Here are our picks of startups that can help make your vacation all-around enjoyable. If you need advice or tips on where to go and how to get there, help finding the perfect present, or ideas for activities, CEE startups cover all the bases to plan the perfect winter holiday.
First and foremost, get in the holiday spirit. Style Jukebox (Romania), a platform for sharing music between devices with the ability to listen online and off, stores up to 1.000 songs for free.
With a soundtrack to put you in the mood and formatted to go wherever the journey takes you, time to plan your holiday!
Travel guides and tips
Now let’s get you there. Whether you’re stuck on picking a destination and could use a recommendation, need help pricing means of transport, choosing accommodations, finding car rentals, joining a tour, or simply are overwhelmed by the organisation, these are the travel guides, agencies and apps that can help.
Online social group-tour marketplace TourRadar allows people to search, compare prices and book group tours worldwide, and it connects fellow travelers. We covered their angel funding here.
miavia is a marketplace for personal travel guides composed solely of insider tips, where users can stylishly document their own travel experiences in a “Travel Box”, which can help others with similar interests. They were an inventures.eu Startup Pick, and later made an appearance here.
Tripomatic, Czech Republic
Online map and planner Tripomatic helps organise dates, locations, transportation, and even prepares an itinerary for your holiday. Check out our founders profile.
Mileways, Munich-based, Austrian-German roots
An iOS application that functions as an all-inclusive travel assistant providing custom information, Mileways also lets you collect frequent traveler miles and enjoy a reward programme without affiliation to a particular airline.
For the adventurous traveler who likes to go but not to plan ahead, there’s Drungli, a free service app that shows the cheapest flights available from a selected airport at whatever time or moment you choose.
Ready To Travel, Ukraine
readyto.travel is a travel route search engine that allows travelers to combine different means of travel for a route, while suggesting alternatives and cheaper methods. Also allows the purchase of e-tickets. Currently covering Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, you’re sure to have an especially wintery holiday!
Working automatically, the PocketGuide app acts a personal tour guide, leading you through a city by voice, just like a real tour guide, so you can actually keep your eyes on your surroundings. It’s created and tested by local guides, and has a feature to record photos and video from your trip.
Search engine Yees.travel collects package deals emphasising customer value. Based in Kiev, it also helps travelers search and book travel services worldwide.
PlaceKnow identifies as the world’s first personalised recommendation service for travel, offering highly-tailoured recommendations based on customer profile, itinerary or destination. In an interactive community aspect, they offer a pictorial world map, and traveller’s reviews and photos plus locals’ hints. In addition to their many accolades thus far, inventures.eu picked them as a promising Polish startup.
The app equivalent to Hansel and Gretel’s stones or breadcrumbs, BackWay is there to help you find your way back. It traces your route, helps you navigate, and saves your favourite spots. It’s all done offline, so you won’t be lost long if stranded sans WiFi.
Help hitting the slopes
Winter sports are popular pastimes in Central and Eastern Europe – rightly so, considering the topography the region’s working with. Here are the companies offering products that make a winter holiday in the snow so much cooler.
The app Sportly helps sport-lovers and trainers find each other and connect, arranging courses and private lessons in their mutual areas of interest and expertise, including winter sports like skiing and snowboarding.
Skiipi offers hardware that allows smartphones to be used while the user is engaged in extreme sports, such as being on the slopes, plus accessing course info, records and challenges.
The Tyrolian team behind polychromelab will properly gear you up for outdoor adventure. They create rigorously-tested sports gear from their own patented fabric, adaptable to hot and cold weather.
Skiline is a comprehensive ski community, billing itself as “the Facebook for skiiers”. It also serves as a log for your ski activities, stats, and movies, with lots of possibility for interaction. Information for ski destinations that have joined Skiline is also available, plus their current stats like weather, snow and webcam photos.
ARnav Navigation is an Android app that simplifies navigation and generates directions to points of interest using augmented reality. It features a turn-by-turn navigation route using virtual arrows. Even if you find yourself lost on a mountain peak, ARnav can help you find the way back down.
Sporty options for warmer trips
Who says a winter holiday is only for snowy scenes? If your winter holiday whisks you to warmer locales, these startups may come in handy.
EGO-Sports produces a mountable kit turning a bike into an e-bike, with the necessary traction to ride uphill.
BikeCityGuide is a mobile app helping cyclists navigate city biking paths.
Scuba divers can keep a logbook of undersea adventuresand share experiences with Divesquare, plus discover new diving spots and buddies.
Find and book a boat or a skipper with Anchor.travel and sail away to somewhere warm!
If you’re into sports in general, and would like to stay in shape during the holidays, this should come in handy.
Gift ideas and just for fun
CulCharge offers a small, flexible, keychain-attachable USB phone charger for convenient, on-the-go top-ups with award-winning design.
Socially conscious soulbottles are perfect for carrying drinks during a trip or as a gift for eco-friendly loved ones. Read up on our coverage here.
Group-gifting by creating an online gift box is the concept of SIMPLEWISH. Pick items from Amazon, then invite the recipient’s friends to chip in. An inventures.edu Startup Pick.
Online shop PaperPhine sells handmade paper yarn and thread, plus crafts and jewelry from the same material, making for unique gifting. See our profile of creator Linda Thalmann.
Silvia Gattin, Austria
Silvia Gattin sells carefully selected clothing, accessories and homeware online from exotic locales. Gifts a traveler will love collected by someone who loves traveling.
iblazr developed an LED flash for iOS and Android. A gift idea, or something for your own trips, to capture better vacation snaps on wintery nights when the sun sets all too early. Moonlight, though romantic, just doesn’t cut it for phone pics.
If someone on your Christmas list enjoys smartphone photography from a more precise angle, Lumu designed a similar concept with a minimalistic, accurate light meter and light measurement app. Gifters can order a Lumu pack with free international shipping, and all parts are locally made in Ljubljana.
Flaviar (see our coverage here) delivers monthly tasting packs of spirits with fun, humorous themes to members (membership is free), offers gifting options and a special Christmas pack that they confidently refer to as, “Probably the best gift in the world”.
For more gift ideas, keep following our 10 Days of Christmas! Happy holidays!