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Roam like a Native

Travelling abroad is usually an expensive affair and hence you want to make the best of the limited time you have there. To optimise vacation time you end up spending hours and hours on the internet researching about the place. You try and figure out where to eat, how much would it cost, what to see, how to get there, and so on. There is seldom room for you to be spontaneous. And if you are traveling with family it becomes even more important to make the most of your time there. You cannot be casual about your trip. Everything has to be pre-planned. What if I tell you, you don’t HAVE to travel that way. You can be as spontaneous as you want to be. You would probably not believe me. But this is exactly what we are trying to achieve for travellers like ourselves. We’ve seen that tourists waste a lot of time trying to locate good restaurants, shopping, pubs, money changers, etc. Even with copious amounts of planning, you need information about these facets, on the go. One very interesting thing that also came up during our research phase was that travellers were seldom familiar with local portals or digital properties to get the right information from, and more often than not ended up using Google for everything. Now we all know that Google is great but not perfect. My recent trip to London taught me that Google can go badly wrong in giving ratings to a restaurant. A 3.5 rating for me from Google would mean that I would enjoy a meal here. But unfortunately, I ended up spending a lot of money for really bad food. Tesco Express would have been a better bet any day. But that is the thing about internet. It is only as good as the things we ask it to do. I was not familiar with local content curators, like Yelp in the US, or Zomato in India. Hence Google was my go-to portal. After one bad experience, I started reading the reviews. The average time I ended up taking deciding where to eat went up almost to an hour. That’s a sheer waste of precious vacation time. And more often than not, I would settle for a place near to me or a short 10-minute ride away. I really could have used Trabug on that trip. If you had to spend no time planning, you would easily save about a week’s time of researching and curating stuff on your own.

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Trabug Branding

We are extremely happy with the way Trabug’s logo shaped up. The word “TRABUG” is a combination of 2 words “Travel” + “Bug”. We were lucky to get a dot com domain for Trabug. To be honest, sometimes, the availability of a certain dot com domain may influence branding decisions. Even though we had other names shortlisted and we liked them more than “Trabug”, having a brand with a dot com URL, would be beneficial for us in the long run. We didn’t want the brand name to be very long and also to be difficult to pronounce. Since we were targeting mostly English speaking foreigners, we felt this name would be most suitable. This had about 0.1% chance of being mispronounced or misspelled. A good and easy recall is very important for the brand. loadCSS("//fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Bitter:400,700"); loadCSS("http://blog.trabug.com/css/coupon.css?v=2"); Celebrate Holi with Trabug get 1GB Data Free! Get PROMOCODE Anyways, when we shared the name with the team, everyone was very happy. To our surprise, one of our designers did not think of it as a BUG (insect), but for her BUG was equivalent to a DEVICE. We had never thought of it. For one of my UI developers, BUG meant an ERROR. Again, something we had not thought of. But for him it also meant that we were fixing “Errors in Smooth Travel”. So, eventually it all made sense and we decided to go ahead with the design of it. I shall share some early sketches of the logo with you in a bit. We were sure about a few things from the very beginning: We definitely wanted to use the location pin as the base of the logo. We wanted to use tentacles to make it look like a bug We wanted have max 2 colors in the logo, but we did experiment with a 3rd color as well We wanted to use colors which would be vibrant and stand out. I personally love the yellow and black combination. When we were thinking about the logo, we wanted to have something which would look great in outdoor branding. We got the yellow and black from standard signage colors. You can notice signages from a distance. We also wanted the text to be Sans Serif, to keep it fun and informal. This is what we eventually came up with: Let me share with you what each element symbolises and why did we choose this over others. The head of the Bug. In our design exploration this actually came at the end. The logo was looking good but not complete without the head. You shall notice this when you see older versions. The tentacles make the Location Pin look like a bug. I specially like these tentacles because they also remind me of the famous 3D animation character Shrek. Look closely, bug’s tentacles look like Shrek’s ears. We modified to suit our logo. The shape of the “Bug” was debated for quite sometime. But being a boss has some advantages ;). I personally liked this shape of location pin as opposed to some we sketched in our earlier explorations. This particular shape gave a cool and elegant feel to the logo. The “Location Pin” represents, the location of sites, things to do etc., the heart of our concept, quite evidently. The dots represent the diverse set of information and services we have. The font for the logo was quite a struggle, we wanted to have a different Sans Serif font that did not look too casual. Found this one after days of searching.

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Trabug - how it all started

This story is being narrated purely from my (Sunali, Co-Founder) perspective and my journey so far.You can expect to get the following answers from this post: How did the idea come into existence? How was the brand name decided? How did the current founders collaborate? Where are we now, i.e. October 2016? loadCSS("//fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Bitter:400,700"); loadCSS("http://blog.trabug.com/css/coupon.css?v=2"); Celebrate Holi with Trabug get 1GB Data Free! Get PROMOCODE Before talking about the history of idea, I would like to tell you that it has changed considerably from the time it was first conceptualise and prototyped. Now, we can see it in real flesh and blood, with all its nuances solved. My partners Gautam and Gurpreet have played a pivotal role in making this dream a reality. Ideas have no value without execution, and you need partners, who have the ability, to look at all its flaws and work towards solving them and making it a viable business. And that is what we have achieved as a team. 1. How did the idea come into existence?The idea came from my visit to Dubai… I was carrying a Matrix simcard ( a service for outbound travelers, very expensive by the way.) and an old feature phone, which I used only for voice and text message. Being an iPhone user I had to carry an additional phone. I assumed I would get wifi everywhere I go and so things should pan out. This trip was not actually planned or lets say I was not prepared for this trip. I did not have the time to do my research online about Dubai and what I could do etc. But since I was travelling in a group I figured it wouldn’t be a problem.Anyways, to my complete dismay, wherever the tour operators took us, there was no wifi. So unless we came back to the hotel in the evening I was totally disconnected with the world (my office). The mistake that I made was, taking an old obsolete phone instead of a smart phone. But my old smartphone did not have a good battery life hence I avoided the burden of charging it etc. In retrospect not such a bad decision.I could not access my office or my team. I couldn’t speak to family or share pictures on the go. Even though I had a great time but this particular problem, kept bothering me. I faced a similar problem in Sydney too.When I came back to India, I decided to give this some more thought. I worked on a mind map, attached here. A typical design thinking exercise starts with defining a problem and then looking at probable solutions. After much deliberation the idea of “A Travel Phone” seemed viable!“What if you could get a phone that has all the information you need and also has data connectivity anywhere you go”?I bounced off the idea to a friend of mine, Lotika, who I thought would be able to look at it more critically. She too found it to be an interesting thought and confirmed that it could be a viable business model.We started the prototyping and Lotika helped me in detailing of product features and content structure. Within a month we managed to build a pretty cool prototype. Have a look….