You’re going on vacation next month. That means it’s time to start researching which friend you’re going to hire to come with you. Yes, you read that right.
The new normal for tourism-based enterprises seems to be getting weirder and weirder. The tourism sector has experienced some debatably strange new business models arising from consumers’ willingness to splurge on these completely bizarre ventures. Here ten strange things travelers are spending their money on abroad.
10. Rent A Person To Stand In Line For You
According to a study done by Timex on how Americans spend their time, roughly 37 billion hours annually are spent waiting in a line of one form or another. The study suggested that as a species, human beings spend approximately six months of their existence in a line, totaling three days a year of waiting. Strangely enough, it’s not the actual amount of time spent waiting that actually bothers people. In the early 20th century, Danish engineer A.K. Erlang developed a mathematical model of how lines work and found that the more prominent factors influencing people waiting in line were ideas of fairness, mismanaged expectations, and the way people define time.
No matter how you look at it, in this day and age, time is valuable—and arguably even more so while on vacation. No one wants to waste their precious time standing in lines that wind four blocks down the street for the best ramen in the city. Lucky for you, there are companies like New York City’s Same Ole Line Dudes that literally provide a hiring service for a professional to hold your spot in line. Think of all that extra time you’ll have to explore the city with your very own line-sitter.
9. Rent A Photographer
Did you really go traveling if you didn’t show it off to your friends on social media? Nowadays, one of the most important parts of a vacation is capturing all of the amazing moments along the way. In fact, there have been numerous studies conducted looking into the influence social media has on the motivations of travelers. The effect social media sites now have on the travel experience is undeniable. Not only have the motivations behind travel been reshaped, but the tourism industry has also been altered with the sheer amount of information shared online. This “digital nomad” era has created a whole new reason for travel.
If you find yourself always wanting those envy-worthy travel shots to share with your online community but travel solo, then renting a photographer may be the answer to all of your prayers. Flytographer is one such company that offers professional vacation photography virtually all over the world (150 countries to be exact). Their photographers undergo a rigorous screening process, so you know you’ll be working with the real deal. A 60-minute shoot with one of the Flytographers will set your travel budget back around $350. As an added bonus to an epic photo album, their photographers will know the ins and outs of their city, so you might even get to discover some local treasures.
8. Rent A Friend
While solo traveling is said to have increased an astronomical 42 percent in the past two years, we realize it’s not for everyone. Sometimes, the task of navigating the world is best done with a friend in tow. The challenge thereby lies in finding friends with enough time, money, and passion to drop everything and set off around the globe with you. It’s 2019, though, and there’s no need to be deterred; Rent A Friend may just be the company you’ve been searching for.
The site provides a rental service where users can rent local friends from all over the world. For a mere $10 per hour, you can rent a friend to show you around town or accompany you on your next adventure. This may sound far-fetched, but with over 500,000 people available for hire around the world, this is the real deal.
7. Rent Driveways And Parking Spaces
From Airbnb to Uber, the sharing economy really is taking over the world. In recent years, unique business models enabled by this new peer-to-peer sharing mindset have been adopted by many. One such company, Just Park, based in London, recognized the difficulty in finding a parking spot and came up with a solution.
In tourist-filled areas and towns you are unfamiliar with, parking can be a dysfunctional and stressful experience. Just Park solves that problem by pairing up one of tens of thousands of property owners in the UK who aren’t using their driveways with people in need of a parking space. This system can give travelers peace of mind that they won’t get a fine, get their car towed away, or spend valuable hours driving around a busy city praying for a free car park.
6. Rent A Bicycle Anywhere In The World
If you’re looking for a way to keep active, reduce pollution, and keep clear of traffic while traveling, Spinlister is the company for you. According to Spinlister, tourism-related bike rentals in New York have been dramatically increasing in recent years, with an average of 450,000 daily bike trips.
Spinlister is an online service that connects bike owners to those looking to rent bikes all over the world. Through the online company, owners list their bikes, and renters search for a bike in whatever area they want for approximately $40 per day. This rental and sharing service has millions of active users hiring bikes in numerous countries all over the world.
5. Rent A Pilgrim To Do A Religious Pilgrimage For You
When we think of pilgrimage, we think of traipsing through the desert alone with nothing but your thoughts and religion to guide you to a sacred end goal. By definition, a pilgrimage is a journey undertaken for a religious motive, conducted, for example, on foot toward a destination of great significance. Popular destinations attract pilgrims from differing cultures and backgrounds all around the world. In the Middle Ages, when the wealthy were too sick or unable to go on their own pilgrimage, they would hire another to go in their place. One Portuguese man is resurrecting this tradition by undertaking other people’s pilgrimages for them.
Carlos Gil will embark on a pilgrimage in your name in exchange for €2,500 for his services. To ensure the authenticity of the pilgrimage, Carlos provides his customers with certificates with the stamps from various sites along the way. So come on, you’ve got no excuses now.
4. Rent Someone Else’s Unused Luggage Space
We’re living in the era of excessive baggage fees, high import costs, and never-ending taxes. These days, it almost feels wasteful to let your allotted baggage allowance go unfilled. San Francisco-based startup Grabr recognized these factors and saw an opportunity in the market. The company allows travelers to post open space in their luggage allocations and get in touch with consumers who’ll pay to use it.
The unused airline luggage space is employed by travelers to carry items for a third party and deliver them once they reach the destination. This eliminates export costs, capitalizes on otherwise unused luggage space, and provides a boutiquey delivery service. Who would have thought forgetting your favorite coat could leave that extra space to monetize your trip while roaming around the globe?
3. Rent A Suitcase Full Of Clothing
YouTube, Google, and travel blogs alike are all filled to the brim with millions of articles with tips and tricks of how to pack your suitcase like a pro. Packing the perfect suitcase seems to be a science that few can really master. A company called unPack wants to eliminate this stress by utilizing the current sharing economy mentality that’ll let someone drive you around or let you sleep in a stranger’s house. So why not borrow someone else’s clothes?
The company allows its consumers to fill out an online profile with details about their personal style and preferred brands so that they can customize your luggage for your next holiday. The suitcase will be delivered to your hotel so that when you arrive, all of the hard work is done for you. Their mission is set to fundamentally change the way people look at packing before a holiday: Don’t bother packing at all.
2. Rent Camping Gear
How many of you have a bunch of perfectly good camping gear shoved away in the back of the garage and can’t even remember the last time you used it? Yes, we’re looking at you. A new trend among travelers is to rent the camping gear they need for their next trip from people just like you.
Sites like Outdoors Geek and Mountain Side Gear Rental allow users to filter through the lists of available camping gear in their location and contact the owner to discuss prices. You can find just about everything you’ll need, including sleeping bags, backpacks, tents, kayaks, and other equipment.
1. A Designer Bag With A Nintendo DS
Yes, you read the title of this one correctly. People have rented designer handbags that come with a Nintendo DS inside. Rather than paying thousands for designer handbags to use on the go or for special occasions, women are turning to sites like From Bags To Riches to rent designer accessories. This we can understand. But when Nintendo comes into the deal, it gets weird.
In 2008, Nintendo and From Bags To Riches teamed up to include a DS with select handbags. Imagine it now: You’re traveling the world looking first-class with your designer handbag, and with a DS in your pocket, plane trips will never be boring.