Welcome to ChumAround
Chumaround makes it easy for travellers to connect with local people (hosts) that share common interests so that it’s easier for them to enjoy the cities they visit while doing activities that truly interest them.
Whether you’re a bird nerd, a surfer, a modern art fanatic or a dedicated fitness geek; You might find the average sightseeing trip to visit local landmarks to be a bit boring. Connecting with Chumaround host that shares your interests can be a perfect segue into discovering more about a place while doing something you love.
Local hosts are not tour guides and they do not memorize any scripts. In fact, the chum around experience itself is more flexible and impromptu than a typical tour, because it gives visitors the complete freedom to decide where to go and what to see. You can take a turn at any street or walk into any store, market, or cafe that catches your eye, giving you a chance to make on the spot decisions and enjoy whatever comes your way.
You can use ChumAround to connect with locals if you’re traveling somewhere for business, pleasure or relocation. You can also use it if you’re simply visiting a city that’s just around the corner from where you live. Whether you enjoy art, food, shopping, nightlife, sightseeing, or culture, now you can connect and chum around with locals, everywhere you go!
From the world's most popular destinations like Rome, Paris and New York to less-visited cities such as Fargo and Boise, ChumAround is just the ticket you need to go “off the beaten path”, without having to figure out how to do it on your own.
Chumaround has a clear vision with three main principles. These principles are:
Build Relationships: “To make it easy for people that visit different cities to connect with a local host that shares their interests; so that together they can chum around and enjoy new places, do amazing things, and have fun together.”
Enhance Experiences: “To make it easy for travellers to go off the beaten path; try something different; and experience a new city like they’ve live in it their entire lives.”
Support Communities: “To support local communities by helping people that live locally to use their unique interests, local knowledge, and language skills to earn money by hosting people that visit their cities.”
The idea of Chumaround was first envisioned in 2011 by the American entrepreneur and avid traveller, Michael Cruz. While Cruz loved to travel he often explained to friends that his most treasured memories came from his experiences meeting, interacting, and doing activities with people that lived locally.
The only downside he explained was that gaining access to local folks that can help you go off the beaten path — especially in places with significant language, religious, cultural barriers — isn’t always easy, and sometimes is simply impossible.
The more he talked to other travelers, the more he realized he was not alone in feeling this way. Cruz noted: "People want to do things that truly interest them. They want to blaze their own trail and have exciting adventures to talk about with their friends and family. They want to have a deeper understanding of the local culture, language, and etiquette. They want to build stronger, more meaningful, lasting relationships with the people they meet."
He realized that there needed to be an easy way for travellers to connect with people in the cities they visit. In fact, he thought it would be more advantageous if travellers could connect with these local people before they arrived at their destination. His ideas about creating a new way for people to experience the cities they visit would eventually lead him to begin the creation of Chumaround.
In 2014, Cruz organized an international team of strategist, designers and developers from around the world to begin the creation of a platform that would make it easy for people visiting new cities to find and book local hosts that share similar interests.
His vision was for Chumaround to be a place where there were no official tour guides; no pre-packaged itineraries; and no memorized scripts. Rather travellers could connect with local people that shared similar interests and then arrange things to do. This would create an experience that was more flexible than a typical tour, and it would help both travellers and their hosts create deeper more meaningful connections with the people they interact with along the way.
After years of hard work, development, and design, Cruz and his team officially launched Chumaround in 2018.
No matter your destination, when you travel, nearly half of the money you spend will be paid to tour operators, airlines, hotels, entertainment venues, and restaurants— meaning very little actually goes directly to the people that live locally. The irony is that it's the local people that actually make a city what it is. And it’s those very same people that often help us create some of life’s most amazing memories. That’s why booking a local host on Chumaround is brilliant!
Chumaround creates a wonderful win-win opportunity for both the the people visiting new cities and their local hosts. Visitors get a chance to experience a city with a local host that shares their interest and locals have a fun way to earn extra money in their free time.
Every time you book a host on Chumaround, you’re not only creating an opportunity to make wonderful memories for yourself, but you’re also making a conscious and deliberate decision to support the local economy. You’ll have greater peace of mind knowing that some of the money you spend will be used to support the lives of the people in the communities you visit– rather than expensive tour operators.
Chumaround’s on a mission to help change the way people travel and experience the cities they visit; to give them an opportunity to see the world through a different lens; to build stronger more meaningful relationships with the people we meet along the way; and to create a way in which money spent for travel can directly support to the local people and economy.
If you happened upon the Chumaround platform for the first time and you feel our mission and goals align with your own– we invite you to join our community.
It’s quick, easy, and free to sign up!