We dig Instagram but it definitely evokes some major FOMO. As we fill our wunderlust-ful heart with dreams of venturing off to far off places from those that we love to check out, what if those pics can actually be functional (and less envy-inducing) to help you out on your next adventure? Enter Sherpa, a new app that turns Instagram’s best photos into a travel guide.
Through it’s very easy sign-up process (you simply enter your email and connect via Instagram) and have the chance to connect with other explorers as well as share your own travel stories. For example, I was given a list of places (Milan, Iowa, Australia and more!) as well as a suggested list of explorers to follow. To further investigate, I clicked on the Milan section where I could see pictures of explorers who took pictures in Milan from Instagram where I could then save their favorite places into a suitcase. My own profile was set up during the sign-up phase where the list of places that I’ve been where categorized and then organized into a sub section. It was so cool to see this recap where I could simply tap on the app and then share. To better understand this new app (it’s only a week old!), we chatted with Paul Aaron, Co-Founder & CEO, who gave us the scoop on how it works and how it can enhance your travel (and wunderlust-ful heart). Read on and dream big:
Interview with Paul Aaron of Sherpa
Weekend Jaunts: How did the idea of Sherpa come about?
Paul Aaron: The idea for Sherpa came about when the design and development studio I founded, Modern Assembly, was asked to pitch ideas to one of the world’s leading travel review sites. When I dug into their business a bit more, I realized that the entire review system was fraught with issues, and could be improved upon by tapping into the photos people every day on platforms like Instagram.
Weekend Jaunts:How does it work?
Paul Aaron: Anyone who has an Instagram account can signup for Sherpa. When they do Sherpa organizes organize everywhere they’ve been into photo albums that we call “guides”, automatically connecting their photos to maps, venue information, and even location descriptions from Wikipedia. From there we pull in the very best photos and locations from our growing community of photographers to create location-specific guides that you can browse through or search via the homepage.
Weekend Jaunts: Does it work everywhere?
Paul Aaron: We have over 25,000 locations on Sherpa now. So just about anywhere you search for in the world will have good content. You will need an internet connection and an iOS device to use Sherpa. But in the not too distant future we’ll support Android devices as well.
Weekend Jaunts: How are you spreading the word about Sherpa?
Paul Aaron: Currently our community has been spreading the word by sharing Sherpa links online. Every page on sherpa also exists as a sharable web page that you can share with people who don’t have the app. Beyond that, we are going to be working with media outlets this summer to publish trend data related to the travel industry.
Weekend Jaunts: What are some of your future plans for the app?
Paul Aaron: We recently outlined our future plans for Sherpa in this medium post, but in short our goal is to create the world best travel guide, while also making it easier to share your content on Sherpa and get rewarded for it. Over time we will also connect to the travel industry, allowing people to tap through from photos to book hotels, activities, or make restaurant reservations. But that’s still a ways off at this point.
Download Sherpa from the app store and connect via Instagram to get started.