The Irish countryside The Irish countryside The Intimate City app has the ability to send virtual postcards to friends, like this photo from the Irish countryside. (Photo: Catie Leary/MNN Flickr Group)

Travel app lets you send digital postcards to friends and family

Platform also allows users to share tips and connect with locals for firsthand information.

What if we could go back to the good old days, when we went on vacation and sent postcards about our experience to a select number of friends back home, rather than sharing it with the entire World Wide Web?

A pair of entrepreneurs in Israel decided to give postcard-sending a 21st-century update. They created Intimate City, a free app that lets users share their travel and exploration experiences privately with other users of their choosing – without the fanfare and “I thought you were out sick” comments from the peanut gallery.

In addition to sending e-postcards, Intimate City users can gather tips and insights from others who live in a particular city. They can keep track of where they’ve been by adding “stamps” to a “passport” and leave input for other tourists. Users who are having trouble deciding where to go on their next vacation can search through the app’s Request for Information (RFI) database to ask questions about thousands of destinations, study abroad locales, restaurants and local events.

The app, launched in April, made The Guardian’s “20 best Android apps and games” for the week of April 14.

Screen shot of Intimate City app

Unlike other travel apps, Intimate City requires users to log in and establish their own community in order to gather and distribute information. This ensures that the data is accurate, private and user-controlled, its founders say.

Those founders, Becca Feinstein and Joseph Sibony, are no strangers to international travel. Feinstein is from New York and Sibony is from Guatemala; the two met while visiting Israel in 2010 on a volunteer program and decided to stay.

Their impetus for starting Intimate City, they say, was their shared passion for exploration.

“People get into a routine, they go to the same places,” Sibony told Geektime. “We want people to never stop exploring.”

Right now, the app can only be accessed by logging in via Facebook, but the founders say they’re working on expanding that function to include email login.

“The best way to learn about a city and its individual character is to gain knowledge and inspiration from those who have already discovered it,” Feinstein said.

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