Take Me Out of Office: The Newest Social Travel App

Photos from @takemeoutofoffice in London

Interview with Out of Office co-founders Janine Seale and Coabi Kastan

Vetted By: Jamie Lewin

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of organizing the perfect getaway, only to realize you need a vacation from planning your vacation? Seeing the world is an amazing experience, but planning a trip can be so time consuming and complicated and oftentimes, overwhelming. Have you tried to plan a vacation with a group of friends only to go back and forth for days and realize you are no closer to a plan than when you started? Have you ever scoured travel review sites trying to figure out places to stay or where to eat or what to see? Or spent a ton of money with a luxury travel company only to be disappointed?

Enter Out of Office, a new social network app for travel, where you can create trips, collaborate with friends, book hotels, reserve tables, and find hidden gems all over the world. The newest way to plan travel is the brain child of Janine Seale and Coabi Kastan who were on a trip together to London and missed a reservation that they were really looking forward to. After spending so much time seeking recommendations, finding directions, and making reservations, they realized what was lacking was a platform where all of this could be done in one place from sources that they could really trust.

With Out of Office, you can follow friends and link up with people who share similar interests to see their photos, read reviews, and ask for advice. Areas with the best local shopping? Bars with the most unique cocktails? Private villas with amazing views? With OOO, you can create your own dream vacation in a fun and social way and plan all of your trip's details on just one app. It's like having the best luxury travel agency at your fingertips (literally).

I had a chance to chat with Janine and Coabi recently to find out more about OOO, their expert recommendations from years of experience traveling the world, and how they feel about revolutionizing the travel industry.

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Photo: Janine Seale and Coabi Kastan

Jamie: How did you first meet?

Jan: Coabi and I met in 2011 while working at Trunk Club. I started about a month before she did. We were both in the first 20 or so employees, and we were co-workers first, then became friends and later have become co-founders.

Jamie: And how did the idea of Out of Office come about?

Coabi: We started to talk honestly about it seven years ago. Both of us traveled a lot, often together. Every time we would travel, it was just such a pain to get recommendations, to organize those recommendations, to pull them up when you were traveling, to plan and to book travel. The idea started because we felt like there was some optimization in the way we plan travel. It was just a pain point we felt. And then about 5 years ago in London, we were traveling and missed a reservation for high tea, which we were very excited about. That's when we decided we have to do this. We felt like the way we booked travel was so antiquated and difficult and it didn't have to be so hard.

Jamie: You launched in August of 2021. Did you see it "take off" immediately?

Jan: When we launched, we had really good traction. There was a lot of organic growth, which was great. Most of our users find out from friends and it's a big referral business. We now have over 300k users and still growing!

Jamie: Clearly you both love to travel. What has been your favorite destination so far?

Coabi: I loved South Africa: safari, wine country and Cape Town. That was a really cool experience. And then one of my favorite places ever is St. Barts.

Jan: I love Italy. There's never been a city or a town I've been to that I didn't love. There's culture. There's food. There's the social aspect. There's relaxation. The history is amazing. You can do it all. And I love Italian wines too.

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Jamie: Where are you heading on your next trip? What's at the top of your bucket list right now?

Coabi: I'm going to LA with my kids for Christmas and taking them to Disneyland. (it's a surprise!). And I've never been to Japan. I think we might go in September. I really want to visit Tokyo and Kyoto.

Jan: I have a trip to Cabo in February. I go to Cabo pretty much every February at this point for a friend's birthday. This year is his 40th so I'm really looking forward to that.

Jamie: Is there anyone you follow on OOO in particular that always has the best recommendations?

Coabi: Our travel editor, Maggie, always has the best recommendations because she does this for a living. She does all of our concierge recs and she writes a lot of the lists and local guide you see on our app. She also does the Forbes 5 star ratings. She's worked for Soho Magazine. Her recs are really good! (Follow her @maggielaubscher on OOO!)

Jamie: Okay.....carry-on or checked luggage?

Jan and Coabi: Carry-on!

Coabi: I don't check bags if I can avoid it.

Jamie: Go-to suitcase that you love and recommend to everyone?

Coabi: Ramowa is the best. I also have a Tumi that I love.

Jan: I travel with an Away suitcase and I'm a big fan. I REALLY love my Away suitcase.

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Jamie: What do you wear to the ariport and on the plane?

Coabi: It depends where I'm going. If it's not a long-haul eight hour flight, I will generally wear jeans or pants. The Nili Lotan Shon Pants are so soft and are great for travel. If I'm going somewhere warm, I'll probably put on a pair of white jeans or a linen pant. If it's somewhere cold, I'll wear a silk pant. And then for international trips, I will generally wear some sort of travel set.

Jan: If we travel for work, I'm in something that takes us from the plane to a meeting. So a pair of jeans and a blazer. Otherwise, I'm always in a travel set. I love a matching set. My favorite one is from Jonathan Simkhai. I get more compliments on it than anything.

SHOP HERE

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Jamie: I know from experience that having your own business is a real labor of love. What has been your favorite part of working on Out of Office?

Coabi: My favorite part is being able to work with one of my best and closest friends. Having a vision and working to fulfill that is so amazing. It's really gratifying. To be the one who's in control of your own success. Or failure. To build a company that you're passionate about and you get excited about it is, well, it's a blessing.

Jan: I echo everything that Coabi said. It's pretty amazing to feel like we're building something that other people truly want and can truly help their lives. It's impacting people's lives in a positive way and we're helping people have a better travel experience. As you start to see how many people are using the app and are bringing their friends along, you start to get some conviction around your ability to really change the way a consumer behaves. I think that's really exciting and interesting as well.

Jamie: What has been your biggest challenge?

Jan: As people always say, as an entrepreneur, you have every emotion every single day. And I think over the past year or 6 months in particular, Coabi and I feel that very acutely. There are all of these things that happen on a daily basis, and you've gotta be able to roll with the punches. It's hard to feel every emotion every day. But if I round-tripped it back to where we started Out Of Office, I wouldn't change it for the world. And I love what we're building.

Coabi: I think it's just an experience that you've gotta be okay with the highs and the lows. I love what we're doing. I believe in it.

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To get Out of Office, download the app from the app store. Start enjoying social recommendations, plan group travel, and create unique experiences. Find the best hotels and the best restaurants from people with insider knowledge. Share your own tips, local guides, and photos of your favorite destinations with all of your friends. The best way to create a tailor-made itinerary is to get advice from people you know and travel experts you trust. Think of them as your own luxury travel agents who know YOU best!

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