Samantha Patil is on a mission to change the way you see the world.
As an avid traveler, Patil often found herself on a plane, train, or in an automobile to some of the coolest destinations on Earth. Though she always loved the destination, the journey getting there was starting to rub.
"I love experiencing new places and cultures, however, I've found that trip planning is time-consuming and frustrating," she told Travel + Leisure. "Finding relevant recommendations I can actually trust is especially challenging."
So, she did something about it. Patil founded Well Traveled, an exclusive community of travelers, foodies, and adventure seekers all sharing their best tips, tricks, and hidden gems they've found on their own journeys.
Courtesy of Well Traveled
Specifically, Patil hopes that her platform can help serve a group of travelers that are often stuck in the middle between budget trips and luxury experiences.
"In reality, most modern travelers fall somewhere in the middle," she said. For example, what if I want to go camping for three days and end with a bougie night at a luxury resort? What if I want to book a budget airline for my flight and a Michelin star restaurant for dinner? The majority of our members prioritize food, culture, and local experiences over price and I'd argue in today's world that's the norm, not the exception."
Well Traveled members must go through an application process and be approved for entry, however, Patil says the company's goal is to be inclusive rather than exclusive.
"We took this approach primarily to help manage our growth and also ensure the people joining the community actually want to be there because we've all seen what happens when social media sites go unregulated and I think people are getting increasingly frustrated and overwhelmed by traditional social media platforms," she said.
Interestingly, Patil noted, while the site isn't built exclusively for women (it welcomes people of all genders, ages, backgrounds, and orientations) its member base so far is predominantly female.
Patil said Well Traveled members are people who "typically prioritize spending on experiences over physical goods. Our members are conscious travelers, often voting with their dollar, and prefer to travel more like a local and less like a tourist."
Courtesy of Well Traveled
In many ways, Patil added, the company operates similarly to a "review platform" like Yelp or TripAdvisor, but with a more modern, sophisticated edge. Travelers can follow one another like a social platform and share tips one on one, or post about their finds so everyone can see. The company also curates content for members so they can discover destinations they may never have considered before.
"We also provide a booking service for members where we help members find and book accommodations that are right for them," Patil said. "That service also includes exclusive members-only perks like room upgrades, special offers, food and beverage credit, and complimentary welcome goodies when booking through the platform."
At the company's core, it's aiming to build a travel company for those who are not being served by the current travel ecosystem.
"We're building Well Traveled for a new generation of conscious travelers who work hard and want to enjoy life but also care deeply about where and how they're spending their hard-earned cash, and time," Patil said. "They identify as 'local tourists' and are intentional about the choices they're making when they travel."
See more about the platform, and apply for entry, here.