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Despite stalled growth in China, Brazil and Russia, a wave of newly middle-class travelers from the BRICs and beyond will start visiting international destinations in the coming decades — dwarfing the numbers we’ve seen thus far.
The Internet is connecting users so that they can work together to save money on travel while increasing the value of the products they do spend on.
This week’s startups help travelers bypass traditional costs charged by airlines, phone companies, and rental platforms.
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>> Explora is a smartphone rental service for travelers visiting the United States. For a flat-rate of $8 per day, international visitors have access to unlimited nationwide calling, text message, 4G data, and 40 pre-loaded apps. The goal is to give visitors the ability to use a mobile phone without worrying about roaming costs.
SkiftTake: International roaming costs are a constant concern for travelers when overseas. A rental service is a smart solution that could scale in countries across the world.
>> Hazel Lane is a subscription box service that sends members a curated box of products that represent the culture and personality of cities around the world. Users can pick between four types of packages, personalize it based on customs and allergies, and await the package during the third week of every month.
SkiftTake: Product subscriptions have become a popular business across fashion, beauty and animal care industries. Attempting to introduce a travel-related subscription service is a smart risk.
>> AirrTrade is an app that lets flyers buy and sell airplane seats. Users can see what seats people are willing to sell, pay via the app, and then occupy their new seat upon boarding.
SkiftTake: This third-party app bypasses expensive airline seat fees giving flyers access to better seats or cheaper fares depending on what they value most.
>> Rice is a location-based marketplace for people that trade objects based on location. Users upload items to their profile, browse what other people are willing to trade, and make plans to meet up in person.
SkiftTake: Rice gives users an opportunity to use a forgotten object and meet locals in a new city combining the benefits of the sharing economy and meet-up platforms.
>> Tripcipe is a trip planning tools that allows user to download a Google Chrome plug-in, save businesses and destinations that interest them, and then organize that wish list into an actionable guide.
SkiftTake: Trip planning tools are released everyday, but none have yet to breakout to gain widespread popularity with the traveling public.