34 Top Travel Startups to Watch in 2022

Man sitting in a beachside home.

The travel industry was hard hit by the pandemic, with travel startups facing sharp declines in demand at pivotal stages of their business. The companies that are thriving today are those that have quickly adapted to meet the ever-evolving needs of travelers.

From work retreats to staycations, innovation is the name of the game. These top travel startups are promoting tourism by making it more convenient, more eco-friendly, and simply more fun. There are plenty of opportunities for any entrepreneur, particularly as the public gets their second wind to get back out there and start exploring.

Recommended: Learn how to launch your own company by reading our comprehensive guide on how to start a startup.

Best Travel Startups to Follow

Every year, new startups pull to the forefront of their industry through exciting innovation and industry-disrupting business models. We’ve rounded up the top travel startups of 2022 that startup lovers, investors, and aspiring entrepreneurs should follow.

Disclaimer: With so many exciting travel companies launching and growing worldwide, we aren’t able to cover them all. Furthermore, the startups that are listed below are not officially ranked and are listed in no particular order.

1. Citycatt

  • Location: Orlando, Florida
  • Founders: Lizia Santos, Lis Sommerville
  • Founded In: 2017
  • Funding: Pre-Seed, $50,000
  • Investors Include: Journey Venture Partners

There are plenty of companies that make it easy to book travel plans. Citycatt, however, takes this service a step further by providing customers with a personalized itinerary based on recommendations from local travel influencers known as "Catts."

2. Airalo

  • Location: Singapore
  • Founder: Ahmet Bahadir Ozdemir
  • Founded In: 2019
  • Funding: Series A, $7.3 Million
  • Investors Include: The Ventures, Plug and Play, Sahra Growth Capital, et al.

Airalo is providing a more flexible phone alternative no matter what country you’re in. Their eSIM store is the first of its kind, offering affordable, local rates for eSIM compatible phones, tablets, or PC computers. Customers never have to worry about carrying several SIM cards, changing their phone number, or losing communication capabilities with Airalo eSIM cards.

3. Luxury Travel Hackers

  • Location: Los Angeles, California
  • Founders: Gary Kohn, Katie Warner
  • Founded In: 2019
  • Funding: Equity Crowdfunding, $980,800
  • Investors Include: Raghu Kilambi, Thomas Mangas

Luxury Travel Hackers is utilizing the power of influencer marketing to create Instagram-friendly vacations. Travel content created with the help of impactful influencers is provided for customers to view their dream vacation, which is then bookable through social media, hassle-free.

Check out our interview with the co-founder of Luxury Travel Hackers!

4. Tripsider

  • Location: San Francisco, California
  • Founders: Olga Bortnikova, Ivan Bortnikov
  • Founded In: 2018
  • Funding: Seed, $1 Million
  • Investors Include: Liqvest, Mission Gate, Starta VC, et al

Next on our list of top travel startups is Tripsider, an app that matches people with the right trip based on everything from their interests to their budget. The company compares the algorithm to that of a dating app, taking into account values, past experiences, and goals to match people with a travel expert via text or phone call. Experts have resources to help travelers officially confirm their bookings, removing one more thing for vacationers to worry about.

5. TravelPerk

  • Location: Barcelona, Spain
  • Founders: Avi Meir, Javier Suarez, and Ron Levin
  • Founded In: 2015
  • Funding: Series D, $408.2 Million
  • Investors Include: Kinnevick, Greyhound Capital, Gillian Tan, et al.

TravelPerk is a travel platform that helps business travelers manage their travel and expenses as well as book business trips with ease. The platform suits businesses of all sizes and streamlines the process of finding, booking, and planning business travel.

6. Scott’s Cheap Flights

  • Location: Fort Collins, Colorado
  • Founders: Scott Keyes, Brian Kidwell
  • Founded In: 2015
  • Funding: Undisclosed
  • Investors Include: Undisclosed

Founded in 2015, Scott's Cheap Flights is a startup designed to help travelers save money on flights. After signing up for a membership, Scott's Cheap Flights members are able to receive deals on airline tickets straight to their inbox, with the company promising to save its members up to 90% on ticket costs.

7. Port

  • Location: Singapore
  • Founders: Philip Man, William Sjahrial
  • Founded In: 2020
  • Funding: Pre-Seed, Undisclosed
  • Investors Include: H.I.S

Port is a travel-tech app that provides users with an easy way to attend events remotely. Users are equipped with live, interactive video tours and experiences to see new places across the globe and even preview a destination before booking an in-person trip.

Feeling inspired? Learn how to launch your company with our guide on how to start a startup.

8. The Hotels Network

  • Location: Barcelona, Spain
  • Founders: Juanjo Rodriguez, Laura Martinez Celada, Marc Rollan Serrano
  • Founded In: 2015
  • Funding: Series B, $15.2 million
  • Investors Include: Seaya Ventures, Elaia, 4Founders Capital, NFX

The Hotels Network is a platform that serves as a method of growth for hotels using technology to attract and convert online visitors to paying customers by creating a unique, personalized, and predictive user experience. Hotels can use the platform to compare reviews, pricing, analytics in order to create more impactful marketing campaigns.

9. Butler Hospitality

  • Location: New York, New York
  • Founder: Premtim Gjonbalic
  • Founded In: 2018
  • Funding: Series B, $50 Million
  • Investors Include: Maywic Select Investments, Mousse Partners, Shamrock Holdings, Loeb NYC, et al.

Butler Hospitality is an on-demand platform reinventing room service by offering high-quality, gourmet amenities delivered right to your hotel. For limited-service hotels, this startup provides an offsite room service alternative that increases customer satisfaction.

Discover more top startups in NYC.

10. Elude

  • Location: Los Angeles, California
  • Founders: Alex Simon, Frank Scerbo, Ivan Smirnov
  • Founded In: 2019
  • Funding: Seed, $7.1 Million
  • Investors Include: Unicorn Venture Partners, Upfront Ventures Community Fund, Gaingels, Mucker Capital, et al.

Elude is a company in Los Angeles that turns planning trips into a truly unique experience. With Elude, travelers have a variety of options for planning their next getaway. The company's most popular service is a service that matches travelers with bookings based on their budget, travel date, preferred location, and other pertinent information. After entering this information, travelers are then matched with a selection of bookings that meet their requirements.

11. LOVU

  • Location: New York, New York
  • Founder: Shri Lildharrie
  • Founded In: 2021
  • Funding: Undisclosed
  • Investors Include: Undisclosed

LOVU is a tech startup that offers an app marketplace for all of your romantic travel needs, from hotels to cruises and more. All of the important romantic events in your life, such as proposals, destination weddings, and honeymoons, can be planned in beautiful, memorable locations using the LOVU app.

12. Duffel

  • Location: London, United Kingdom
  • Founders: Steve Domin, Tom Bates, Vincent Pastor
  • Founded In: 2017
  • Funding: Series B, $56.2 Million
  • Investors Include: Index Ventures, Kima Ventures, Blossom Capital, Benchmark, et al.

Duffel is an online platform for travelers to find, book, and manage flights from a myriad of airlines. Working in tandem with airlines to provide a better customer experience, Duffel provides travelers with real-time pricing and availability to make booking a trip easier than ever.

13. Troop

  • Location: Madrid, Spain
  • Founders: Dennis Vilovic, Leonard Cremer
  • Founded In: 2017
  • Funding: Series A, $8.9 Million
  • Investors Include: Barney Hartford, All Iron Ventures, Mike Eberhard, Rolf Schromgens, Epic Ventures

Troop is a travel technology company that utilizes data to help corporations plan in-person meetings. Leveraging the power of science and technology, Troop makes planning in-person meetings for their Fortune 500 companies sustainable, safe, and secure.

14. Roadsurfer

  • Location: Munich, Germany
  • Founders: Christoph Niemann, Markus Dickhardt, Susanne Dickhardt
  • Founded In: 2017
  • Funding: Series Unknown, $28.9 Million
  • Investors Include: Lawrence Leuschner, Heartcore Capital, 10x Group, et al.

Roadsurfer rents RV campers to outdoor lovers in Europe and America. The company stands for freedom and offers a number of perks to its customers, including unlimited mileage, a free second driver, road assistance, and flexible rebooking options. For anyone who dreams of getting away from it all and experiencing van life for a few months, this company is connecting people to the vehicles they need to hit the road.

15. Pickyourtrail

  • Location: Chennai, India
  • Founders: Hari Ganapathy, Srinath Shankar
  • Founded In: 2014
  • Funding: Venture, $3 Million
  • Investors Include: Kumar Vembu, Vinay Ahuja, Girish Mathrubootham, Kunal Shah

Pickyourtrail is India’s largest online holiday booking platform for DIY travelers. People come here to customize their vacations by building unique itineraries from the ground up. The platform takes into account people’s interests, timelines, and budgets before crafting travel that will mesh with the individual’s tastes. The company also works with a number of tourism boards in popular locations, such as Iceland, Japan, and New Zealand, to create more streamlined experiences for all customers.

Discover more startups in India to watch.

16. Holidu

  • Location: Munich, Germany
  • Founders: Johannes Siebers, Michael Siebers, Rasmus Porsgaard
  • Founded In: 2014
  • Funding: Series D, $102.1 Million
  • Investors Include: Venture Stars, Prime Ventures, EQT Ventures, et al.

Holidu is a website where vacationers can book accommodations at the lowest price. It was started by the founders after trying to find a place to stay in Portugal, only to find that many of the same properties were listed on different sites at different prices. Their platform makes it possible to search and book rental properties without having to worry if there was a better deal out there.

17. Whimstay

  • Location: San Francisco, California
  • Founders: Alexander Alioto, Ben Jamshahi, Kamesh Jasani, Noel Russell
  • Founded In: 2018
  • Funding: Private, Undisclosed
  • Investors Include: Undisclosed

Whimstay is designed for last-minute travelers who want great deals. The app and website helps property owners and hosts match their unsold nights with travelers, so everyone can benefit from the search engine. The company is built on the premise that many of our favorite travel moments are entirely unplanned, and the platform boasts up to 60% savings off the original costs of rental properties.

18. Origin

  • Location: Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • Founders: Eli Bressert, Tamar van de Paal
  • Founded In: 2019
  • Funding: Seed, $5 Million
  • Investors Include: David Rosenthal, Brad Klingerberg, Cavalry Ventures, Project A Ventures, et al.

Next on our list of the best travel companies is Origin. Most people take just under 3 weeks to book a trip, and while some people may love piecing it all together, most just want to just get it over with. Origin personalizes your vacations with end-to-end planning with the help of travel curators. The team is there so travelers don’t have to skip from site to site, and these experts often deliver experiences that travelers would never have without their interference.

19. Boom Supersonic

  • Location: Englewood, Colorado
  • Founders: Blake Scholl, Joe Wilding, Joshua Krall
  • Founded In: 2014
  • Funding: Series Unknown, $247.5 Million
  • Investors Include: Prime Movers Lab, Caruso Ventures, Ion Pacific, et al.

Boom Supersonic is attempting to cut down on travel time by as much as half with supersonic jets. Travelers have the option of going from Tokyo to Seattle in as little as 4.5 hours (compared to 8.5 hours in a standard passenger plane). The company offers more than 500 transoceanic routes, allowing more people to test their boundaries and explore the world.

20. Leavy

  • Location: Paris, France
  • Founders: Aziza Chaouachi, Mario Moinet, Yassine Ben Romdhane
  • Founded In: 2017
  • Funding: Private, $19 Million
  • Investors Include: Prime Ventures

Leavy allows people to live anywhere they’d like, if only for 24 hours or less. Though it was founded before the pandemic, the company is tapping into the idea of travel and affordability. The platform pairs customers with people willing to share their homes and pays cash to anyone who will open the door. While accommodation amenities vary, the barebones feature of Leavy is opening the door to people who might not have been able to afford travel otherwise.

21. Fly Now Pay Later

  • Location: London, United Kingdom
  • Founders: Enrico di San Marzano, Jasper Dykes, Stuart Jeffrey
  • Founded In: 2015
  • Funding: Series A, $177.7 Million
  • Investors Include: Atalaya Capital, Revenio Capital, Taurus Wealth, Shadowbrook Bank, et al.

Fly Now Pay Later helps travelers spread the costs of their vacation, so they can book it and then pay it off in installments. With this service, customers can download the app, specify their budget, and then choose a repayment plan that works for them. Once the company has all of the information, travelers will get a single-use card that they can use to book it all. They can sort out how to pay for it when they return.

22. Questo

  • Location: Bucharest, Romania
  • Founders: Alexandru Govoreanu
  • Founded In: 2017
  • Funding: Seed, $1.8 Million
  • Investors Include: Early Game Ventures, Sparking Capital

Questo is a gaming app for travelers designed to help them explore cities and towns in an unusual way. So if an individual in London wanted to hunt down Jack the Ripper, they’re whisked away on an exciting quest, gathering clues in real time while learning about history at the same time. Games range depending on destination, so you can uncover the Midici conspiracy in Florence or discover the ghosts of Glasgow.

23. Omio

  • Location: Berlin, Germany
  • Founders: Naren Shaam
  • Founded In: 2013
  • Funding: Series E, $476 Million
  • Investors Include: Lazard Asset Management, Stack Capital, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, et al.

Omio is a transportation app that gives travelers an easy way to travel long distances. It’s not designed for getting around a city but rather suggests nearby airports and train routes that would make it possible to cover serious ground at the drop of a hat. It helps travelers visualize the best routes to take based on everything from speed to price. Travelers can also access tickets on their phones for trains and planes, adding an extra layer of convenience.

24. YouLive to Travel (YouLi)

  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
  • Founders: Bron Thulke, Caitlin Wynne, Jennifer Fein
  • Founded In: 2016
  • Funding: Angel, $200,000
  • Investors Include: Undisclosed

YouLi is designed for travel professionals who work with group tours. Because each individual will have their own needs, including diet, budget, flight details, and payment preferences, YouLi gives professionals all the software tools they need to support travelers and puts all of the tasks in one single place. From pre-trip agreements to cancellation policies to packing lists, it simplifies everything.

25. Surf Air

  • Location: Santa Monica, California
  • Founders: Cory Cozzens, David Eyerly, Liam Fayed, Reed Farnsworth, Scott Craig Porter, Sudhin Shahani, Wade Eyerly
  • Founded In: 2011
  • Funding: Series Unknown, $113.7 Million
  • Investors Include: IVP, Troy Capital, Sway Ventures, et al.

Surf Air is an environmentally friendly company that’s introducing the world to zero-emission flying with the help of electric vehicles. With more than 910 million tons of carbon on the line, the company is starting with existing aircraft. The staff replaces the standard engine with an electric version as a means to decarbonize the travel industry.

26. SafetyWing

  • Location: Palo Alto, California
  • Founders: Hans Nyvold Kjellby, Lona Alia, Sarah Beyahte Sandnes, Sondre Rasch
  • Founded In: 2017
  • Funding: Series B, $47.1 Million
  • Investors Include: Creandum, Alma Mundi Ventures, Kinnevik, et al. 

SafetyWing describes its products as insurance for nomads, by nomads. The company makes it possible for people outside their home country to get the medical help they need, including treatments needed for COVID-19, should they become ill or injured while abroad. People can even purchase insurance while they’re in a foreign country.

Discover more Silicon Valley startups to follow.

27. Wanderlog

  • Location: San Francisco, California
  • Founders: Harry Yu, Peter Xu
  • Founded In: 2018
  • Funding: Private, $1.7 Million
  • Investors Include: Abstract Ventures, Y Combinator, General Catalyst

Wanderlog is a free travel app that makes it possible for travelers to build and map their vacations. Designed for trips of all kinds, including the open road, it’s a way for people to keep all of their details organized so they know where they are, what they’re doing, and where they’re going at all times. Drive times, reviews, and reservations can all be tracked in one handy place, making it less likely that something will go wrong along the way.

28. Peek

  • Location: San Francisco, California
  • Founders: Oskar Bruening, Ruzwana Bashir
  • Founded In: 2012
  • Funding: Series C, $119.9 Million
  • Investors Include: Eric Schmidt, 12 BF Global Ventures, Cathay Innovation, et al.

Peek helps tourism businesses book more people by offering handy software to take payments, market their services, and manage reviews. So far, the company has powered more than $1 billion in experiences (e.g., paddleboards, pottery classes, rafting, etc.). Their customers love the easy-to-use platform that makes it possible to both generate and track business.

29. The Bach

  • Location: New York, New York
  • Founders: Anthony Menna, Greg Ramey, Mike Petrakis
  • Founded In: 2018
  • Funding: Private, $8 Million
  • Investors Include: Alumni Ventures, Rich Paul, Corazon Capital, et al.

The Bach is designed specifically for bachelor or bachelorette parties. It helps the core planner track the details of the trip, so everyone can have a smooth experience. Trying to coordinate anything on a group trip like this can be an exercise in futility, but the app accounts for any number of scenarios, making it possible for people to have more fun before, during, and after the trip.

30. Sēkr

  • Location: San Diego, California
  • Founders: Breanne Acio, Jessica Shisler
  • Founded In: 2020
  • Funding: Private, $3.1 million
  • Investors Include: Crescent Ridge Partners Ventures, Storyteller Overland, Backstage Capital, et al

Sēkr is a mobile platform for outdoor lovers, making it easier, safer, and more communal to plan a trip and dig into the Great Outdoors. The company has more than 50,000 campsites included in its platform, making it the nation’s largest database of free campsites and local events. People can use it to learn more about what they can really expect at each site, and to connect to virtual friends with similar interests.

31. Point.me

  • Location: New York, New York
  • Founders: Adam Morvitz, Tiffany Funk
  • Founded In: 2020
  • Funding: Seed, $2 Million
  • Investors Include: Bethenny Frankel, Chantal Noble Haldorsen, Jeffrey Katzenberg, et al.

Next up on our list of top travel startups is Point.me. With so many different types of airline miles and points out there, it can be difficult for travelers to keep track of all their rewards. As a result, they often end up losing out on their benefits, or cashing them in for a fraction of what they’re worth. Point.me scours the internet to find the absolute best deals for travelers who want to get the most from each and every point.

32. AvantStay

  • Location: Los Angeles, California
  • Founders: Reuben Doetsch, Sean Breuner
  • Founded In: 2017
  • Funding: Private Equity, $686 Million
  • Investors Include: Saluda Grade, Bullpen Capital, Fred Tuomi, et al.

AvantStay is a booking platform with unique properties that can be used for personal or commercial use alike. These are luxury rentals that feature unique amenities, including stunning interior design for groups. Excellent for family and company retreats or just a fun weekend trip between friends, AvantStay makes it possible for travelers to hammer down accommodation details and organize additional excursions as well (e.g., spa treatments, wine tastings, etc.).

33. Spotnana

  • Location: New York, New York
  • Founders: Sarosh Waghmar, Shikhar Agarwal
  • Founded In: 2020
  • Funding: Series A, $41 Million
  • Investors Include: Mubadala Capital Ventures, Decibel Partners, Scott Belsky, et al.

Spotnana designs software to connect partners, suppliers, and providers, all in service of improving the booking experience for travelers. The idea is to unbundle travel, making it possible for travelers in the future to get anything they need without the hassle. The core values are freedom and trust, reintroducing choice to the traveler so they feel comfortable making any and all of their arrangements online.

34. Sonder

  • Location: San Francisco, California
  • Founders: Francis Davidson, Lucas Pellan, Martin Picard
  • Founded In: 2014
  • Funding: Post IPO-Equity, $839.6 Million
  • Investors Include: Principal Global Investors, BlackRock, Moore Capital

Sonder taps into a growing demand for unique places to stay. The company has a number of luxury properties in popular destinations around the world. What makes the company even more special is that the staff has adapted services based on how people travel today. Travelers can check-in, request towels, and get recommendations on what to do — all from their phones.

Recommended: Check out our full list of the top startups to watch in 2022!

FAQs

What are travel startups?

Travel startups today are largely companies that lean on innovation to get noticed in a saturated landscape. Because we’re more reliant than ever on our devices, many of the companies on this list have tech that will drive tourism across the globe.

Whether by reducing carbon emissions, offering health insurance by phone, or making it easier to split costs, travel startups are tackling the small and big issues that stop travelers from fully committing to a trip.

What does the future of the travel industry look like?

The future of the tourism industry will be controlled by everything from global emissions to public health. However, based on the most popular startups today, one of the major trends is based on how people book their travel and how the details are managed. Travel is likely to become more customizable, more affordable, and less damaging to the environment.

What are some travel startup ideas?

Travel startup ideas are often born from personal experiences that people have with their own bookings. So maybe you have a difficult time scheduling a trip on a regular weekend. This leads to an idea that helps vacationers travel without having to take vacation time from work.

Or maybe you take your inspiration from global headlines. If gas prices rise drastically in your area, you can start an app that helps people take a staycation they’ll never forget.

How do you start a travel startup?

Beginning a travel startup will mean sketching out a business model with details about how you’ll monetize your idea and how much capital you’ll need to get started. You’ll need to know what kind of staff you’ll need, how much you can pay them, and what kind of collaboration will be needed to hit your milestones. From there, you’ll likely need to approach investors and secure funding.

What are some helpful resources for travel startups?

We recommend reading the following guides to help you get started:


About the Author

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