Nebraskan hopes to open up a whole new world in travel industry with app | Nebraska

NaviSavi allows users and businesses to post and share unedited travel clips shot directly from a smartphone.

OMAHA — In a milestone year, Sally Bunnell will cross the 100th country off her go-to list and launch a travel app.

After 16 years, she’s also left New York City to return to Nebraska. Oxford to be specific, a town of 700 people southwest of Holdrege.

“On May 31, I emptied my apartment and shipped 21 boxes to Nebraska,” Bunnell said. “My folks live here and all my family. It’s always nice to come home.”

Oxford will actually just be a home base for Bunnell, who calls herself a “full-time digital nomad.” She expects to be traversing the globe, one city at a time, as she populates a travel app she hopes will take the industry by storm.

NaviSavi allows users and businesses to post and share unedited travel clips shot directly from a smartphone. All content is user-generated to provide authentic, honest travel experiences worldwide. It’s free and available on Apple or Android, with OMAHA as the referral code.


One of Sally’s favorite sayings.

The bite-sized videos are all 30 seconds or less, shot vertically and filter free. There are no photos, reviews or professional content on NaviSavi. Just video recommendations from everyday travelers and locals.

Users who upload can earn cash rewards just by posting their clips. Each featured city will showcase more than 250 videos of the most recommended places to eat, sleep, play, explore and party, by tour companies, influencers and locals.

The first featured stop is Omaha, just in time for the College World Series.

“All the locals can show off everything they like to do,” Bunnell said.


Sally Bunnell with a camel she rode in Jordan.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate has been generating social media content through her jobs in New York for years, starting with an internship at “The Late Show With David Letterman” and then her work for a record label. Her campaigns have produced more than a billion hits on YouTube.


Nebraska native Sally Bunnell, right, with actor/musician Paul Shaffer on the set of “Late Night With David Letterman.” Bunnell was an intern for the show when she lived in New York City.

She also loves to travel, and soon realized that slick media campaigns don’t tell the real story of a destination. For example, when she would ask places to share a video so she could understand the difference between a basic tour of a wildlife preserve in South Africa compared with the deluxe model, she was met with confusion and resistance.

What she also discovered is that fellow travelers much prefer user-generated content.

“As I was traveling the world, I was seeing the industry of travel was still a dinosaur when it comes to video,” she said. “I’m trying to bring transparency to travel, through honest video. User-generated content gets four times more clicks than a promotional video.”


Sally Bunnell at the salt flats of Bolivia.

That someone who once lived about five hours from the closest airport and had never been on an airplane until her college days has created a travel app amuses Bunnell.

She said her family took plenty of vacations, just never by plane. Her parents, George and Karen Bunnell, run Bee Biz Inc. in Oxford. Her dad comes from multi-generations of beekeepers.

“I took my first trip to Canada and started to get the bug,” she said. “I went to Australia next and then really went hog wild.’’


Nebraskan Sally Bunnell swam in the Red Sea and Dead Sea during a trip to Jordan.

Since then, she’s climbed glaciers in Iceland, swam with hammerhead sharks in the Galapagos, sandboarded in the Sahara Desert and climbed inside the Great Pyramid of Egypt.

In other words, she knows travel.

She’s hoping her fellow Nebraskans will help a fellow Cornhusker out and use NaviSavi. To get people excited about contributing to the app, each city’s content is spurred by a digital scavenger hunt.

“I think Nebraskans come together more than anyone to support each other and support a business,” she said. “NaviSavi could be a really cool thing for them to come out and support.”

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