Why SoloTravelist exists
“To empower travellers to create dream vacations, enjoy unique experiences around the world and bring home memories that last a lifetime.”
We are all born travellers with the instinct to explore the world we live in. The desire for adventurous living is buried deep within us. As we grow up, we are often bitten by the travel bug.
However, life takes over, we get busy with careers and kids and the daily grind squeezes the adventurous spirit out of us. When we do get a chance to travel, we are made to believe that travel should involve stereotypical tours to touristy destinations and taking selfies in front of historic icons.
Our aim is twofold. Firstly, we want to inspire people to find their inner explorer - to explore new places and experience new adventures. Secondly, we want to showcase the diversity of travel options available - unique experiences, local living, backroad journeys and off the beaten track adventures.
With SoloTravelist, we have created a platform to give people the tools to help them create their own journeys and choose the right holidays for themselves. If we can get people to travel more often, have life-enriching experiences and expand their horizons, we have achieved our goal.
Graham loves getting outdoors, particularly trekking, scuba diving and trying new foods. He grew up in Hobart before moving to Melbourne when he was 10. After travelling the world with his parents and then backpacking across Asia and Europe, he worked as a travel agent at Flight Centre before taking on a role as sales consultant in digital media. More recently he has run his own travel agency franchise with Travel Counsellors. His favorite travel experience was crossing the Himalayas to Tibet.
Shareen is passionate about travelling, scuba diving and trekking. She grew up in the Indian city of Calcutta before moving to Melbourne as an International student. Shareen has worked as an Investment Banker at Citigroup and Credit Suisse and more recently as a travel agent at Flight Centre. When she is not working on SoloTravelist she is busy looking after her two boys. Her favourite travel experience has been gorilla tracking on the mountain slopes of Rwanda.
“A story of passion, frustration, perseverance and learning.”
SoloTravelist founders, Graham and Shareen have both long shared a passion for travel. Having travelled since one was 9 months old, they have covered almost all areas of the world.
While they were not travelling themselves, they used their travel experiences and passion for travel to help others create dream holidays of their own. While working as travel agents at corporate travel agencies, both Graham and Shareen realised that customers were being served the over-priced ‘one-size fits all’ packages that were not unique to their needs. It went against their belief that travel planning should be customer focussed, adventure should be tailored and holidays should be epic.
The more they spoke to people around them, the more they kept hearing and observing the same complaints. People were not happy booking their holidays through travel agents, felt ripped off and had limited choices for travel options.
They were keen to address this problem in the travel industry.
So when they learned the technology was made available to offer tours online, they realised they could create an online platform for organised tours that customers could use to choose and book holidays themselves. This meant that they could empower travellers to make a more informed choice. Choice in price, destination, interests, style of tour and so much more. Travel planning had suddenly gone from being sterile, boring and corporatised to fun, easy and customised.
At first, they struggled with the technology for creating a solution. However, they persevered and finally the pieces fell into place and SoloTravelist was created.
Today, they are a startup with over 4,000 tours and cruises, 11 tour partners and a fully customisable online platform.
Their aim is to be the leading online marketplace for booking travel experiences worldwide.