Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Thu July 09 2015

Backstreet Academy Is Taking Experiences From the Back Streets

Features & Advice | Tom Bastek | July 09, 2015

Backstreet Academy Is Taking Experiences From the Back Streets

Photos courtesy of Backstreet Academy

So you are on vacation but you have had enough of the tourist traps. If you're looking for something a little more outside the run of the mill, try enrolling in Backstreet Academy.

Backstreet Academy is a “peer-to-peer impact travel platform empowering anyone in developing countries to create and sell a tour or activity to travelers looking for a unique, local experience while benefiting the local community.”  Basically it is kind of like an Airbnb for tours and activities. Anyone can create an activity, list it on the website and people can book it. The breakdown for payment goes like this: 40-60 percent of the price goes to the host directly, 15-20 percent goes to transportation, 15-20 percent goes to the facilitator, and the company retains roughly a 10 percent remainder.

What sets this model apart is the full service aspect; you have transportation to get you there, and you have a facilitator/translator to guide your journey and aid communication. All the hosts and facilitators are vetted so safety is a non-issue.

The academy is currently offering experiences in Nepal, India, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. The experiences are very diverse with everything from taking an Elephant Training Course in Laos to Cambodian Boxing in Cambodia to a Hot Air Balloon Safari in India.

Signing up to partake in an activity is simple. Browse online, book your trip with a small booking deposit, your facilitator will contact you and you pay the remainder to them in cash when you meet them.

The founders, Anil, Akash and Jamon, started the company because they wanted to have a better connection with locals when they traveled. They also wanted to have a social impact in these countries by allowing locals to make more money than they were currently, and they wanted to learn. 

So if your typical vacations have been going in one direction, take five and get ready to experience a new edition: Backstreet Academy. Because everybody wants it that way.


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