full roundtrip ticket when you sign up. Do this. Be diligent about racking up miles, and then smart about how you spend them—take full advantage of the layover privileges if possible, as well as the no-change fee policies (aka: extend your trip!) Another way to do this is to look for great sales, like companions fly free, and plan a trip around that. Air France once had a special offer: if you booked a mileage trip to Cuba, your companion flew free. We did this and it was one of the most memorable trips of my life —-all because Air France was promoting that route. As far as searching OTAs (online travel agencies), one of my secret weapons is yahoo travel. Bizarre, i know, but for some reason they consistently yield the cheapest airfares.
Skylar: I love trying local foods but get nervous sometimes about how my stomach will react when in foreign countries. Do you have any tips on how to sample the cuisine without getting sick on vacation?
Jamie: I can totally relate. I have the weakest stomach and can’t tell you how many times I’ve fallen ill. However, there are some amazing tricks that can help prevent this and now has me fearless when it comes to even the smallest hole-in-the-wall street food in a developing country: Grapefruit seed extract! Start taking it about 2-4 weeks before your trip and then throughout your trip. I went from the girl who got sick from a salad in Barcelona to someone eating Yak meat in the mountains of tibet and fishball soup in tiny food stalls in the hidden streets of Hanoi. Another thing that helps is green drinks. You can buy it in powder form and just add water or juice. Bring it with you and start your day with a green drink to increase your immunity.
Mifune: When I was in Seoul last year, I was fortunate to have some really amazing experiences, thanks to friends who lived there; I can’t imagine traveling to a foreign country without the benefits of help like that. The people we knew in Korea were very close friends, so we already had a good, very personal connection with our guides. If using a matching service like Vayable, what are some good things to ask to make sure that your guide is a good fit for your personality?
I recommend you start by looking at which experiences look most interesting to you —-99% of the time the people offering those experiences will be a good match based on the shared interest. Then read their bio and reviews and you’ll get an even fuller picture. I find reviews to be a really wonderful way to get others’ perspectives on the experience.
Have a travel question for Jamie? Leave a comment below, and ask away!