Travelling has a different meaning to everyone — some lounge around and pamper themselves, while others soak in the culture or throw themselves into Mother Nature’s not so friendly embrace. But everyone wants to experience something “different”.
Singapore startup Anywhr, removes the troublesome (over) thinking that gets in the way of a good holiday, by having all your travel preferences checked for you.
Sometimes, to find new perspectives and to get out of your bubble – you have to lose control. And by this, I mean to go on a surprise trip entirely planned by the company.
Questions like “Where will they send me?”, “What’s there to do?”, “Will I regret this?” have probably come to mind when engaging Anywhr. Even for the seemingly adventurous like me, taking away the ability to plan left me a little jittery.
But, you’re going to thank me for introducing this to you, I promise.
Signing yourself up for a trip planned by Anywhr is as straightforward as it gets. They’ve even got a nifty infographic that illustrates the entire process (clearly). It’s as clear as day, but just in case, we’ve got some screenshots of the booking process.
First you pick the type of trip you’d like. Trips are categorised into Experience, Getaway, Adventure and Wild Card.
The Experience section lets you quit being a tourist and live like a local, allowing you to learn all about the destination’s culture in its full glory.
The Getaway is all about relaxing, unwinding… you know, that sorta stuff. Probably away from the hustle and bustle of the city, near the beaches or somewhere less crowded without the pesky tourists.
The Adventure is for you to go loco! Now we’re talking. This option is for the bold ones and brave souls that aren’t afraid to step into uncharted territories.
Once you’re done with selecting a preferred category, you’ll have to select your budget; from low to high end.
The highest is S$700 if you’re swimming in cash, S$500 for something more mid-range.
S$400 is where the real fun is at, and being the daredevils that we are, we felt compelled to choose that budget. Thereafter, you’ll have to select the duration of the trip, ranging from 2D1N to 14D13N.
Also, let em’ know where you’ve been to recently, and where you definitely don’t want to be sent to.
Some final touches include the option to travel light, or if you’re checking in luggage. Very detailed I must say.
Coupled with options for customisation!
If you still can’t comprehend how it works, check out this link. If that still doesn’t get through to you… just stay at home.
With a kickass colleague named Ben in tow, we arranged for an Adventure trip. We even left a special request to up the ante for our upcoming trip. And we got exactly what we asked for — as much as the good folks at Anywhr could dream up into the lofty three days and two nights we could spare.
This won’t be like many other travel write ups you’re going to read. We’re not going to tell you how fantastic (or horrible) the trip was because Anywhr is all about individualised experiences.
That said, they won’t force you to do anything you don’t want to, they will merely give you the opportunity to do what you normally wouldn’t.
6:30 am at the airport and we only had a sliver of information. The moment had arrived – we pulled our travelogue and postcard out of the envelope to reveal our destination, a city which we had never heard of before, in a neighbouring country.
We were specifically told by Anywhr not to reveal it here either, so good luck guessing friends.
We had our flight to Jakarta, which wasn’t our destination; how we got to the satellite city approximately 1.5 hours out of Jakarta was entirely up to us. We had the address of our accommodation, but not a word about how to make our way there… only because we asked for an “Adventure + adventure”.
After some wandering about, some head scratching and a bit of talking to the locals, we found ourselves on a bus to where we needed to be. Getting to the exact address, however, was another adventure in itself.
Tucked away in your travelogue are personalised challenges and tasks that Anywhr hopes you’ll attempt, lest you’re a wuss!
“Give a driver directions without using English”. I tried, Ben filmed and we didn’t get far. Better luck next time.
Hopping on the seemingly random, barebones, speedy little green vans that’ll get you to your destination faster than any carpooling app, we got within walking distance of our accommodation. All we had to do was find it.
Were we travelling like we meant it? Up till this point we felt like we were. We’d flown in, taken a bus and hopped on a couple of vans, and had little knowledge up till this point.
Hungry and definitely a little tired, this is what travelling should be about. Getting stuck in, feeling a little lost in a land you’re a stranger to and that is equally strange to you.
Being a catalyst for local interactions is something the people behind Anywhr do very well. This was very evident when we met Tom, our local home-stay host for the trip.
The man exudes a sage-like aura and you’ll probably meet him should you find yourself travelling to the same little city in Indonesia.
Anywhr doesn’t plan or dictate what you do or don’t do during your trips but Tom, our soft-spoken host, is a man that is “hospitality” personified and gives all his guests a tour of his hometown on foot.
The man is always on the go, and if he isn’t walking with you, he’s probably out with his other guests. Rising at 3 am every day, he’ll bring you to spots to catch the sunrise. Spots you wouldn’t know about without the knowledge of a local.
Other times, with the use of the helpful travelogue, we found ourselves wandering through the local wet markets.
And with lady luck shining down upon us, we found a bar that overlooked a great view to grab a drink… or maybe it was 10.
Within the 3D2N Anywhr trip we walked amongst the beauty of nature, ate our way through the city, wandered through markets, and yes, we even found a bar with a ridiculously good view, got piss-drunk, fed our munchies at the famed “golden arches” and stumbled back safely to our home-stay at 1 am only to discover Tom had locked his front door (the prelude to a great side story).
If your idea of travelling is to shop till you drop, then maybe you should stick to that. However, if you want to create memories and the cool stories that come along with it, you’ll just have to travel like you mean it.
Do note that Anywhr.co only books your flight tickets and accommodations – everything else is up to your imagination.
Prices: Starting from S$400 per trip