6 websites that help you meet locals while traveling

Part of the fun of traveling is meeting and interacting with local people.  Luckily you don’t have to wait for your trip to begin to start making contact with locals.  Here are 6 websites that can help you meet locals while traveling.

  1. Couch Surfing – http://www.couchsurfing.org/
    Visiting Couchsurfing.com is kind of like shopping for a new friend or set of friends in whatever country you are planning to visit.  The site allows you to search for people and then request a stay at their home or to share an activity or meal with them.  An online reputation system is built into the site allowing you to make choices based on more than guesswork.  It is pretty much the granddaddy of online alternative travel sites and has a thriving community.
  2. Vayable – http://www.vayable.com/
    Vayable is a marketplace of local travel experiences that are provided by people within the community you are visiting.  The experiences are provided by local experts and it shows.  They tend to be more intimate then your typical tour.  It is like getting an insider’s view of the area you are visiting.  We love that they have a category focused solely on going up & down things.
  3. Mingle Trips  – http://www.mingletrips.com/
    Mingle Trips is all about making connections with local people.   You tell Mingle Trips where you are going and what you want to do with the people you meet and the site helps find people who match your plans and dates.  Once you are matched you can chat online and make plans.
  4. Eat with A Local – http://www.eatwithalocal.socialgo.com/
    Being big time foodies, we love this site.  You can either look for members in the area you are visiting who are offering a meal to travelers in their area or find members and ask if you can come by for a meal.  Food is a great way to get to know a culture and what better way to experience it than sharing it with a local.
  5. Rent A Local Friend – http://www.rentalocalfriend.com
    It’s okay to pay for a friend, no really it is.  At least in this case it is.  Rent A Local Friend let’s you pay a set amount to spend a day (or a half a day) with a local.  Your new friend will create an itinerary for the two of you and spend the day showing you their city.
  6. mmMule – http://www.mmmule.com
    mmmMule is still in beta, but we love the idea of it.  You search for locals who want something and check out what they offer if you deliver it.  Rewards vary from nights out on the town to tours of their favorite spots.  You deliver the item they want & pick up your reward.  It’s a win win situation!

Have you used any of these websites to meet local people?  We would love to hear about your experiences.