The “sharing economy” can apply to homes for adventure travel, too.
The French startup NightSwapping is taking the trend of renting homes via online community, but making it easier than ever for travelers to stay in real locals’ homes — without any money ever changing hands.
Three claps for that.
Quentin Mittelette, who specializes in social media and partnerships for NightSwapping, told GrindTV that “anyone and everyone is welcome to travel and host on NightSwapping.” But current trends on the site show younger travelers (25+) tend to stay with older hosts (45+).
Californian Maggie Sorokin, 22, used NightSwapping while traveling in Europe — Budapest, Zagreb and Greifensee. “I greatly enjoyed night swapping and wish it was as popular in the States as it was abroad,” she told GrindTV. “I enjoyed the freedom to use a kitchen to cook my own meals.” Sorokin plans to use the service for a trip to Asia next summer. “It definitely saved me money and time.”
Whenever you host members in your guest room or entire home, you earn “nights” credits that you can then use to travel later on. Nights currency is applied on a scale of 1 to 7, with guest rooms costing from 1 to 3 credits and entire places from 4 to 7 credits.
Membership is free for travelers and hosts, but there’s a small booking fee (about $11) for each transaction. The service exchanges in Euro, British pounds and US, Canadian and Australian dollars.
Claiming over 180,000 members in 160 countries, NightSwapping will list a home anywhere in the world, ranging from Rome and Rio de Janiero to Thailand and “a castle in our hometown Lyon, France,” says Mittelette.
One of the biggest issues with this type of property sharing concept is accidents, issues and cancellations. What if someone crashes your pad? Or you have to bail on your own plans to stay at the very last minute?
NightSwapping thought that through. The company is the first of its kind to insure travelers in case of last-minute cancellation, in cases of medical evacuation or emergency relocation for non-compliant host homes or rooms. Hosts are covered worldwide for up to $500,000 in property and tangible and intangible damages.
If you’re not ready to host someone in your home, you can get a flavor for NightSwapping as a traveler first. Just buy some super-cheap night credits directly from the website.
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