In our last issue, we looked at a great way for adult travellers to share their holiday itineraries and experiences. Here, we turn to a different kind of expert: a kid traveller! S ingapore is home to some amazingly well-travelled young people. There are children here who collect stamps in their passports like most collect coins or

Pokemon cards! Zara Khanna is no exception. At the age of ten, she’s already been to a staggering 48 countries. But what makes her different from the other kids in her fifth-grade class at United World College is that Zara has built a small empire with her travel stories. Her aim? To create a way for kids themselves to share cool things to do on vacation with others their age via a website she’s developed called Octa, named for Zara’s age when she launched it. “I created Octa because I noticed that some of my friends weren’t having the full, awesome travel experience that I get because my family is a travelling family,” says Zara. “I was already coding a little, so I thought, why not combine the two to try to solve the problem?”

Chatting about travel Zara’s website includes an interactive chatbot – named, you guessed it, “Octa” – that you can ask for information about for more than 100 cities. “Octa was originally a Facebook Messenger chatbot, but when Facebook had some hiccups with onboarding new chatbots, we had to restart everything. It was a big refactoring session – and boy was it tough! – but it led to Octa being her own independent chatbot, so it was all worth it.”

The chatbot doesn’t spit out your typical, canned travel info either. Rather, Octa shares what kids have found interesting in different places. The goal is for children to help other children to have fun, engaging vacations … and that might just mean doing something that’s off the parents’ radar. Zara also produces videos about her own experiences, creating an entire library of footage about her epic adventures, including a trip from Scotland to Singapore by train as well as



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