The Travel Type {AFAR}

One evening this week when I should have been working on my thesis – like I should be doing right now – I came across AFAR. While I’ve heard mention of it several times before, something about this visit grabbed me. Rather being taken directly to the magazine – which is a great alternative to what is typically on newsstands, as its focus is on experiential and local travel (and unfortunately only available in the US) – I was redirected to their latest addition, Afar Connect. The process to sign up is free and really simple, and in doing it you respond to fun questions and learn what kind of traveler personality you are (I’m a “cultural explorer” – see below). Based on your responses, questions are generated that you’ll likely be able to help with, as you serve as the “local” expert. It acts a bit like Twitter (one of my favorite addictions these days) meets travel, where you’re given brief snippets of what like-minded people are looking for, and then you’re invited to share as many tips and insights as you want, as well as having the freedom to search the archives and see what other ideas people have shared. The process is really streamlined, fun, and addictive. It also – like my thesis – shows how 2-way communication and human involvement and interaction is the future of travel.

P.S. This week two great articles by Lara Dunston went up: An Entrepreneurial Model for Travel Writers Working in an Evolving Media and A Model of Travel Writing: Lara Dunston Spills on GranTourismo. And it was through this Chat with Fred Dust of IDEO by Shaun Harris where I first learned about AFAR’s recent work “creating connections between travelers and locals instead of travelers and travel experts.”

{images via AFAR}


  • VERY fun link…

    I am a “Fun-Loving Discoverer”::

    When I travel, I don’t want to live in the past: I want to experience the now. I go dancing, check out the music scene, shop in up-and-coming designers’ shops, and check out the modern art scene.

    I like to go where no traveler has gone before. Other people avoid rustic accommodations, unfamiliar languages, and challenging travel; I seek them out.

    Usually, I
    * Enjoy the thrill of discovery
    * Live life with no regrets
    * Act independently

    Sometimes, I
    * Take long trips
    * Spend money on travel
    * “Rough it” on a trip

  • Funny that you should feature AFAR.

    My mother got me a subscription for Christmas, and I got my first issue in the mail a week or two ago.

    I’d actually seen and purchased the magazine’s premiere issue in 2009 and maybe one subsequent. But, sadly, I haven’t really been moved by it. Though I’d really like to be. The concept is great, and clearly someone loves it because it’s already picked up an award – the Gold Lowell Thomas Award for Best Travel Magazine by the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation – and was featured on Martha Stewart last February.

    The site leaves much to be desired for me, but perhaps it will improve or grow on me. At present, I’ve not joined Afar Connect. But maybe (because you’re so stoked about it) I’ll give it a go.


  • Well, not entirely accurate, but not completely off, either :)

    Thanks! Based on your answers you are an Active Wanderer

    There’s a world to explore, and I’m not going to see it from my hotel room. When I travel, I like to get outside as much as possible, whether it’s in the sun, in the snow, in the water, up in the mountains, or all of the above.

    When I travel to a new place, I don’t want to miss a thing. I might take a guided tour of the important sites, but I always leave a little time to explore a place on my own.

    * Usually, I
    * Prefer well-organized trips
    * Prefer staying in comfortable places
    * Return often to places I love

    * Sometimes, I
    * Am adventurous
    * Seek advice from experts
    * Don’t mind traveling in groups

  • Okay. Been on Afar Connect all morning – and it’s now afternoon. Totally addictive/d. You were 100% right about how cool and fun this site is. I was wrong to be so skeptical. I’ll not question you again!


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