Three startups embark on journey to redefine the travel industry

As the world becomes an increasingly connected place, travel apps are cropping up to help people get the most out of their journeys.

In this YCombinator class, there are not one, not two, but three companies seeking to enhance traveler experiences.

Take Getgoing, which offers airfare discounts for leisure travelers.

Every day, hundreds of seats sit empty on passenger planes. Founder Alex Vernitsky said enough demand exists on the market to sell every ticket. Getgoing helps airlines sell these empty seats by specifically targeting leisure travelers.

“A business customer does not have a choice where they can go,” said Vernitsky. “A leisure customer has all the choice in the world.”

When users come to the site, they may pick any two destinations they like, and specific flights to each destination. As soon as the purchase is completed, users find out which of the two destinations they will be flying to.

This model helps airlines fill their flights and helps travelers get off the ground — with a discount. The company has already signed deals with several major airlines and carriers flying out of San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., and Miami to over 500 destinations worldwide.

Tomoguides is building free mobile travel guides that can work offline.

While traveling, it can be a challenge to maintain a balance between decisions made on the fly and preplanning. Attempting to book every last detail in advance is arduous and cuts down on flexibility, and having no frame of reference can leave travelers stranded or dealing with other woes.

Tomoguides helps people make decisions on last-minute lodging, local transportation, activities, and tours. Before the ubiquity of smartphones, people spent hours ahead of time doing research and lugged around hard copy guidebooks. With Tomoguides, users can refer to a location-specific guidebook on their phones — and use it to actually make purchases.

The team has thus far produced 12 destination apps in 20 days. With an engine to mass produce these products, they anticipate having 120 apps by the end of the year.

The final of our three travel startups, Vayable provides a marketplace for “travel experiences.”

On the site, locals offer tours on many themes, such as a flash tour of the Louvre or elephant rides in Cambodia. Travelers select the experiences that interest them, and by embarking upon these adventures, they can find more meaningful travel experiences.

“Experiences are really about a human connection,” said founder Jamie Wong. “They are not a commodity. It is not something you can find through a prepackaged tour, a travel agent, or a guidebook.”

Recently, the company added “Experience the National Conventions” tours. People venturing to Charlotte, N.C., for the Democratic National Convention can take a canopy zipline or tour breweries, and those headed to Tampa, Fla., for the Republican National Convention can search out gators on an ecotour or visit a nudist colony.

Vayable currently offers 2,500 experiences in 600 cities across 6 continents. Read more on VentureBeat.