The founder of travel experiences platform Let’s GoDo on diving into new adventures and seeing the world through the eyes of locals
The idea for an experiences platform geared around authentic, local adventures came to life when Juliana Chies was on a trip to Prague. As someone who had already travelled the breadth of the world solo, she was attuned to chatting to locals to make sure she received the best possible recommendations.
“I was looking for traditional Czech food. I asked three waiters for some advice on where to go, and they all said exactly the same thing: ‘There’s no traditional Czech food in Prague. You have to go to my grandma’s on a Sunday to eat lunch.”
“So I thought to myself: why not create a platform where we can connect with locals every day of the week, and not just on a Sunday? Where everything is led by passion – whether that’s wine or food, or a night owl who knows everyone in town and can take you to a private members’ club or VIP event. If you have locals taking you out, you’re bound to have great experiences.”
By Chies’ reckoning, it can sometimes take a couple of days to even meet locals for some insightful recommendations, let alone start landing invitations to ultra-cool experiences. Let’s GoDo speeds up that connection process, so you don’t waste precious holiday time heading to largely inauthentic tourist traps.
The site currently has more than 200 hosts offering an array of different experiences – both in-person and online – with a growing number added daily. Fancy going bottlenose dolphin-watching on a stunning section of the Portuguese coast? Or busting out moves round Edinburgh with other silent disco fans? From whipping up your own fresh pasta to wine and tapas in Soho, wildlife photography at sunset, kitten yoga, sustainable foraging or vegan fish and chips on a houseboat, you simply check out your host’s availability and then continue to search by category – of which there are many.
To sign up to be a host, you just need to be passionate about the experience you’re offering and figure out the time you have to spare, before Juliana and her team of ‘experience hunters’ approve the activity for the Let’s GoDo community.
“It’s been so fun to work on, because people have so many different talents and skills, and you end up discovering things you didn’t even know existed. You can learn to do something completely unique – even if you just want to book in something different for the weekend in your hometown.”
Based in London and from São Paulo, Chies studied gastronomy and opened a restaurant with her mother in her Brazilian home city when she was 21.
“My father is in the music industry. So I grew up backstage, on his tours or at big events. He’s also a great cook, so I started to cook, then fell in love with it. Everything combined – the travelling, eating in different places, opening the restaurant and then eventually working in music, inspired me to start this business.”
For the moment, experiences can be tapped into across the UK and Portugal – although Chies is keen to expand Let’s GoDo’s worldly horizons, with plans to connect with passionate locals across the rest of Europe and in South America.
“We are pioneers in entertainment in South America, so it would be silly not to. I always wanted to take this to Brazil – there could be so many beautiful experiences with the nature and scenery that we have.”
The Let’s GoDo app is also set to launch soon, as well as ‘immersion experiences’, for people who want their foray into the new to last for more than just a single day.
Chies’ favourite ultra-local experience so far?
“I was in Croatia and I met some locals, who are now my friends. They took me on a boat trip to the islands around Split, and I had one of the best days of my life. The next day, I ended up on a speed boat, heading for lunch at a restaurant in the middle of the sea, near Hvar.
“Luxury to me isn’t necessarily a Michelin-starred restaurant – it’s also a luxury to be able to go to someone’s house in a different country, or have these unique, out-of-the-ordinary experiences.”
Head to letsgodo.com to check out the range of travel experiences