Tripatini: An Excellent Travel Resource

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

Love to travel? And, love to share or glean travel advice? I've got the site for you! Tripatini is a fantastic resource for travelers - and experts! The social network the New York Post called “Facebook for travelers” is chock-full of groups to satisfy the knowledge yearnings of any traveler - countries, languages, interests, and more. There’s also a diverse blog with articles covering everything from food (Paris ethnic restaurants) to culture (Kansas City jazz) to travel deals (last-minute travel).  I love it - and am proud to be a Michigan Expert on the site! We were lucky enough to sit down and chat with José Balido, President of Tripatini.com, about the site, travel advice, experiential travel, and more. Here's what he had to say...

 

 

WE: Please tell us about your site, Tripatini...

JB: Tripatini.com is the social network for both travelers and travel experts. Whether it's travel journalists, publicists, hotel or restaurant owners, flight attendants, a student with a backpack or just someone who dreams about travel, everyone can ask everyone else questions and learn how to travel better and smarter.

 

 

WE:  What was the genesis of your site?

JB: Tripatini was born from the realization that, as traditional travel print media disappear, travelers have been left with a dearth of reliable travel information. We represent a new channel of communication between travelers and the travel trade professionals who have the answers they need.

 

 

WE: Your site provides great travel advice - who is that coming from?

JB: Like other social media sites, anyone can weigh in and offer advice. What sets Tripatini apart from other travel social networks is the fact that that advice comes not just from other travelers like you, but also from professionals in the field, be they travel journalists, publicists, vendors, and others.

 

 

WE: You've also got groups on Tripatini - can you please share some of them that would be of interest to our Wandering Educators?

JB: At last count, we have almost 350 groups, covering most destinations and imaginable topics. First off, you would want to join the group(s) for the destination(s) you are interested in. Other possible groups of interest for educators include Learning/Language School Vacations; Spring Break; Culture Vultures; Museum Mavens; and History, Heritage & Archeology, among others.

 

 

WE: You've recently partnered with Hg2 - Hedonist Guides. What content will be shared by them on the site?

JB: Hg2 will provide a monthly "Spotlight" for use on our home page, taken from their edgy "Hedonist guides" to 22 cities around the world. Most recently, we spotlighted a restaurant in Moscow that specializes in Siberian/Arctic cuisine. Interestingly, that got more hits on our Twitter account than just about anything in recent memory.

You're also the first to know that we are partnering with Wandermelon.com, an excellent site for "experiential travel," and they will provide the same type of monthly content.

 

 

WE: How do you suggest people give back, while traveling?

JB: Above all, buy local, especially in the developing world. We love the big multinational hotel and fast-food chains, as they serve an important function for many travelers. But for the traveler who wants to give back, there's nothing like knowing that profits from your trip spend will stay right where it's needed most. Thus, a locally-owned hotel in Marrakesh, or a family-owned eatery in Mumbai, will be your best bet.

As importantly, I would say, get to know the locals and treat them with respect. This can mean more in some cases than any money you might leave behind. I always remember a very memorable meal at the fishing port in Essaouira, Morocco, where the fisherman/cook grilled the most delicious squid I've ever eaten over charcoal right in front of me on a makeshift barbecue. But that's not why the meal was memorable: all throughout, Fouad chatted with me, practicing his English. Most of the conversation was about cell phones and computers and how much RAM is good. I suspect he did not have a PC at home, but our discussing it like any two men in New York or Paris or London might, for a moment made the cook/customer, First World/Third World distinction disappear. For a moment, he showed me that he was more than a colorful fisherman/cook: he was a human being. At the end, he told me his name was Fouad, which in Arabic means "heart." And he thumped his chest. I still get goosebumps. And I'd give anything for another helping of squid.

I have seen too many tourists treat locals like Fouad as extras in their movie. Listen. Talk. In that order. And you will have many friends around the world.

 

 

WE:  Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

JB: At Tripatini, we believe that travel is more than a leisure activity: it shapes our, and others', view of the world. If more people traveled and really got to know the locals, there might be fewer wars. We encourage everyone to get to know our planet, and to share their experiences with their friends and family. Ultimately, we believe that's our mission: to help people travel better, and spread the word.

 

 

WE: Thanks so very much, Jose! I enjoy Tripatini and am so pleased to recommend it to our readers.

For more information, please see:

http://www.tripatini.com/

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