When you mass produce for economic value creation (read profit), there are many compromises to make. Beer has to be marketed as “chilled” because the six-pack at your local store tastes nowhere as good as the real one and the cold numbs your ability to distinguish. Rapid iterations of smartphones with next to no improvements or even willful feature handicap has to be sold aggressively by celebrities otherwise you won’t buy as frequently. Pink became the color for women only recently – there was no historical preference, only recent ingenuity of divisive marketing.
Something similar has happened with travel. Tourists are universally hated not because they snap pictures with their iPads and ask for directions when you are huffing away with the daily grind, but because they have forgotten what traveling means. It used to be about self-discovery — now it’s about posing next to a few done-to-death monuments and structures. It used to be about learning the ways of the people of a foreign land — now it’s become a crass celebration of convenient stereotypes. It used to be about following your heart and finding you own way — now it’s about being shepherded around by a bored guide on a generic itinerary put together by your shady neighborhood travel agency!
Kicktraveler is a crowdfunding platform that is encouraging people to make their own unique itinerary and travel together.
The founders, Maurizio Martinoli and Francesco Forconi, are both computer engineers and travel lovers. They wanted to take a trip to India but couldn’t convince their friends to come along since they were more into the usual traveling tropes of laying down at the beaches and partying all night! Says Maurizio, “We were sure that there would at least be a few travelers in the world who would like to do this trip with us. So we set out to create a site where travel junkies like us can post their trip plan as a crowdfunding project and seek the company of other travelers.”
A point to note is that Kicktraveler is not a platform to fund your vacation, it actually promotes collaborative crowdfunding where both the backers and the trip planners make the trip happen. Maurizio explains, “By backing the trip, you are basically telling the trip creator ‘Hey, I like your itinerary and I want to come along so here’s my share.‘ If it gets the minimum number of travelers specified by the trip creator, the trip takes off or else, everyone gets refund.”
As an interested traveler, you start by making a deposit of 10% of the total estimated cost of the trip that wont’ be charged until the minimum number of travelers join in. The rest of the payment is handled offline between the traveler and the trip creator.
Kickstarting collective Travel Experience
There are many online forums for people willing to travel to the same destination, such as TravBuddy but being a dedicated web application, Kicktraveler provides a much better experience that streamlines all the aspect involved from planning and posting to finding and safely backing a trip.
For now, the site is completely free and there are no transaction fees involved so head over to their site and start the packing your bags!