Published: 03rd July 2019
This community-led travel planning platform gives you first-hand information about your desired destination
Ithaka is an online platform that connects travellers with people who know the destination well
Planning to go on that exotic vacation you've been dreaming about? There might be a million questions on your mind — costs, accommodation, weather, travel or even sightseeing locations. While most travel websites might give you all the information, getting a first-hand account from someone who's already been there is definitely more assuring.
In order to give people the opportunity to connect with other travellers, Rahul Singh, Ameya Sahasrabudhe and Mithilesh Said started Ithaka, a community-led travel planning model in March 2018. As crazy avid travellers themselves, when they decided to start up, travel was a natural choice. "We spent a lot of time researching the market, specifically focussing on travellers who don’t opt for a travel package and finding out about the problems they face when they go on an international trip," says Rahul.
During their initial research, one of the aspects they noted was a specific need for discovering things to do and booking it online, especially in South East Asia. Soon, they realised that there was a greater need for inputs from a person who knows the destination well. "People already do this by talking to friends in their circle who have been there, if they have access to one. There is a lot of information available on the web, but even after hours of research, there is a feeling of uncertainty. These are topics that can be covered quickly just by talking to someone. And that’s where the idea of Ithaka came from," says Rahul.
Ithaka is focussed on millennial travellers who want to plan and execute their own trips and don’t want to book a pre-made package. In other words, the DIY (Do It Yourself) travellers. Currently, a majority of their clients are Indian travellers, but Ithaka will soon be expanding their reach to western travellers.
So how exactly does community-driven travel planning work? On Ithaka, a traveller connects to a matching travel influencer from the community over a virtual chat. This travel influencer, who would have already travelled to the destination, has an engaging conversation with the traveller and plans the entire trip end-to-end. Through the conversation, the influencer helps the traveller discover the country, decide what places to visit, what to do, where to stay, how they can commute, where to eat and a lot more.
When it comes to travel planning, making a decision can be the hardest thing. Having all the information is not always enough. With Ithaka, the traveller can identify the perfect itinerary, the right flights, hotels, experiences and mode of transport for their trip. And all in a matter of a couple of hours of conversation as opposed to days of extensive research.