Watch out Fodor’s and Lonely Planet, there’s a new travel start-up aiming to shake up the way people plan vacations.
Wild Bum, a just-launched online travel platform, offers globetrotters curated digital travel guides penned by seasoned travelers looking to share their insider knowledge and experience about destinations around the world.
The individually crafted guides available through the site cover everything from a Week on the Oregon Coast to Family Adventures in Costa Rica, and users can search the site by destination, trip type or even what’s trending, in order to find guides to help plan their next adventure.
The guides for sale on Wild Bum are written by what the site calls its “Guide Architects,” people who live all over the world and are passionate about sharing their travel wisdom, whether it’s identifying the most unique places to stay or pinpointing local hidden gems to experience. The guides also provide packing insight and etiquette recommendations for each destination.
Wild Bum was created by travel devotee and community advocate Mollie Krengel, who told TravelPulse that the site was inspired by her own desire to help others travel.
According to the U.S. Travel Association’s Project Time Off, there are approximately 705 million unused vacation days every year in the United States, noted Krengel, who believes that statistic is driven by people feeling ill-equipped and unprepared to travel.
While some people may enjoy researching and planning their vacations, others find the process overwhelming or just don’t have the time, she says. And as a result, they aren’t traveling as much as they would like to, despite their Cousteau-like desire for adventure.
“Wild Bum Guide Architects, myself included, love to immerse ourselves in the sea of information online, but many people don’t have the time, nor the energy, nor the desire,” 38-year-old Krengel explained. “People want to travel, but don’t know where to begin. That is where Wild Bum comes in. It’s like purchasing a travel guide from a friend—they are loaded, super comprehensive, crafted and current.”
The Wild Bum site went live on October and since then the team has been vetting architects and adding guides to site. Already there are more than 250 travel experts contributing. The official Wild Bum launch, however, was just this month and within the past two weeks alone users have increased 144 percent.
Travelers are able to explore each architect’s profile on Wild Bum to learn more about the guide creators. In addition, users are encouraged to find the guide writers on Instagram and explore the places the individual may have visited.
The architects, meanwhile, set their own guide prices, with costs ranging from $25 to $150.
Before formally launching the site, Krengel had created a solo version of Wild Bum based on her own travels and spent more than a year selling her guides. That venture sparked the idea to build a global platform that would unite people like herself, who geek out over travel research, in order to help those who despise the idea of having to do such research.
The platform is also inspired by Krengel’s own belief in the profound power and value of travel.
“During my travels, I’m overcome with a mission to encourage others to travel for its life-changing magic, not just pretty pictures on Instagram,” Krengel continued. “I believe travel is essential to living a more fulfilling life; it has been proven to increase creativity and productivity, reduce sick days taken at work, broaden our perspectives and even deepen our cognitive health.”
The resulting Wild Bum platform, says Krengel, is more than merely an online travel guide shop, it’s a lifestyle movement and global community of real travelers providing each other with the truly unique curated travel guides.
“A Wild Bum Travel Guide includes everything people need to know, is tailored to their specific interests and is kept current,” she said. “You’ll even find Airbnb listings and new restaurants that are often left out of traditional travel guides. And, when you purchase a Wild Bum Travel Guide, you’re supporting a regular person who’s passionate about travel and travel research.”
Take that Fodor’s.