Citysurfing makes it easy for you to connect with locals and experience a city— your way!
Whether you’re a bird lover, a surfer, a modern art fanatic or a dedicated fitness geek; You might find the average sightseeing trip to visit local landmarks to be a bit boring. Connecting with someone that lives locally and shares your interests can be a perfect segue into discovering more about a place while doing the things you love.
The locals you’ll connect with on CitySurfing are not tour guides and there’s no memorized scripts. In fact, the entire experience itself is more flexible and impromptu than a typical tour, because it gives visitors the complete freedom to decide where to go and what to see. You can take a turn at any street or walk into any store, market, or cafe that catches your eye, giving you a chance to make on the spot decisions and enjoy whatever comes your way.
You can use Citysurfing to connect with locals if you’re traveling somewhere for business, pleasure or relocation. You can also use it if you’re simply visiting a city that’s just around the corner from where you live. Whether you enjoy art, food, shopping, nightlife, sightseeing, or culture, now you can connect and hang out with locals, everywhere you go!
From the world’s most popular destinations like Rome, Paris and New York to less-visited cities such as Fargo and Boise, Citysurfing is just the ticket you need to go “off the beaten path”, without having to figure out how to do it on your own.
Citysurfing has a clear mission guided by three main principles. These principles are:
Build Relationships: To make it easy for people that visit different cities to connect with a local host that shares their interests; so that together they can chum around and enjoy new places, do amazing things, and have fun together.
Enhance Experiences: To make it easy for travelers to go off the beaten path; try something different; and experience a new city like they’ve lived in it their entire lives.
Support Communities: To support local communities by helping people that live locally use their unique interests, local knowledge, and language skills to earn money by simply hanging out and having fun with people that visit their cities.
The concept behind Citysurfing first came to American entrepreneur and avid traveler Michael Cruz in 2011. The idea came to him in the form of an imagined resolution to a challenge that had troubled him for years: is it possible to truly get to know a place that isn’t your own home without being a tourist? And if so, how can it be done?
Nothing, Cruz had concluded, felt more alien and indeed alienating than the soulless, cookie-cutter travel experiences that so many of us have come to accept in recent years. Organized tour guides, traipsing around site trails, hoards of tourists gathering to see the same spectacle, not to mention all of the overpriced paraphernalia and tourist trap restaurants that go hand in hand with the aforementioned. No, what really mattered to Cruz when he traveled was his experiences meeting and interacting with local people, being shown around the local spots and joining in with activities which made him feel like he was seeing a place for what it was, rather than a superficial facade sold to tourists.
The more he talked to other travelers, the more he realized he was not alone in feeling this way. In his own words: “People want to do things that truly interest them. They want to blaze their own trail and have exciting adventures to talk about with their friends and family. They want to have a deeper understanding of the local culture, language, and etiquette. They want to build strong, meaningful, and lasting relationships with the people they meet.”
This was the ideal. The challenge, of course, was making this kind of ‘un-tourism’ viable, and there were a number of barriers which would have to be overcome. Firstly, gaining access to locals who would be willing and able to show visitors around their hometown, and in so doing traversing linguistic and cultural barriers. The way to do this, Cruz realized, was for people to connect in a safe online community prior to the trip itself. These initial conversations were the key to ensuring that the traveler and the host had aligned interests, were linguistically and culturally compatible, and that a connection had been established in advance of their face-to-face meeting.
And thus, Citysurfing was born. In 2014, Cruz organized an international team of strategists, designers and web developers from around the world to begin the work of creating a platform that would make it easy for people visiting new cities to find and book local hosts with similar interests. Citysurfing was poised to redefine travel as we had come to know it, stripping away the official tour guides, the must-see itineraries, and the memorized scripts. Rather, with Citysurfing, travelers would finally have access to a digital platform for connecting with like-minded, friendly locals and from there planning a trip that was authentic, social, flexible, and personally meaningful. In doing so, travelers would also be contributing to the local economy and encouraging the preservation and spread of local knowledge and genuine, cross-cultural connection.
From those early days eight years ago, Cruz has come a long way in imagining, planning and executing his vision to make peer-based travel accessible to all. In late 2018, after years of hard work, finely tuned development and meticulous design, Cruz and his team were delighted to witness Citysurfing come to life as connections were made between the platform’s first local hosts and their guests.
No matter your destination, when you travel, nearly half of the money you spend will be paid to tour operators, airlines, hotels, entertainment venues, and restaurants— meaning very little actually goes directly to the people that live locally. The irony is that it’s the local people that actually make a city what it is. And it’s those very same people that often help us create some of life’s most amazing memories. That’s why booking a local host on Citysurfing is brilliant!
Citysurfing creates a wonderful win-win opportunity for both the people visiting new cities and their local hosts. Visitors get a chance to experience a city with a local host that shares their interest and locals have a fun way to earn extra money in their free time.
Every time you book a host on Citysurfing, you’re not only creating an opportunity to make wonderful memories for yourself, but you’re also making a conscious and deliberate decision to support the local economy. You’ll have greater peace of mind knowing that some of the money you spend will be used to support the lives of the people in the communities you visit– rather than expensive tour operators.