How do you find the best pizza in Portland? How about the best cenote (freshwater-filled limestone sinkhole) in the Yucatán Peninsula? Or the best sushi in Japan? The most reliable answer is from a friend or an inside source on the ground. Though search engines and review sites might help, there is little to ensure that these algorithmically driven data sets are accurate, honest, and aligned to your interests. The Well Traveled Club is aiming to change this game.
Launched in 2020, the members-only social network is built for modern travelers. The Well Traveled Club sources a community of like-minded explorers to make it simple to discover and book the best restaurants, hotels, and novel adventures. The membership site offers an enormous (and expanding) range of user-reviewed destinations throughout the United States and across the globe which can help you in your future travel planning.
“There are thousands of reviewed restaurants, hotels, and activities,” Well Traveled’s Founder Samantha Patil said. “People pay money to be a part of this, so there’s a higher standard set when they have more skin in the game. It’s an extension of your personal brand, which is why it’s resonated. There’s a sense of personal pride in showcasing where you’ve been.”
Patil calls Well Traveled the anti-influencer, the place where travelers can share their love for going to new places without being paid to push certain brands.
“Businesses can’t come to us to vet them. We feel strongly about that,” Patil said. “85% of our reviews are positive, but it’s a member-driven site. Users provide thoughtful feedback.”
Well Traveled launched its beta product in May of 2020 — in the midst of the growing COVID-19 pandemic.
“People said, ‘You’re launching a travel startup during the pandemic. Are you okay?’ ” Patil said. “But it was an opportunity for us to meet people where they were. We could take people out of their stuckness and let them explore the travel that they were missing.”
This beta process also allowed Well Traveled to create the operating process to corroborate content. Patil would verify reviews on the back end while enabling Google Cloud API to populate pictures and locations of restaurants, hotels, and activities. The founder was inspired to create Well Traveled when she had some disappointing early travel experiences.
“I selfishly built this platform for myself, friends, and friends of friends,” Patil said. “Any source of connection is valuable — members know more than I do.”
Well Traveled is tailored to the new school traveler, people who are looking for high-quality experiences that are a little bit off of the beaten path — those people that don’t fit into a one-size-fits-all box. These are often Millennial voyagers who might be embarking on a big hike one day and then head to a nice hotel for pampering that evening. Or those who might hang out at a dive bar one night and then go out for a nice dinner the next. It’s a perfect opportunity to plan one of the best U.S. road trips cross country, too.
There’s a great deal of wanderlust now that travel is beginning to open post an ebbing pandemic. With already over 30 reviewed sites in the United States, 12 in Europe, eight across Latin America and the Caribbean, three in the Asian Pacific, and one in Africa, Well Traveled already has plenty of options to whet that thirst for those next experiential escapades.
Membership with Well Traveled is $150 per year. While there’s currently a waitlist, you can skip the line if you’re invited by a current member. For a limited time, Well Traveled is also giving new members a $100 booking credit when they’re invited by existing members.
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