If money wasn't an issue and you couldn't work for the foreseeable future, what would you do with your time? Some local debauchery or very expensive material possessions might jump into your head right away, but those things get old pretty quickly. By removing work and money from the equation travel quickly rises to the top of the to-do list. I'm not sure if it's the best thing in life, but it's the only thing you can buy that will make you richer. Here are the top 40 travel startups that are making travel a richer experience for everyone.
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
― Augustine of Hippo
#40 Luxe Royale
Luxe Royale is an exclusive, upscale travel membership that provides its members with full-service luxury travel services at affordable rates. With a simple web-based platform and 24-hour Concierge Services, members have easy, unlimited access to hotels, flights, resorts, cruises, rental cars, and more in 86 different countries at up to 80% off retail prices.
For membership info visit Luxe Royale
OLSET is a personalization technology company focused on improving the travel industry and specifically the way people discover and book hotels. They enable users to skip the pain of searching for hotels and instead get targeted hotel suggestions matched to your exact preferences online. OLSET's newest project is hotelmatch.me which utilizes big data, machine learning, natural language processing and patented algorithms to go through millions of hotel listings and reviews to suggest the best hotel for your needs, no matter how picky you may be.
Need extra fluffy pillows to sleep well? They've got you covered. Need a kid friendly hotel with free wifi and huge rooms? Not a problem. Just tell hotelmatch.me once, and the system will save your preferences and match you to the best hotels for you.
Sign up for an early invite at HotelMatch
Travelnuts maximizes hotels’ revenues by enabling them to sell ancillary products and services such as local activities, dining, live events, and transportation directly to their guests. Travelnuts builds that infrastructure as a service for hotels. Based on a proprietary, mobile-compatible e-commerce platform, Travelnuts’ product suite allows hotels to target guests from the time they book all the way to their stay.
Check out their website at Travelnuts
Headout is an on-demand mobile marketplace that helps travelers discover & book the most incredible tours, activities, events & local experiences in town for the next 24 hours at exclusive discounted prices. All it takes is 3 taps and 60 seconds. They combine Uber-like convenience with HotelTonight-esque discounted pricing, offering an unparalleled experience to 60% of more than 3 billion travelers that look for local experiences at the last minute.
The key insight they have is that a majority of people book local experiences in the 24 hours or less window. They're the only company in the space that's 100% mobile, last minute with 15% cheaper pricing and a 3x faster checkout.
Available in NYC & Las Vegas at Headout
Dashbell gives independent hotels the power to take charge of their reservations. Using their online reservations tool and hotel management system, hotels can now take back control and reduce commissions paid to outside travel agencies. Dashbell also saves owners and managers time and money by improving efficiency behind the front desk and in daily operations.
Manage your bookings at Dashbell
MyVR is a SaaS platform that provides owners and managers in the $85B vacation rental industry a centralized dashboard and the management tools needed to run their business. MyVR offers SMB's in this expanding category their own online presence, a reservations platform, and a channel manager to coordinate and synchronize their rates, availability, and property details across all their marketing.
Get more renters at MyVR
#34 Virgo Travel
Instead of sifting through dozens of hotels, members who already know where they want to stay can book a room in just a few taps by searching for a specific hotel, picking one of three rooms types, and booking their room with their stored credit card. Hotel rates are the same or better than the prices found at other online travel or Metasearch sites like Expedia, Priceline, Booking, Orbitz, and Kayak. After completing their hotel booking, Virgo members can schedule free black car service to and from the airport. Virgo’s black car service currently serves San Francisco’s Bay Area airports, SFO, SJC, and OAK.
Get travel perks at Virgo Travel
#33 Hotels for Hope
Hotels for Hope believes in doing good business. They handle all aspects of booking hotel rooms for large events and strive to ease the operational burden on their clients through innovative solutions while maintaining open and reciprocal relationships with their hotel partners. They also give back. At no cost to clients, $2 from every hotel night stay is donated to charities that seek to improve the lives of children worldwide.
Book rooms at Hotels for Hope
Say goodbye to stressful travel. Stop printing up pages of confirmations and a wallet full of plastic loyalty cards. With Traxo, the world’s most powerful travel manager, your travel accounts and plans stay organized, secure, and available, across all of your devices, automatically. Best of all it’s free. Traxo provides an always up-to-date service to people on the move, be it for business or leisure.
Know what's next at Traxo
Routehappy is the product attribute platform for air travel, providing scores and happiness factors for every flight worldwide and tools to create, manage, and distribute airline product content in sales and marketing channels. Their mission is to differentiate air travel and improve flight shopping.
Fly happier at Routehappy
Jetbay is the world's leading platform for foreign travelers to research and book their trips to China. More than 130 million people visited China last year and the target market is growing at 9% per annum. Jetbay is the first travel site focused on the inbound travel market.
Jetbay is an experienced team tackling one of the fastest growing sectors in China - travel for foreigners. This is a billion dollar market with traditional players that is ripe for disruption. They bring discovery, efficiency and transparency to inbound travel. Jetbay is your travel guide to China.
Plan your perfect trip to China at Jetbay
Wanderable helps engaged couples fund their honeymoons by offering beautiful free honeymoon registries. Couples simply post items centered around their upcoming honeymoon, from hotel stays to couples massages to snorkeling expeditions, into their Wanderable registry and their friends and family gift the amount that they cost. No pillowcases or pots and pans, just experiences and adventures to last a lifetime.
Their mission is simple: make gift giving memorable. In addition to creating custom registries, couples can use their mobile app to send personalized thank-you cards to their guests. Guests can even choose to include a handmade gift box that lists the experience they are gifting with a note to the couple.
A beautiful honeymoon gift registry at Wanderable
Find fun, book fun, and go out to play. Kijubi connects consumers and companies offering activities like skydiving, kayaking, bike rentals, and over 130 other categories through the web. Kijubi generates sales for its partners through a distribution network made up of hundreds of small to large affiliates. Over 8,000 activities in over 600 destinations around the world, and growing.
Find fun things to do at Kijubi
LoungeBuddy takes the guesswork out of figuring out how to get into an airport lounge. Whether you’re a casual traveler looking to access a lounge on your occasional trip or a road warrior who passes through airports every week, simply tell them a little bit about your trip, and they’ll tell you the lounges you can access for free or for a one-time fee. Download LoungeBuddy for your smartphone and you’ll instantly have all of the information you need to determine the right lounge for your needs based on amenities, reviews, location, and cost/access requirements.
Discover your airport oasis at LoungeBuddy
Adioso provides an amazing travel search experience for spontaneous and adventurous travelers. Its natural language search interface allows users to query date- and destination-flexible searches. It also interconnects low-cost carriers' flights to find the cheapest global route between any two places.
Adioso also works with major travel partners to improve the native search experience on their own websites, and helps these companies better engage with their own customers.
Flight search, reinvented at Adioso
Their hotel deals are analyzed and real savings are shown in a consistent way, so you can easily compare "apples to apples" across multiple deals. For flight deals, they've taken all the fare sales and insider discounts and organized the rates by destination and arrival city. When you find a deal you like and are ready to book it, they take you directly to the airline, hotel or online travel agency to make the booking. Deals from thousands of sources, including airline and hotel websites, email newsletters, private hotel offers, rewards programs and online travel agencies. In fact, they have the largest collection of flight and hotel deals and discount offers on the planet.
Search hotel deals at DealBase
FLYR is a data science company first conceived to relieve a universal pain point among travelers - the guessing game of booking airfares. By aggregating and analyzing billions of data points, FLYR has created Foresight, a proprietary prediction engine, allowing for ultra-relevant fare forecasts and providing immediate benefits to travelers.
Through the lens of statistics and complex data analysis, they see the core of why and how prices move. With the help of modern software engineering, they bring the technology up to breathtaking speed and capability. FLYR is reinventing the way we plan for travel - they're enabling innovation, for one traveler at a time.
Forecast your airfare before you buy at FLYR
Wanderu is travel for the next generation, providing the simplest way to find and book bus and train travel. They help millions of travelers locate the best travel options at the best price. By working directly with hundreds of ground travel providers, Wanderu provides service to over 85% of the US, and major hubs in both Canada and Mexico. Their partners include the largest providers in the world, including Greyhound, Megabus, Boltbus, Peter Pan Bus Lines, Grupo Senda and Trailways of New York.
The simplest way to book bus and train travel at Wanderu
#22 Stray Boots
Stray Boots offers real world games that make exploring a city fun, interactive, and engaging. Like your own “Amazing Race,” you receive clues on your phone and visit cool spots around the city to solve them. As you go, you earn points and learn fun facts about each stop you make. You'll receive your final score at the end of the game and a keepsake with all of the photos you captured along the way.
They offer more than a 60 scavenger hunts across the US, all playable via highly rated smartphone apps or through a web browser, for large groups. These self-guided adventures are great for groups of all sizes, from pairs and trios to large groups engaging in work events; the hunts are ideal when organizations want to give out-of-town, or local attendees opportunities for creative team building, orientation and urban discovery.
Explore the world with scavenger hunts at Stray Boots
Independent, boutique hotel experiences are unique; they can transform an ordinary trip into an amazing story of discovery. Imagine a place where you can discover all the best independent, boutique hotels, in all of the best places, get a great price and have fun doing it. Stayful is building that place. You can help build it, too.
Stayful is helping everyone in the independent, boutique travel world, from the small business owner to the traveler who craves authenticity. And when that results in a great rate for a hotel room that might have otherwise gone unoccupied, it's a benefit for everyone's bottom line.
Find the perfect boutique hotel for you at Stayful
Vayable is a place to discover unique, cultural experiences from design, photography and street art experiences, to ethnic food tours, private dinners hosted by locals, backroads wine tastings and underground history, sightseeing and immersive cultural exchange. Vayable is a home for anyone looking to experience honest, local culture through experiences created and hosted by passionate local Insiders.
Find a new experience at Vayable
#19 Off Track Planet
Currently building the world's most beautiful and intelligent travel guide using an innovative publishing platform driven by a global community of experts, curated by Off Track Planet. A travel guide for the young, sexy & broke.
Visit their online magazine at Off Track Planet
Rocketmiles allows customers to book premium hotels and earn thousands of airline miles. They offer a minimum of 1,000 miles per night on bookings, with the average traveler earning 7,000 miles for each reservation. Rocketmiles mission is to fuel people’s dream vacations.
Book hotels and earn miles at Rocketmiles
Rocketrip’s mission is to enlist employees as engaged partners in managing corporate travel costs. For too long, employee and company interests have been misaligned. By introducing the motivation to save, Rocketrip is fundamentally changing the way employees spend money on business travel.
Rocketrip’s software combines real-time travel market pricing, company policy and a suite of sophisticated, patented algorithms to set customized budgets and predict what a trip should cost. By rewarding employees for beating their personalized budget, Rocketrip empowers employees to make cost- and time-sensitive travel choices. Rocketrip customers enjoy significant savings off existing travel spend and a healthy culture of cost consciousness that employees embrace.
Their administrative toolkit, called “Launchpad”, gives travel managers complete flexibility to customize budget sensitivity based on existing policy. State of the art reporting provides real-time insight into travel spend and behavior customized for each company they serve. Rocketrip seamlessly integrates into any existing corporate travel and expense technology stack.
Reward business travelers for spending less at Rocketrip
OpenAirplane makes it easy for Pilots to find, book, fly, and pay for aircraft rental online or with a mobile device. They're helping operators get better utilization of their fleets, and pilots fly more.
Pilots and operators can access the service though any web browser on smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers. OpenAirplane is free for pilots to join, and free for operators to list their aircraft. The company keeps a percentage of the rental revenue it enables. The service is available to any licensed pilot who holds at least an FAA sport pilot or private pilot certificate. OpenAirplane is available at over 70 locations across the US, including Hawaii and Alaska.
Renting airplanes just got better at OpenAirplane
RootsRated is a digital recreation guide, curated by specialty outdoor retailers. Independent outdoor retailers thrive by connecting with their customers and sharing a passion for the outdoors. RootsRated is a simple tool to help specialty retailers engage customers in the local outdoor lifestyle. In so doing, the site positions the retailer as the go-to outdoor shop and the premier resource for consumers who want to experience the best local outdoor recreation.
Where to go outdoors at RootsRated
#14 Options Away
Options Away is the world’s only online travel agency that allows consumers to hold their flights for days or even weeks while they finalize their travel plans. Options Away leverages the concepts and technologies of the financial options markets and applies them to the travel industry. They provide a revolutionary approach to travel planning – customers can pay a small fee up front and buy some peace-of-mind knowing that if the price of the flight increases, they will never have to pay more than the locked-in fare. Best of all, they notify their customers if the price of their fare decreases, so consumers win either way.
Find cheap flights at Options Away
Travefy is a free online group travel planner that solves the coordination headaches of group travel. Through Travefy users can collaborate on trip details, book travel deals, and collect shared expenses. Travefy is free to consumers at Travefy.com and offers a white-labeled Pro version to travel agents and vacation providers.
Plan trips together and never get stuck with the bill for free at Travefy
UsingMiles helps frequent flyers manage all of their loyalty programs in one place and search for and book air and hotel travel using frequent flier miles/points or cash. They represent the world's first search engine for award travel.
Organize all of your loyalty points in one place at UsingMiles
#11 AdventureLink Travel
AdventureLink specializes in adventure travel, a category that includes physical activities, cultural exchanges, volunteering, health and wellbeing, spirituality, and nature trips. AdventureLink has assembled more than 14,000 trips to 160 countries, led by the world's best adventure tour operators – from G Adventures and World Expeditions to Intrepid Travel. The site gives consumers and travel professionals the ability to easily find, compare and book trips with more than 1,000 tour operators around the world. Trips include African safaris, cooking lessons in Italy, Colorado River rafting and volunteering opportunities in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, to name a few.
"I was shopping online for our honeymoon trip to Machu Picchu and decided to book with AdventureLink for a few different reasons. First, it was easy to find and compare trips. Second, the price was great. And third, the expert guidance we got from Brad, our travel agent, took all the guess work out of booking the trip." -Lori Sunstrum, Connecticut, USA, January 2014
AdventureLink’s mission is to fundamentally change the way consumers approach travel by creating a user-friendly marketplace that connects them to the most adventurous travel opportunities. As Tompkins puts it, “We want to make it as easy to book an adventure trip as it is to reserve a flight or hotel room today.”
Book unforgettable trips at the best prices, risk free at AdventureLink
Flight pricing is highly complex and opaque, so travelers often don't have the information they need to get the best deals on flights. Hopper provides insightful, data-driven research to help travelers make better decisions about where to go, and when to fly and buy.
At Hopper, they use data sets comprising billions of flight prices to help travelers find the right destination for their budget and feel confident that they’re getting the best possible deal.
When to fly and buy at Hopper
ZOZI is like OpenTable or
While the ZOZI Advance SaaS technology powers the entire back-office for these merchants, the ZOZI.com consumer brand brings new customers to these merchants and is laser focused on being the go-to brand in the active lifestyle market - capitalizing on big consumer spending shifts towards this category.
Get out there at ZOZI
Simplifying travel technology at
Tripping.com is the world’s largest search engine for vacation and short-term rentals. With over 2.5 million properties in 100,000 destinations, Tripping.com gives you the widest selection of unique accommodations around the world.
Simply search for your preferred destination and they'll show you all available properties from their partners. Whether you want to stay in a charming home in Myrtle Beach, a chalet in the Swiss Alps, an artist’s loft in Berlin, a castle in Scotland or a yacht in the Caribbean, you can always find your dream place on Tripping.com.
Search top vacation rental
Gogobot connects you with advice and reviews from travelers like you, so you can get the most out of every adventure. Their vision
Forget tomorrow, discover somewhere new today at Gogobot
AirHelp helps you get money from airlines when your flight is delayed, cancelled or overbooked. You can start your claim on the AirHelp website or by downloading their app. AirHelp takes care of all paperwork and legal communications with the airline on behalf of the passengers. They work together with a network of lawyers that provides legal assistance if required. AirHelp covers claim handling expenses for a 25% service fee if the claim is successful. AirHelp only gets paid if you get paid - simple as that!
Get your money back at AirHelp
#4 Room 77
Room 77 allows travelers to quickly compare prices across every online travel agency and more, shop across a variety of room types and book more than 200,000 hotels worldwide. Unlike other travel sites, Room 77 doesn't stop at the booking. Travelers booking 4- or 5-star hotels, or stays totaling more than $400 on Room 77 get access to a complimentary Room Concierge to help them get into the best possible room. Room 77 users find the best hotel deals, with the least amount of legwork, every time they travel.
Room 77 also operates Checkmate. CheckMate’s mobile check-in product offers hotels a direct touch point to engage with guests, beginning at check-in. Guests love the convenience of being able to use their smart phones to personalize their stay, bypass lines at the front desk and receive alerts when their room is ready.
Hipmunk offers customers the fastest, easiest way to plan travel. The site and mobile apps save you time by comparing top travel sites so you don't have to. The unique display makes it easy to visually compare results, and choose what's best for you. Hipmunk offers the most comprehensive travel search, bringing in travel options ranging from commercial flights to trains to charter flights and accommodations ranging from large hotels to home and apartments rentals through Airbnb and Homeaway.
The fastest, easiest way to plan travel at Hipmunk
Road travel accounts for 78% of US tourism spent, yet the planning tools are fragmented & often outdated. Roadtrippers is a powerful yet intuitive road trip planner that helps you discover, plan and book the best places and experiences along your way.
Powered by a fleet of local experts and travel writers Roadtrippers features a seemingly infinite database of amazing places (actually 2,000,000+ to be slightly more exact). They do the hard part, so you can have the adventure of a lifetime. At its core, Roadtrippers aims to inspire and promote awareness for local, offbeat and culturally stimulating experiences. After all, it’s all about the journey.
The best way to discover, plan and navigate your next road trip at Roadtrippers
Trippy is a community of travelers, helping each other travel better. Trippy exists to encourage more people to travel. Experiencing new places, cultures, and people leads to tolerance, understanding and empathy.
Trippy is for people who like to do good. They are helpers, no question is too great or too small. They've all experienced the kindness of strangers on their journeys and love to keep that momentum going by sharing with others.
Join millions of travelers and local experts at Trippy
As you can see these startups are doing an extraordinary job solving the biggest problems facing travelers today. Save this list and reference it the next time you begin to make travel plans or sign up below and we will keep you updated on the very best startups.
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