This Startup Makes Solo Travel Safer For Women

During Vanessa Karel’s inaugural trip to Morocco, she was stranded in the middle of the night. Originally scheduled to fly into Marrakech for a business trip in 2020, pandemic-related flight disruptions caused her flight to be redirected at the last moment to Casablanca, a city located nearly three hours away by car.

The San Francisco-based entrepreneur Karel said, “I didn’t know anybody, it was midnight, and I was scared. Aiming to find a concierge service to greet her and take her to her hotel, Karel, 32, frantically searched for her phone.

Karel’s experience inspired her startup idea for Greether, which aims to empower women and enhance safety in solo travel. Greether supports ethical tourism and seeks to revolutionize women’s travel experiences. Since its launch in November 2021, Greether has been connecting female travelers with verified local guides, or “greethers,” to create personalized itineraries and provide safety tips. Greethers can even meet travelers at their hotels or airports.

Greether: What Does It Do?

In less than two years, the platform has enlisted local guides from 97 countries and over 500 cities, including Seoul, Copenhagen, and Tel Aviv. New cities are constantly being added, and if a manual isn’t available in your desired location, Greether will try to find one for you. On March 20th, Greether will welcome its first Guatemalan guide.

Karel said, “It’s like your local bestie wherever you go. Everything is very tailored to you.”

Your Greether guide will meet you at your preferred location and take you on an itinerary tailored to your interests, including vegan restaurants if that’s what you’re into. Your guide will also provide safety tips, including local customs, public transportation, and areas to avoid. They will stay in touch with you via the platform’s messaging system before, during, and after your trip. Greether includes LGBTQ+ individuals, and some guides identify as nonbinary or transgender.