As a part time traveller, I always try to ensure that I see the ‘must see’ sights when visiting any destination. You will often find me flicking through my guidebook both before and during my trip. In fact, my guidebook collection is getting out of control, but I love them and have used one on every trip I have taken in the past decade. So when Your Local Cousin got in contact with me and explained their service, I was interested to find out more about it, and if, and how, it could benefit me.
The idea behind Your Local Cousin is that a ‘local’ offers travellers information about the destination that they are visiting. They often offer information that you may not find in a guidebook or via a Google search, especially if you don’t know exactly what you are looking for. I can see it being a great service for those who want to visit places which are not considered tourist traps.
I signed up for the ‘Text a Local’ option, which costs $15, to help me plan my upcoming trip to Madrid. This option allowed me to text 20 questions to my ‘cousin’, to which I would then receive a reply with the answers. I set up my account via Your Local Cousin website, and then chose my cousin based on their background and my interests. I chose Osiris, who is one of the eight ‘cousins’ based in Madrid at the moment.
I completed a few questions regarding what sort of information I was looking for. Unfortunately, Osiris and I got off to a shaky start. It was her first time acting as a ‘cousin’, and, as neither of us knew the process, we were communicating via the Your Local Cousin website which was not what I expected. Therefore, I asked her if she could please clarify what should be going on. Once she had clarified things back at base and gave me her number to use via WhatsApp, things ran very smoothly. I wouldn’t let this put you off using the service, as everything was cleared up within a matter of minutes.
I devised my list of questions, mostly relating to restaurants and bars (of course). I then texted them one at a time to Osiris, and waited for the answers to come back from her. The answers came very speedily, usually within a matter of minutes. I don’t want to give away all her answers, otherwise I’ll put her out of a job, but I will give you one example:
As it’s Mr ESLT’s birthday break I want to treat him to a nice birthday meal. I specified traditional Spanish (well, when in Rome – or, in this case, Madrid) and let her know my budget. Within 10 minutes, Osiris got back to me what she, and many locals, considered one of the best traditional Spanish restaurants in Madrid, including a link to their website. I’ll be honest, I couldn’t think of 20 questions to ask, so I still have the option of asking a few more. I am going to keep the remaining few in the bank in case I need to find out anything else whilst we are actually in Madrid.
I did enjoy using the service, and felt that I was privy to information that tourists wouldn’t be, and I now have a list of restaurants, bars, neighbourhoods, attractions etc that are loved by locals for us to visit when we are in the city in a couple of weeks. For a mere 75c (roughly 57p) a question, I felt that the information I received was value for money, especially as it saved me hours of Googling things myself – time is money, after all.
‘Cousins’ are available in over 80 countries, and offer a range of services from asking three questions which are answered in great depth, to production of full itineraries for your trip – locals recommend the places they love along with images and addresses. They also give you advice on what to pack, money-saving tips and other insider information.
- We were offered the service from Your Local Cousin on a complimentary basis in exchange for honest review