BY FRANCESCA LEWIS
We’ve all been there – stranded in an unfamiliar city with no idea how to get the most out of it. We end up sticking to what’s familiar – Starbucks, McDonalds – when what we really want to be doing is exploring the community, experiencing local color, soaking up the culture. That’s if we can even find somewhere familiar – I hear there are entire stretches of this planet without a coffee shop or burger joint on every corner. Finding your way in an unfamiliar city can be daunting, even with Google Maps, and even with technological innovations the experience is impersonal and prone to hilarious mix-ups. If only there was a friendly human tour guide to show you where the action is. With new travel video platform, Vidpal, that guide may be only a click away.
Vidpal, which is still in beta, hosts video tour guides. You can find videos about all sorts of places – neighborhoods, districts, cities, events – all over the world. The scope of this is still becoming established but already this is being used not only for simple A-B directions but for cultural guides on local customs and tips on getting the most out of events such as NYC Pride. You can request videos, state what you’re willing to pay, and if someone can provide what you’re looking for, you’ll get the video you need. This is especially useful for gay travellers, who can enlist a local person to clue them in on the hot spots or help them find queer-friendly businesses. And, of course, if you’re a person who lives in an often visited place, you stand to make some easy money.
To encourage people to upload videos and infuse the fledgling site with content, Vidpal are running a contest this month, aimed squarely at the queer community. “We’re focusing on targeting the queer community” says their press release, “because inclusivity, diversity, community, and safety while traveling are important to the spirit of what Vidpal represents.” The contest, which began last week and ends June 30th, The Ultimate NYC Video Contest by Vidpal. The competition is open to anyone, but aimed at queer women, who are asked to “submit a video tour guide, giving a tour of their favorite thing to do or their favorite queer place to visit”. The prizes include two nights at the Adirondacks bed & breakfast, two USA Discovery Passes to Niagara Falls, or one ticket to a broadway show.
So if you’re dying to share your knowledge of the local lesbian scene, or you just really like the sound of those prizes, head on over to vidpalcontest.com/lgbt/
The full contest rules are here.
Francesca Lewis is a queer feminist writer from Yorkshire, UK. She writes for Curve Magazine and The Human Experience as well as writing short fiction and working on a novel. Her ardent love of American pop culture is matched only by her passion for analyzing it completely to death.