BEHIND THE SCENES
Meet the brothers who changed travel in their pants
LuckyTrip - A trip in one tap
What did you do the last time you sat in your kitchen wearing nothing but your underwear?
Eat cereal? Gently sip a glass of water while rueing the previous night? For Tiff Burns, things were a little different, if no more clothed. He spent it throwing things at his brother, Alex, after their app, LuckyTrip, became an overnight success.
“I was sitting at our kitchen table in my pants, and I noticed loads of downloads coming in,” says Burns. “Alex was in the shower and I was banging on the door shouting, ‘Something weird is happening’.”
“A friend texted us at that exact moment saying, ‘Open the App Store.’ We were right there on the front page. We started running round the flat throwing stuff at each other, going crazy. Then our servers crashed and we cried.”
This moment of ecstasy, however rudely interrupted, was the result of nine months of hard work and major compromise.
To transform their idea, a travel app that takes all the stress out of planning a weekend away, into a reality, the two gave up their jobs, moved in together and spent nine months at a kitchen table. The result? A complete change in the way people travel.
“We wanted to make an app that could plan unique trips in one tap, all within our budget. We also wanted to discover places we’d never seen before, not just the well-known ones most travel sites suggest.”
“We don’t want to just show a trip to Paris, staying in a chain hotel and going up the Eiffel Tower... We’d prefer to show a trip to Bucharest, staying in a wagon, with a walk through a haunted Romanian forest.”
And that’s what they created. On a sliding scale you set your budget then tap a big, red, “Lucky” button. That’s it. Within a few seconds you’ll have flight details for a possible destination, a hotel that fits your needs, and an activity to try while you’re there, all just waiting to be explored.
“Our vision for LuckyTrip is that wherever you are in the world, you can take out your phone and in one tap, go on an amazing adventure,” Burns explains. According to the founder, it would appear that it’s being used for just this.
Everyone put in £100, one person tapped Lucky, and they went to the first place that came up.
Tiff Burns, LuckyTrip
“We’ve heard a few interesting stories,” he said. “A favourite of mine was a group of lads taking their passports on a night out, using LuckyTrip in the pub and waking up the next day in Estonia.”
“There was also a hen-do that did a surprise trip using the app – everyone put in £100, one person tapped Lucky, and they went to the first place that came up. It was a good one, Hvar in Croatia.”
Despite having worked together on a single, shared vision, sibling rivalry wasn’t totally absent from the birth of LuckyTrip. In fact it almost cost the brothers a major opportunity.
“When we got a basic version of the app working, we wanted to see how it felt to go on an actual LuckyTrip, but we only had enough money for one of us to do it,” says Burns. “We played a massive game of paper, rock, scissors… and I won.”
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of things. “Alex tried to sabotage the trip by taking my passport out of my bag, and replacing it with an Epcot passport from DisneyWorld,” explains Burns. “He thought I would notice before leaving, but I didn’t. By the time he told me I was halfway to the airport. I just managed to make the flight – last one on.”
Alex tried to sabotage the trip by taking my passport out of my bag.
Tiff Burns, LuckyTrip
Having introduced Brits and most of Europe to the pleasure of serendipitous travel, the Burns brothers now have plans to expand LuckyTrip around the world.