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BubbleGlobe links travelers, locals for uniquely genuine outings

Could this be the website that finally gets you to book a local guide online?

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What it does: It's a marketplace that connects travelers with locals for authentic experiences, guided tours and cultural activities in Paris; London; Rome; Barcelona, Spain; and New York.

What's hot: I was skeptical because this is not a new idea, but when I looked at the experiences in Rome, where I'd be meeting family this summer, I got excited. The opportunities seemed more personal and unique — such as a tour of Rome from the back of a Vespa or a tailor-made culinary tour of Tuscany — than what I was finding on other local sites. Other fascinating tours include one of London's historic docks, and a day trip to the most beautiful cove in Spain's Costa Brava that includes lunch, a swim and a tour from a local who speaks three languages.

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What's not: It's a crowded category for travel websites, with competition from established sites ToursByLocals, Vayable and SideTour, to name a few. BubbleGlobe is a startup and will have to keep the opportunities interesting and plentiful to attract and retain users. Some of its categories don't have experiences yet, so you might find them empty. But it's valuable to watch what the website is doing; it's one to bookmark.

— Jen Leo

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