22 Travel Startup Ideas for the Avid Globetrotter

Woman rolling yellow suitcase.

Traveling is a lot of fun, which is probably why at least some of the 917 million people who traveled internationally in 2022 were out on the roads, in the sky, or out to sea. The wonderful thing about this industry is everything you learn when you’re a part of it. If this is an industry you want to launch your startup in, then you should know there are plenty of fantastic opportunities.

We’ve put together a list of innovative travel startup ideas so you can consider different approaches to your business. One of these could be the exact kind of travel work you’re interested in doing.

Startup Ideas for Travel Lovers

Since you love to travel, it makes sense to allow your sense of adventure to guide your career. Your company can be a fantastic resource for people looking to visit a local area, find bargains, or learn about traveling. Here are various startup ideas you can take a look at to start brainstorming. 

1. Ecotourism Startup

The point of ecotourism is to help with conservation efforts while making travel sustainable. Ecotourists care about how they get somewhere just as much as leaving those travel spots how they found them (or better). 

Responsible travel is an interesting area of the travel industry, making it a good choice for up-and-coming businesses. You could create a website and sell products for travelers with an eye for sustainability, or you might want to look into working with travel destinations that are interested in having tourists come to them but worried about the risks. Pairing up vacationers or tourists and these destinations could lead to a payday for your startup.

2. Travel Tech Gadgets

Sometimes, you can make traveling a little easier with gadgets. Things like earbud holders or keychains that remember temporary locker combinations can be great tools to help people who are on the go. 

Travel tech gadgets can be almost anything. If you’re an entrepreneur with a manufacturing background, you could manufacture and promote new gadget ideas. Or, consider a website selling the latest and greatest products.

3. Social Network for Travelers

For the IT-savvy, one good way to get your startup going is by creating a new social network within your niche. For travelers, a social network where they can share information, couch-surfing or housing options, or other kinds of details could be an immense help.

To be successful with a social network, you’ll need to be sure of your target audience. You may also want to consider reaching out to locals first, so you can start with a strong community when you go online.

4. Web-Based Tourism Agency

Not everyone can go to a physical tourism office to ask questions, pick up pamphlets, or learn more about a place where they’re going. However, an online tourism agency can meet their needs from anywhere. 

A successful web-based tourism agency should have agents standing by to help people with questions about their destination. You may also want to have people on call who speak multiple languages, so anyone can get assistance with the push of a button. Work with hotels, cab services, or others in the regions you promote for an added connection to the area.

5. Rental Price Comparison App

There’s nothing worse than paying a premium for a hotel room or an Airbnb—but if you don’t check the websites separately, you might not see all the discounts that are available.

Your startup can eliminate the guesswork by helping people compare their potential rentals with one another for price, availability, and features. To stand out, make it easy to see all the options in one place, so people don’t have to flip from one page to another to get all the details.

6. Ebike/Escooter Rentals

Have you ever gotten to a travel destination and wondered how you were going to get around? Maybe you weren’t planning to go far enough to need a rental vehicle, but you also are too far to travel by foot. An e-bike or e-scooter is the answer.

For your venture, consider renting out e-bikes and e-scooters not only around popular tourist destinations but also in the residential areas around them. Tracking them on an app is one way to keep watch over them, or you can rent them individually to specific individuals by the minute, hour, day, week, or month.

7. Language Translation App

A big problem some tourists run into when they’re in a different location is the inability to communicate effectively in the area’s main language. For example, if a tourist goes to China, they may be able to speak English in Beijing, but if they go out to a rural area like Hunan, it could be harder to find people to converse with. Even if they know Mandarin Chinese, different dialects can throw a wrench in the works. 

A good language translation app with an eye on local dialects can be a lifesaver in this kind of situation. Rather than focusing on just one or two main languages, a company that thinks about specific local tongues could be one that becomes necessary in some countries.

8. Foreign Money Converter Tool

One yen? Two Canadian dollars? Five euros? How exactly do those currencies translate to USD? 

For your startup, consider creating a foreign money converter tool that lets people know exactly how much they’re spending when they convert their dollars to the native currency. For an extra benefit, consider adding in ATM fees or international fees so people know exactly how much they’re spending.

9. Local Content App

When most people get to a tourist destination, they turn to the internet or brochures to find out more. They might plan where they go to dinner or which sights they see based on what they find.

That’s problematic, though, because those sources of information aren’t always accurate and may miss local gems. Your venture can focus on local content and pair up with vendors all over the area to give tourists a real bang for their buck.

10. Luggage Storage

If you’re near a local tourist destination and you know that people often come with backpacks or other luggage they won’t want to carry while interacting in the region, you could open a luggage storage facility. From paid lockers to actual luggage stops where you sell and store luggage for travelers, there are plenty of ways to set up this kind of business.

And, if you want to expand your business, you could franchise it out to other major tourist sights. Travelers will love having somewhere safe to store their belongings.

11. Abroad Education App

Those who travel abroad aren’t always prepared for the culture shock or differences in how they have to live. They could save face (and avoid getting into trouble) if they take a look at your app. 

For your venture, talk to locals and expats living abroad at the destination. Ask them about common rules and things to know—then package that information into your educational app to help travelers on their way.

12. Travel Concierge

If you’ve ever been traveling and wished you had someone you could call to arrange a cab for you or help you make dinner reservations, then you were looking for a travel concierge. Why not create a business to help others with the exact issue you dealt with? 

A travel concierge takes care of all the little details for travelers as they enjoy their vacations or business trips. You could run your startup as a call center, personal concierge service, or chat service.

13. Interest-Based AI Booking App

Artificial intelligence is seemingly everywhere these days, and for good reason. It’s very good at doing repetitive tasks, like booking flights or inputting important details for your itineraries. 

For your company, using AI to your advantage could be a great help. Consider creating an AI booking app that sorts out reservations based on the user’s interests. Have users input the kinds of foods they like or their favorite hobbies, and the AI can show them all the possible options at their chosen destination.

14. City Guide

One thing that can be hard about traveling is not being familiar with a city. A city guide helps by detailing information about the best places to eat, what the population is like, demographic information, and more. 

Creating a city guide website is one option for your startup. Partner up with local shops and services at each destination for excellent backlinks and an opportunity to sell ad space.

15. Pre-Booked Chauffeur Service

Not everyone wants to hail a taxi at the airport. It can be hard to find a bus or other transportation, though, and sitting with people they don’t know can make some travelers wary. 

Your business can help by working as a pre-booked chauffeur service. A pre-booked chauffeur service makes sure a driver is there and ready to pick up travelers at their destination so they’re taken to their hotel or reserved room safely and on time.

16. Web-Based Travel Aggregator

Another good business option for those who want to work online but who are keen on travel is to create a web-based travel aggregator website. Your business, as a travel aggregator, will find travel deals from all over the web. Then, you’ll aggregate (collect) them in one place, so people can see which deals are the best online right now.

Using an affiliate-link structure, you can make good money as an aggregator. To draw in more users, consider making deals with local businesses. Then, only show those deals on your website.

17. Bus Tours

Bus tours are an excellent option for anyone who is interested in seeing an area but not interested in driving. Bus tours go through important points of interest—some allow people to get on and off, but others just pass through the areas to give a taste of what the city or location has to offer. 

If you have a bus, one startup idea is to offer bus tours. You could focus on a single, important destination, or you could allow people to book you for tours based on their interests.

18. Carpooling App

Sometimes, people want to travel, but they don’t know who to travel with. On top of that, they might be interested in traveling but not be able to drive themselves.

A carpooling app can help. For a fee, users could browse through people offering rides. Then, they can match with each other and ride together anywhere they plan to go. Adding long-distance destinations to your app could make it stand out from others.

19. Multi-Booking Website

A multi-booking website is one that allows people to book flights, car rentals, hotels, and other services all in one place. If you love working with other businesses and pairing up with affiliate links, this kind of venture could be a good choice for you. 

Multi-booking websites take time to set up, so you’ll need a good understanding of coding and web design. To stand out? Consider offering users deep discounts or using partnerships to guarantee special rates they won’t find elsewhere.

20. Microstay Hotels

Microstay hotels are hotels that don’t require a 24-hour stay. They might rent by the minute, hour, or half-day, for example. While many travelers might find microstay hotels odd, they can be fantastic for people who get stuck in an airport for a long layover or for those who have a few hours they need to kill between activities. 

For your microstay hotel, consider capsule hotels. These small hotels fit one or two people, and they primarily offer a small TV, charging stations, and a bed. They’re easy to maintain, and you may be able to partner with local airports to rent them to weary travelers.

21. Bike-Friendly Routing App

Not every city is bike-friendly, and that can lead to accidents. However, many places have bike routes or routes preferred by local cyclists — having a route map could be a literal lifesaver for travelers unfamiliar with the area. 

On your app, consider using GPS and guidance from locals to develop maps with preferred routes. Letting users rate the routes can also help you remove routes that become dangerous or that are defunct.

22. Museum Finder

Many tourist destinations have museums that are unique and fun. From natural history museums to museums about local myths, (we’re looking at you, Mothman Museum,) your startup can help people find these educational gems. 

You will need to identify where museums are, see their open hours, and get contact information for a solid app. Consider adding a chat service for users who need their questions answered before going to museums near them.

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