“Same beach, same sea” as the famous song goes, yet today few vacationers still harbour this traditional attitude toward travel. While in the past, the first step to taking a trip was to head over to a travel agency and be tantalised by their sparkling brochures, now more than ever before, travellers read, prepare, research, discover and book their trips. All, pretty much, autonomously.
It is a phenomenon that has impacted the travel industry for a number of years now, as travellers tired of the same two weeks of the same old summer vacation, now have all the means at their fingertips to custom design their own travel itineraries. Through the web, which reigns king for travel booking, customrs can discover new ways and means of travelling, all completely tailored made to their desires. For travel junkies, that may translate to a new experience, instead of a simple break from the daily grind, whether it’s couchsurfing, volunteer travel, homestay exchanges or a fusion of these via AirBNB or high-end hoteliers like English vacation rental site Onefinestay (www.onefinestay.com). There’s even genealogytourism (travel in search of discovering one’s ancestry and family origins), eco tourism and local-tourism.
In this vein, there are increasingly more means through which to bridge the gap between the vacationer and the destination’s small, local businesses, offering the possibility to create extraordinary travel itineraries. As such, “travel like a local,” is the motto of the creators of travel site Responsible Travel (www.responsibletravel.com).
In addition to the already famous Cart’Orange (www.cartorange.com), i Viaggi di Atlantide (www.iviaggidiatlantide.it) and Earth (www.earthviaggi.it), a new player on the scene that has been experiencing extraordinary growth is Evaneos (www.evaneos.it), a French start-up created in 2009 by two friends that defied the standards of the current market. We spoke with Eric, one of the two founders, who explained how, just as a tailor custom creates a bespoke blazer, Evaneos provides a service to custom design a vacation from scratch.

What is Evaneos?
It is the first marketplace that connects travellers with expert local tour guides who know their own city well. We wanted to create a platform that facilitates connections between people, travellers who want to discover a country or city at their own pace and according to their own desires, with professionals in the travel industry who know their town like the back of their hand, and thus can offer a personalized service.

What is the difference between a tourist and a traveller?
A traveller, when he sees a street, wants to go off and explore it; a tourist, instead, cannot, because his group is waiting for him.

The ideal trip?
It consists of knowing how to create moments and situations that leave us speechless, that let us discover something we hadn’t expected, or meet someone new, or see things that open our eyes.

Why is it so important to connect with locals to organize a holiday?
Once a traveller organizes a trip with a true expert, he or she will never want to turn back. The local guide is the equivalent of having a friend who gives advice on where to find the hidden gems of the city. In addition, he or she is also a professional whose job it is to individually tailor each travel experience, aside from acting like a guardian angel who will make sure that everything goes as it should.

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