Sharing Economy Makes Travel Affordable and Personalized
Travel can be so much more than expensive, non-descript hotel rooms and limited, fixed tours. It can be surprisingly affordable, personable, and authentic if you’re willing to look outside the hotel lobby and use the rising number of travel sharing services.
Travel sharing, also called peer-to-peer travel, is part of the growing sharing economy, a system where items and services are exchanged between private individuals instead of through commercial companies. For traveling, this means using private homes instead of hotels, private cars instead of car rental agencies, and enthusiastic locals instead of tour guide companies. This affordable approach to travel has many advantages, including lower costs, unique and authentic experiences, and the opportunity to generate income if you decide to become a host.
How would you like to pay $80/night instead of $500 to stay in a castle while traveling in Ireland? Or be served a home-cooked meal with hand-made noodles by your Italian host in Assisi? These are only a few of the many unique and affordable experiences available through travel sharing.
Accommodation preferences are also broad and cater to a variety of tastes and needs. Some homes allow pets or are great for families and large groups. If you want a private bathroom or if you don’t mind sharing one with your host, there are plenty of listings that meet either preference.
If you really want to live like a local, you can find listings that include home-cooked meals shared with the host, tours of hidden local hot spots, or experiences like traditional craft making or rock-climbing lessons. And car sharing services grant you the freedom to explore a city or the countryside at your own pace without the car rental price tag.
Being a part of the travel sharing community can also mean an extra source of income if you’re willing to rent out a room in your home or share your car with travelers. Home sharing websites allow you to host guests, either for credit to be used the next time you travel and book accommodations through the website, or for cash.
Some home sharing services, like HomeLink and IntervacHomeExchange, charge a membership fee, which, depending on how much travel you do, may or may not be worth the investment. Others are specific to travel and accommodation in a country or region.
Each of these companies has their own vetting process to protect both hosts and guests. With a little research and an open mind, your dream vacation doesn’t have to drain your bank account!
Accommodations & Home Sharing
- VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owner)
- Love Home Swap
- RV Share
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