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Your Best Travel Companion Might Be Your Phone with These Jet Set Startups

Planning your next journey is getting a lot more convenient thanks to a new generation of adventure-focused startups.

Wild Terrains founder Lauren Bates (middle) with travelers Katie Wright (left) and Theresa Trinh on Wild Terrains’ Mexico City Experience  

Peek founder Ruzwana Bashir moved to Silicon Valley with the idea for Peek and landed backing by Eric Schmidt (Innovation Endeavors), Jack Dorsey, David Bonderman, SV Angel and CAA. 

Wild Terrains travelers at Ignacia Guest House in Mexico City

Lakshmi Mohandas sips Oaxacan hot chocolate during a food crawl.

Wild Terrains travelers enjoy cocktails at cafe Cicatriz in Mexico City.  

Hoping to hunt with eagles, book a helicopter ride in Hawaii or embark on the ultimate girls escape without having to plan? You can! “I went to Istanbul for the weekend, and I wound up spending 20 hours planning. It didn’t make sense that something like Open Table for travel didn’t exist for activities,” says Ruzwana Bashir, co-founder and CEO of Peek (@‌peek)—a one-stop shop for discovering and booking activities, tours and more. The expert team also partners with tastemakers such as Wolfgang Puck and Tory Burch to create unique, full-service insider itineraries. If luxury is your cup of tea, then Washington, D.C.-based lifestyle firm Elevate&CO (@‌elevateandco) is for you. “We love new challenges—like discovering an emerging destination such as Baku, Azerbaijan. We usually send a staff member to scout out and prepare the locations prior to the guests arriving,” says the firm’s founder, Suzie Sims. With high-net-worth, high-profile and highly private clients, Elevate&CO is what Sims calls an experiential firm focused on navigating cultural and geographical differences. “Our vision,” says the founder, “is to spread, promote and inspire cultural tolerance globally.”

“Solo travel is out and group travel is in,” says Wild Terrains (@wildterrains) founder Lauren Bates, whose company caters to female adventurers. “We design group travel experiences that connect like-minded women around the world and support women-owned businesses in our destinations,” boasts Bates, who says the idea for the company came to her when she tried to take a last-minute vacation with women-only travel groups. “I was really disappointed by what I found—only activity-specific trips centered on things like yoga, trekking and surfing,” she says. Hence, this new territory for travel. The experiences start at $1,850 per person and include itineraries packed with women-owned hotels, pop-up dinners curated by female chefs and activities led by local creative women.