Wed, Jan 01, 2014 - Page 9 News List

The issues that are to dominate the year

From the surveillance state to food security, the World Cup and missions to map out the galaxy, here is a look at the matters that will likely make headlines this year

By Charles Arthur  /  The Observer, LONDON

Unable to compete on size with behemoths such as Tripadvisor and Airbnb, the new wave of travel startups will focus instead on offering a personalized service, in effect performing the role of the old-school travel agent. After all, what is the good of having half a million apartments to browse on Airbnb if you are not sure where you want to go in the first place?

San Francisco-based Peek.com is typical of the new breed of startup, offering a selection of handpicked travel experiences in the US, London and Paris. Local personalities in each city are enlisted to suggest itineraries for their own “perfect day.”

Mygola.com is another site that was created in response to a lack of decent online itineraries for independent travelers. Users can download a suggested itinerary, modify it and book the various components all in one place. Taking this customization process one step further, new apps from travel Web site Triposo provide recommendations for things to do and places to go in 200 countries, based on your location, the time of year, the weather and your personal preferences.

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