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Rayka app aims to improve study-abroad experience

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Charleston-based startup Wander Technologies LLC is releasing an app later this month called Rayka that functions much like Yelp for college students studying abroad.

Landon Sanford, Wander Technologies founder and son of U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford, said in a news release, “The idea for Rayka came about when I spent a semester abroad in Spain and realized how difficult it was to find out about the best restaurants, bars and special spots for college students to check out while outside the classroom.”

Landon Sanford said the app is comparable to previous platforms such as Google Places and Yahoo Local.

“I tried to get recommendations from places like TripAdvisor and Yelp, but there were multiple problems with those sites, including lack of validity from posts by people I didn’t know and the fact that practically every place had four- to five-star ratings. It was impossible to discern where to go,” Sanford said. “That’s why I created this app.”

The app allows college students post about tourist-heavy spots such as beaches, hotels and other points of interest. It also allows people to connect and make recommendations to like-minded travelers. For example, students looking for a local coffee shop will be able to form groups with other students in the area or use recommendations from students who were in the area previously.

Rayka’s creator says the app promises to deliver a more accurate description of what to do and where to go than other travel advisers. The company said two study-abroad organizations in the United States have partnered with Rayka, which is preparing an initial run of several hundred students studying abroad in the fall.

Reach Carlos Monkus at 843-849-3125.

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