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‘Your Local Cousin’ Redefines Travel Planning with New Social Platform

Curators’ Corner

‘Your Local Cousin’ Redefines Travel Planning with New Social Platform

Anyone who has ever gone on vacation knows that planning your trip can be a blur, particularly when it comes to sifting through reviews on popular travel sites. For the traveling photographer or art enthusiast in search of that perfect itinerary without the endless hours of research, a new platform called Your Local Cousin might be your new best friend.

Launched in February 2015, the Your Local Cousin website is a place for travelers to connect with locals in a given destination for travel tips and advice. The concept came about when three cousins, Kunal Jain, Aarti Kanodia, and Riddhi Jhunjhunwala, realized how having each other as tour guides enhanced their travels between the places they call home (Singapore, New York, and India, respectively).


“We developed the website in three days,” Jain tells Duggal Connect. “And within the first week, we had not only paying customers but also requests coming in for us to add more cities.”

Your Local Cousin is built on the multi-sided market model that has proven immensely successful in new-age platforms such as Uber and Airbnb. Travelers pay between $9 and $15 for a 15-30-minute chat with a local resident via phone, email, or any mutually preferred messaging app supported by the platform (Skype is the most popular). At the end of the conversation, the local guide sends the traveler a recap of the itinerary that can include a customized Google Map.

Your Local Cousin

On the other side, locals are paid between 70 to 80 percent of the fee for sharing their knowledge – by no means a “get rich quick” scheme, but certainly a feasible income opportunity when you consider the growth potential of the company’s crowdsourcing. And Jain, who has traveled to more than 30 countries himself, says it’s not always about the money for locals.

“We find that many of our locals are actually well-off professionals,” he says. “They’re just passionate about their city and want to help others have a great experience, or perhaps this is a segue to new international business and networking opportunities for them.”

Travelers are matched to locals through an initial questionnaire that considers everything from their budget and whom they’re traveling with to any dietary restrictions, special interests, etc. Being that we live for art and photography, we’re thinking this is a great way for art lovers to discover museums and installations off the beaten path, and for photographers to plan their shoots.

Your Local Cousin Ad

Currently, there are about 400 locals across 230 cities in 70 countries, and during Your Local Cousin’s pilot phase, more than 300 users have consulted the site more than once – an excellent sign of a positive customer experience.

There is no “meet and greet” component at the moment, but Jain says it’s a possibility down the road. For the time being, your Local Cousin is ramping up talks with travel agencies and a plethora of other prospective partners; from cruise companies and tourism commissions to fellow lifestyle apps, and even local businesses. An updated website is also in the works and expected to launch sometime in September.

This seems like a great idea that has a chance to really reshape the art of the travel itinerary. And with a brand new photo contest offering tons of giveaways, there’s no better time to try it out. Bon voyage!

Your Local Cousin