The crowdsourced vacation


If you could take a road trip and stop at places complete strangers recommended for you, where would you go? Apparently everywhere, judging by the exploits of John Ellis and Laura Preston, who call themselves “the democratic travelers” because they’ve hit the road for a year, and letting people on the Internet give them directions.

“We had people coming up to us and telling us like, ‘Oh, you know, if you’re going to Arizona, you have to go to this one place that’s so great,” Preston told Mashable from their current stopover in southwest Colorado.

They started a website to accept all suggestions and the voting “would just kind of dictate the stops we make on that loose route.”

What sort of places are people using to lure Ellis and Preston northward? Mostly the usual: Split Rock Lighthouse, Itasca State Park, the Mall of America, and the Iron Range. Those are all fine suggestions but all of them can be found in any typical “see the USA” guidebook.

Will any of that actually scream “you’ve got to see this?” Probably not, although one submission is an eye-catcher — the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices. Bob McCoy started the “museum,” which attracted the Today Show to the area in 1987.

But there’s no such place, anymore. McCoy closed the doors in 2002.

No doubt, someone at the Museum of Science knew, however, how to entice a couple of travelers north. The quackery museum is now an exhibit there.

So far, Ellis and Preston have visited 9 states and 60 crowdsourced locations.