About Wetravel.to

Wetravel.to (pronounced like “we travel, too”), is a website for people to list or join group tours. The platform primarily aims to serve tour guides, called Travel Gurus, with tools that help simplify the process of organizing a group tour, including collecting funds, sharing logistics, finding travelers to join, and tracking traveler communications and preferences.

Created by four tech-savvy world travelers, Wetravel.to is a website with a social mission: to provide immigrants with a tool to capitalize on their unique cultural perspectives, while building connections in their new communities.

Which sounds great in theory—any person with an in-depth knowledge of their home country can use Wetravel to create a tour that provides travelers with an authentic, off the beaten path experience. In return, said Travel Guru gets a free trip to their home country (paid for by the tour fees), and some life-long friends from his or her new home as well.

Wetravel.to is still in “Beta mode,” an initial launch phase that allows them to work out any bugs that may impact member’s experience. However, after a closer look, system bugs aren’t the only thing that need working out.

If You Want to Organize a Wetravel.to Tour

Wetravel can be used to organize a wide variety of trips, ranging from yoga retreats, student trips, bachelorette trips, and dance trips to team travel. 

Additionally, Wetravel does not require their Travel Gurus to hold any level of certification, training or insurance to list a tour. Although they do recommend that trip organizers bringing five or more customers contact a travel agency to assist with accommodation bookings and other arrangements. [1]

In fact, to list a tour, the only requirement Wetravel.to has is that you must be an immigrant, as to do otherwise “would limit our social impact to the traditional ‘horizon expanding’ benefits of travel for the travelers.” [2]

It’s also stated that Travel Gurus should live near the travelers they will be inviting—“near” meaning in the traveler’s home country—giving travelers the opportunity to meet their Travel Guru before the trip starts and presumably foster those community connections mentioned in Wetravel’s mission.

If you meet Wetravel’s qualifications, earning a free ticket and some extra pocket cash can be done in three simple steps: list your tour, invite travelers, and “bon voyage!”

Listing Your Tour 

  • Create your account and list your trip. To do so, you’ll need to:
  • Create a name for your trip
  • Enter your trip’s start and end dates
  • Enter the start and end locations
  • Select the countries your trip will include
  • Enter the minimum and maximum number of travelers your trip can include
  • Select whether your trip is private, meaning by invite only, or public
  • Upload photos that represent your trip

Next, you will create a profile by providing:

  • Your name and email address
  • Languages that you speak
  • Your home country
  • Your current country
  • Your interests and a description of yourself

To finalize your tour listing, you’ll be asked to provide a list of activities that your tour will include, a description of those activities, any activities that the trip will not include and tips for your travelers. You also have the option to provide a day-by-day itinerary and will finish by deciding what price travelers must pay to join.

The website provides tour operators not only with a simple way to create their tour listings but also a platform through which to collect deposits and organize details, as well as support for first-time trip organizers. 

If You Want to Join a Wetravel.to Tour

Joining a Wetravel tour is as simple as browsing available trips, selecting how many will be traveling, and clicking “Book Now.”

That’s it: just three, simple steps and you’re off to an enriching, authentic experience that, as Wetravel.to states, will allow you a real local’s perspective while providing the additional opportunity to connect across cultures with a new friend. 

After all, that’s the whole point of Wetravel.to’s mission statement and restrictions, right?

A Closer Look at Tours Currently Available on Wetravel.to

Wetravel.to Tour #1

At the time of writing, there are six available tours listed on Wetravel. The first, named The Knapsack Collective, walks the Portugal route of the Camino de Santiago. 

Now, to say that I’ve been obsessed with the Camino de Santiago since first learning about it nine years ago would be an understatement. The journey, most often beginning in St. Jean Pied de Port, France, is over 1,300 years old and generally takes one month to complete. It has been trekked by millions of “pilgrims,” the name given to trekkers who chose to embark upon this traditionally religious route, including notable figures in history such as John Adams, Stephen Hawking (sort of), and even Martin Sheen and Emilio Estévez while filming “The Way.”

Therefore, I was pretty excited to see an alternative route to Santiago listed as one of Wetravel’s few tours.

The Knapsack Collective tour, as offered by Wetravel.to member Thomas, costs €520, roughly $570 U.S. dollars. Thomas states that travelers will receive assistance with “all the practical stuff, such as planning the trip, helping you prepare, arranging places to stay and so on.” 

Hmm… As the Camino is an established route to say the least, there’s plenty of information available online to those who would like to make the journey. So, what else do you get for a fee of upwards of $500?

What’s Included:

“Two coaches who will be at your service 16/7 [giving them eight hours to rest], a great laid-out trail, Camino experience, an awesome group, and lots of stuff yet to be discovered! On top of that, we will be there as your coaching buddies. Want to schedule a 1-on-1 chat with either one of us? No probs! Or you feel like discussing something that's on your mind while Camino'ing? We'll be there.”

What’s Not Included:

Thomas’s listing states that travelers should budget spending something around $33-38 a day. That includes staying at an albergues (dorm beds $7-13), breakfast ($4), lunch ($5) and dinner ($13). Travelers should know that prices increase if they are interested in better-than-basic food and local wineries, or if you want to stay in a private room every now and then. 

Also not included are travel costs, such as flights and hotels before and after the trip, or souvenirs.

To recap, Thomas is offering travelers the opportunity to pay for their own flights, hotels, lodging and food along the six-day journey for the low, low price of $570, in exchange for tips about walking and some life-coaching along the way?

Surely, They Must Have a Unique Cultural Perspective?

After all, Wetravel.to clearly states that their mission is to bring travelers and immigrants together, to expand horizons and share cultures, as well as providing immigrants an opportunity to travel back to their home country.

Nope. Thomas and his tour partner aren’t from either Spain or Portugal. They’re not even tour-operating newbies. They run a Camino de Santiago tour site, knapsackcollective.com, to promote their seven-day hikes. From their site:

“PS. As our names might indicate, we are both from The Netherlands...”

Wait, didn’t Wetravel.to state that:

“Our Travel Gurus often live near you. This way, you can meet them before you even book your trip, a service no other tour operator can match. Also, since our Travel Gurus live near you, they know your language and your culture, which makes the whole experience so much easier.” [3]

It turns out that neither Thomas nor his partner Roos are immigrants who have relocated from Portugal. There is not even any information provided as to whether either of them has previously experienced the tour they are offering.

Wetravel.to Tour #2

Perhaps that was an unfortunate example. Let’s take a look at the second tour listed on Wetravel, “Cultivate the best of Orange County” as guided by Tiffany.

For $50 a day, Tiffany offers a two-day tour of Orange County, which may include visiting:

  • Anaheim 
  • City of Orange 
  • Downtown Fullerton 
  • Turtle Rock hike in Irvine 
  • 1000 Step Beach in Laguna Beach
  • Local Art Museums in city of Orange, Downtown Fullerton and Downtown Santa Ana

What’s Included:

Tiffany’s tour offers transportation, breakfast (including a small gift), a discount at select restaurants, sightseeing, and access to her knowledge of “community building, food systems and environmental efforts.”

What’s Not Included:

  • Hotel accommodations 
  • Housing accommodations 
  • All meals not provided (Despite stating that breakfast is included above.)

Surely, She Must Have a Unique Cultural Perspective?

Travel Guru Tiffany is from, and lives in, the United States. Two for two, Wetravel.to doesn’t appear to be screening listed tours to ensure compliance with their promise to travelers:

“Also, since our Travel Gurus live near you, they know your language and your culture, which makes the whole experience so much easier.” [3]

For travelers interested in learning all about the OC, it’s very possible that Tiffany can deliver. However, those drawn to Wetravel to experience a tour led by a Travel Guru who also knows their customer’s home culture might be disappointed.

Other Important Things Travelers Should Know

Unless otherwise stated, international flights are not included in Wetravel.to tour prices. Additionally, travelers are responsible for their own visas and visa fees. 

Here are some other important things to understand before signing up for a tour:

Trips Aren’t Guaranteed To Run

Tours only run if the required minimum number of travelers sign up. While Wetravel.to promises to reimburse 100% of your deposit and payments, that doesn’t help vacationers with pre-scheduled plans who may be left high and dry when shopping for an alternative on short notice.

You Are Required To Buy Travel Insurance

Wetravel.to requires that you acquire comprehensive travel insurance that includes at least $200,000 worth of emergency evacuation and repatriation coverage. Here at Highya, we agree it’s a pretty good idea for every trip.

SEE ALSO: Choosing Travel Insurance That Keeps You Covered

The Cancellation Policies Vary

Travelers are instructed to check each trip’s description for the applicable cancellation policy. If no cancellation policy is mentioned in the trip description, then the policy is the following: Deposits are non-refundable if the trip is happening. If you cancel your booking more than 30 days prior to departure, the penalty is 50% of the total trip price. Within 30 days of departure, the penalty is 100%. 

Because of this, Wetravel.to highly recommends taking out a comprehensive insurance policy that covers cancellation. 

They Don’t Store Your Financial Info

Wetravel.co claims that no financial information is ever stored on their website. All financial functions take place through the payment processor Stripes.com, which is well known and respected as a safe and secure processor. 

And If You’re Not Pleased With Your Tour?

Wetravel.to claims to take great care in screening their Travel Gurus and trips. They state that in the unlikely case that a trip does not fulfill your expectations and differs from the description on their site, they will partly or entirely refund your trip to you.

Final Thoughts On Wetravel.to

Would-be Travel Gurus may have an easy time listing a tour only to see limited signups due to the healthy skepticism any experienced traveler, or consumer, would have when considering paying someone with limited or zero experience.

Travelers might further be turned off by some tour listings, which appear to be thinly veiled attempts at earning pocket cash or a free ticket, without providing the expected culturally enriching experience of touring with someone born and raised in their destination country.

Bottom line? The Wetravel.to team appears to have an idea that could be genuinely beneficial to travelers and tour operators seeking to share an authentic experience. However, their application and consistency leaves a lot to be desired.

SEE ALSO: Find the Cheapest Flights and Buy Your Next Ticket Like a Pro

References:

  1. Wetravel.to FAQ Trip Organizers
  2. What makes Wetravel a “social” enterprise?
  3. Wetravel.to FAQ Travelers

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