Most folks have heard of Plateculture, right, so the concept of dining like a local, when you travel is not a foreign idea.
Enter Netherlands-based startup Withlocals which has pretty much the same concept – it is a peer-to-peer marketplace where local people offer home dining, tour experiences, and other local activities. There are 3 simple categories, Eat Withlocals, Tours Withlocals, and Activities Withlocals, but the most exciting one, for me, is the Eat Withlocals category.
Not a lot of folks know this but Withlocals were the first to introduce the concept of having dinner in a Family Home instead of in restaurant across Asia. They believe that this way you can truly taste the culture of a city. And apart from fantastic food, you get a chance to meet new people, hear great stories, get travel tips, and experience the real local culture.
So, now that Withlocals is channeling its energies in Asia you know things are going to get spicy, with 10,000 locals across Asia applying to be hosts for people who want to share their knowledge, skills, and culture with tourists. They vary widely from home-chefs, artists, to martial-arts specialists and fishermen. Even Malaysia is involved – check it out here. If only I could cook better, I would love to be on Eat Withlocals!
A bit about the history. When Willem Maas, the startup’s co-founder and avid traveler, fell in love with Southeast Asia, his own unique travel experiences inspired the concept of Withlocals. For Eat Withlocals, the idea came up in Sri Lanka where he and his wife experienced a home dinner with local Sri Lankan people and felt it was an amazing experience. That was when he decided to put into motion a plan to enable all travelers this sort of access to home dining.
And not only does the site connects local people to travelers – where they can share their cooking and heritage with pride, but it also allows them to earn money in the tourism industry. This is really win-win for all parties if you ask me. Withlocals doesn’t charge local hosts any fee. They can publish their offers and home dinners for free on the website. However, the site charges travelers a 20 percent commission if they choose to partake.