Brand Q&A

  Founders  |    Feb 16, 2021  |     < 1 min read

You ask. We Answer.

We recognize that you might have some questions or want to address an elephant in the room. Like any brand pushing for change, we’re an ongoing work in progress, which is why we welcome everything from our community regarding how elsewhere can become a better company. In the spirit of full transparency, you’ll find your questions and our answers below.

(P.S. We would NEVER put an elephant in a room – travel responsibly!)

Sure, DIY travel planning is always an option. But did you know that 43% of people waste more time researching their vacation than they actually spend on their vacation? We know your time is precious. And we also know what a headache it is to troll through millions of blogs and listings on booking sites. Finding reliable information is tough, and finding the most relevant information for you and your travel buddies is even harder.  Plus, how do you know if the hotel or activity you’re booking actually pays their employees fair wages or follows ethical environmental practices? We’ve vetted and tested, so you don’t have to.

Becoming part of the Elsewhere family isn’t easy. Our in-destination experts pass through a series of screenings, rigorous interviews, and audits that span from the inner workings of their business and supply chain to their portfolio of extraordinary experiences they provide to our travelers. Only 5% of agencies that apply to work with us make the cut. Our criteria is tough. 

Our first check is to verify their business license, operating license, and insurance policies. We only work with professionals, not just the cool cousin abroad.

Next, we dive into sustainability and test their commitment toward responsible travel practices. We review their minimum operating standards and require a list of their supplier network; hotels, transport services, and activity providers. We audit their governance procedures and supply chain to be sure they work with fair-wage, low-impact providers. 

Once we’ve confirmed they’re good people and we can confidently rely on them to be our wingman in making the world a better place, we test the fun stuff - their portfolio of out-of-this-world activities, accommodations, and surprises. 

Before making it official, we require them to sign the elsewhere Charter, which details our terms and communal promises to each other, our travelers, and the destinations impacted.

We aren’t the pioneers of direct-to-local travel, but we’re grateful to those who have come before us because it’s allowed us to see what’s missing from their models; true quality not quantity (where our local experts are concerned), dedication to responsible and value-driven travel (because we love the earth and all its wonderful people), and a modern, digital experience (so you can travel confidently and spontaneously with tweaks and additions as you go). 

Elsewhere is also the only direct-to-local travel marketplace with a diehard approach to making the world a better place. Elsewhere was born from the idea that travelers and the destinations they visit deserve better, and we truly believe that when a destination thrives so does your experience there.  All our suppliers and local experts are meticulously vetted on their ability to provide wildly unique experiences, outstanding service for our travelers, and trips that leave a positive impact on the destination. We have the strictest standards in the industry and are the only direct-to-local travel company that invests so much in ensuring your trip has as much of a positive impact on you as it does on your destination. Dive into our Charter, signed by our in-destination experts, to learn more.

We are as dedicated to our local partners as we are to you, our travelers. We collaborate with our local partners on all matters in order to ensure quality and positive impact, and we don’t move forward without their seal of approval. As a platform, we take a fraction of what traditional tour operators charge, and provide additional services like free direct marketing and speciality training and certifications. Our local partners are loyal and proud members of the Elsewhere community, and they contribute as much to us as we do to them. 

We vibe with good people. No egos, just good people meeting other good people, and making lifelong memories. 

Travel is a privilege, but it’s not just for the privileged. Our local experts are committed to making all travelers feel welcome, regardless of gender, sexuality, accessibility, race, or age.

Anyone who books direct-to-local is helping, so we’re genuinely happy for you to do so. We see our role as finding the best, though. You don’t necessarily know whether the agencies you find have all the relevant licensing, or if they treat their employees well. We’ve all heard the horror stories about money being transferred overseas and never seen again, for example. So, don’t think of us as a platform to connect with ‘local agencies’ in general - think of us as one that connects you with only the best. Plus, you can sleep better at night knowing that your money is going to quality suppliers that support the local economy and protect local culture, wildlife, and the environment.

Elsewhere is proud to offset each and every trip, including the international flights. We adhere to the highest industry standards and calculate our footprint using the most up-to-date methodology. 

We do not calculate every trip's GHG (greenhouse gas) output individually, we use an aggregated calculation to give us a global average. Next, we purchase Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) from the UNFCCC.

Shockingly, only 5-10% of money spent on a typical American vacation actually stays in the local economy. To add insult to injury, 80% of low-income countries focus on tourism as a means of improving their economic situation. In Costa Rica, foreign enterprises own 65% of all resorts and hotels. In Thailand, 70% of the income generated by tourists leaves the country. Even though these countries embrace travel as a way to lift themselves out of poverty, in reality, this doesn’t happen. 

We recognize that we have the opportunity to create benefits. One of our principal missions at Elsewhere is keeping hard-earned money where it belongs. We work tirelessly with our in-destination experts to ensure that 87% of your tourist dollars are funneled directly into your destination and back to the communities themselves, enabling them with access to long-term, locally based income. 

How do we do this? We carefully screen our agents on their values. We review minimum operating standards and audit their supply chain. By booking with one of our vetted Elsewhere experts, you’re not just booking with a local agent who lives in Japan, you’re booking with someone who is conscious about their choices and dedicated to showing you what they love about their country, while also preserving it for generations to come.

As part of our mission at Elsewhere, we commit to planting 10 trees for every traveler that takes a trip with us. We commit to removing 1kg of plastic from the ocean for each trip taken, which is equivalent to 50 standard-size plastic water bottles. And finally, Elsewhere offsets the carbon footprint of each trip, including the international flights (even though we do not book this service). Here are the stats for 2021:

  • Trees planted: 530
  • Plastic water bottles removed: 1,250 (25kgs)
  • Tons of carbon offset: 175

Are we missing anything?

Don’t worry—we can take it!