It’s easier than it has ever been to jump on a cheap flight to a destination of your choice, collect the keys to an apartment in the heart of the city, then scroll through pages of reviews of the best restaurants, bars, clubs and shops. Who writes the reviews for the accommodation? Other visitors. Who wrote the review that claimed the restaurant was the best spot for an authentic cultural experience? Not a local, that’s for sure. Trippin is a new travel platform created by Sam, Kesang and Yasmin, who realised that regardless of how easy travel had become, something was missing. 

Trippin is the location where an ever-expanding community of creatives meet to share recommendations for their own cities. A quick search through the stylish pages will uncover back-alley clubs, mouth-watering street food and secret city sights. As you might imagine, being the founder of a hands-on travel platform like Trippin involves a lot of moving around so we took our chance to catch up with co-founder Sam Blenkinsopp on the heels of a recent Lagos excursion to find out more about the platform that’s promoting authentic, conscious travel. 

Can you introduce yourselves?

I’m Sam Blenkinsopp, one of the founders of Trippin. Previously I was at adidas in their global brand marketing team and prior to that I had started up a small creative agency.

I founded Trippin alongside two inspirational women, Kesang and Yasmin. Kesang comes from a tech background. She studied computer science at UCL and founded her first start up, a music sharing app, straight after graduating. Yasmin is from a music background. She’s a recording artist, published writer and DJ, who has lapped the world countless times.

What is Trippin?

We are a new travel platform that’s powered by a community and focused on connecting cultures worldwide. We collaborate with our community to create inspiring and authentic content that promotes a more conscious way of travelling. 

What sparked the idea for Trippin?

Trippin was born because of a frustration with the current offerings for travel content. There was a lack of understanding for the type of travel that us and our peers were doing. It was a challenge to source trusted recommendations for places that really got beneath the surface of a destination. We knew that a lot of our friends and extended network had the information we wanted, but we needed a way to extract it and bring it together. Originally, Trippin was a Facebook group for our friends to freely exchange their travel recommendations. It became a gold mine of the best tips you could find and gradually everyone started inviting more of their friends. When we saw the level of engagement, the quality of recommendations, and the type of people in the community, we knew we were onto something special.

You started Trippin at a time when the travel market is dominated by the big names, what did you see that you wanted to change?

There are some amazing travel platforms in the market but there wasn’t anyone speaking to us. In all honesty, Trippin wasn’t fabricated because we thought it would make a great business plan, it came from a hunger for real and raw travel content that we couldn’t find anywhere else.

On another level, we strongly believe that tourism should be used as a force for good. Cities like Venice and Barcelona suffer from over-tourism and short-term rental platforms have unfortunately hiked up prices and are driving locals out of their own cities. I’m not saying that Trippin is the solution, but we’re making a conscious effort to educate people on ways they can be more conscious with their spending power to support local communities and ensure they avoid cultural dilution to be there in all their glory for generations to come.

How do you pick the people behind your guides?

One of the core values of Trippin as a business is sustainable tourism. Sustainability has three pillars: the environmental side, the economic side and the social side. We feel particularly passionate about the social part of that, and our platform allows locals to share the narrative of their hometown. Currently, the media landscape is such that reviews or guides are written by a journalist from a different culture, a different background, and who therefore sees it all through a different lens. Our priority is that every guide we make is through a local’s lens and that the person sharing their recommendations is an authority on what they’re suggesting. 

One of the great pulls of Trippin as opposed to other travel guides is its all-round design package. From clothing to UX & UI, the whole experience shows you guys have your finger on the pulse. How did you approach the design process?

There were really two sides to it. Firstly, considering the content that we’re providing, we wanted to make sure that it was utility focused: it’s something that can be used on the go, while you’re travelling. It’s mobile-first and really easy to extract the information. The second part for us was about being progressive, showing off our cultural perspective and having a unique brand identity. We wanted to make sure that we asked some questions through our design, which is sometimes even a bit obtrusive to provoke some kind of emotional reaction in the viewer.

What is the importance of travel?

Travel has the power to change people’s lives. It allows you to go on a journey of personal growth and broaden your horizons. Being embedded in another culture is a way to instantly break down barriers and enrich your life, whether that’s finding love, being inspired by something or finding a new passion. I genuinely believe that if everyone had the privilege of travelling more, the world would be a better place. 

One must-visit city and why?

I’ve got to say Lagos, Nigeria. The main reason being the huge creative movement that’s happening there right now. It’s a really interesting time in Africa as a whole, but Lagos is definitely having a good moment right now. I visited last month to do a project where we linked up with some of our community who are really pushing the boundaries of what’s expected from a country so deeply rooted in tradition. We spent some time really getting to know their city, their world, and saw how it’s all rapidly changing.

On a personal level, as a white man it was a humbling experience to feel what it’s like to be a minority. I’ve always had a rational understanding but this trip took it a level deeper and gave me a new perspective on my privilege. This is just one of the things that really cements the power and importance of travel to me.

For more information and to see Trippin’s city guides, visit trippin.world.

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