Curated For a Life of Adventure

5 Bay Area start-ups making it easier to get away that aren't AirBnB

Travel, Trip Planning, BusinessJohanna Stein
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It’s funny - when you start a company that even is vaguely related to travel, you learn a lot about how people plan their vacations. Yes, getaways are for the most part made for recharging, but the actual planning process is still kind of a hassle. (Does anyone else have a million tabs open?)

You also get a ton of suggestions about new tools to try. For example, my husband’s great aunt that lives in Florida who told me I should check out Airbnb. Maybe that’s news for someone in their 90s but not for those of us who live in the Bay Area. But she is right about one thing - the success of Airbnb has inspired a number of Bay Area start-ups to help innovate in the travel space. Here is a round-up of five of my recent favs that I actually use.

Magpie Travel 

For all of us ladies out there, Magpie is building what they’re calling the world’s first female travelers club. I am not really sure if they are the first, but they’ve built an innovative way to connect with local ladies when you are planning a solo trip. You can use their community to find a safe spot to couch surf or just meet local women interested in hanging out with other female world travelers.

I’ll be using it to find some new friends to adventure with while my husband is in meetings during an upcoming trip to China.


You can call these guys and gals the AirBnb of camping. They are helping to open up previously un-rentable private land like vineyards, ranches, and nature preserves to wilderness starved vacationers. Though we enjoyed camping at this horse reserve in Bodega Bay. I’ve also noticed they’ve got a ton of quirky rentals that don’t require you to rough it– think yurts, treehouses, and tepees.

Like Airbnb, Hipcamp is facing some regulatory hurdles. They are currently battling to get the government to open up the reservation data for our National Parks. If that happens they might just become the Expiedia of camping. We’re crossing our fingers that they succeed, because anything would be better than the current NPS reservations system.

The Outbound Collective

If you love jaw-dropping photography and outdoor adventure this new online collective is the place to find inspiration. You can search and save adventures using their site or iPhone app. I’ve also found that checking out other community members’ collections has helped me find spots I wouldn’t have stumbled upon. Here is where I’ve stashed a bunch of Bay Area camping spots that are on my list.


I am all about the sharing economy. It is especially helpful when you need something expensive that you won’t use much. For folks who are just dabbling in the outdoors, sharing gear just makes sense. Plus, for outdoor newbies, it also solves the problem of what gear to get. TheCampKit has curated all-inclusive kits for car camping and backpacking. We’ve been sending our gear-less friends there so they can join us old pros in style.


It is like my two favorite apps had a baby. Tripcipe is a Pinterest and Google Maps hybrid that lets you easily tag trip ideas using their plug-in. The best part is it lets you map your route and add or remove locations from your itinerary. 

My husband and I are using this to figure out how to fit in all the amazing foodie spots for an upcoming trip to NOLA. We are definitely going to steal some ideas from a few other New Orleans Tripcipes.