Tour guide revolution: How to travel across the world with a local in your pocket

If you love getting a local perspective on your travels to far flung places but can’t stand following around a boorish tour guide then a new smartphone app might just be for you.

VoiceMap is a platform for location-aware audio guides, who upload voiced tours that can then be bought and downloaded by users.

The smartphone app, available on Android and iOS, is the brainchild of two Cape Town citizens, Lauren Edwards and Iain Manley.

Speaking to Ventureburn, Manley explained that the app was inspired by past holidays in which his experience had been enriched by gleaning location-specific knowledge from a travel destination’s local populace, rather than from a guide or travel agent.

“I’ve had almost all of my best experiences when a local shows me their city,” Manley said. “It immediately cuts through all the abstraction of being an outsider, because you become a participant, with a point of reference that helps you to identify with a place.

“You get to share somebody else’s feelings for their home.”

The app crowdsources this local knowledge by allowing locals in cities across the world to record audio-guides in mp3 format and then publish their stories along with GPS coordinates on the VoiceMap store. Guides can charge users wishing to listen to their tour anything from $0.99 to $9.99, with the app taking half of the profit.

After launching in selected international locations last year, VoiceMap is now drastically ramping up its service to become available on a much wider scale.

Whether you want to enjoy a tour of Cape Town’s Bo-Kaap with a local tour guide, discover Joburg’s street art scene with a resident graffiti artist or meander the streets of Tunis with a townsman, the app is a clever solution to the conventional boring tour guide conundrum. Check it out in further detail here.

Image via jbdodane / cc

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