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Want To Benefit From More Than House Swap?


SHARE ECONOMY EXPANDS BEYOND HOMES

People who participate in home exchange know the value of enjoying travel experiences from the perspective of a local.  House swapping was an early adopter in the sharing economy, even before people started calling it the sharing economy. Recently, a multitude of new companies have launched services that help people “share” resources. Sharing doesn’t necessarily mean free, but it can translate into significant savings, and it can lead to some really interesting local experiences.

We would like to thank ShareTraveler for this guest posting.  Here’s there list of top sharing economy services for house swappers.

Transportation

You might want to rent a car to explore the French countryside during your home exchange to Lyon. If you don't like the choices with traditional rental car companies, consider peer to peer car rental services like BuzzCar.com Tamyca.de and Drivy.com. They generally have better pricing with more diversity of vehicles and pick up locations compared to traditional car rental services. If you are a car owner this is also a way to earn some extra cash instead of paying for airport parking by leaving your car with FlightCar.com.

If you are just looking for a way to get from one destination to the next consider ridesharing. It's a cheap way to get around that's growing in popularity, especially in Europe. And while you save money, I think one of the best benefits of ridesharing is the local people you meet and the entertainment of conversations during your ride. Drivers join a website such as BlaBlaCar.com or CarPooling.com, where they post upcoming trips they are taking and how many open seats they have, along with a price per seat. Then riders can sign up to join those trips. Drivers and riders get reviewed, and in some cases you can select traveling companions based on features like how talkative they are. This is often cheaper than taking the train or bus, and a pleasant way to meet locals and travel in comfort without all the unnecessary stops inherent to public transportation.

Tours, Activities and Food

Tours and guided activities are fun way to explore while traveling. If you like large tours that hit all the standard tourist spots, you are probably happy with existing tour companies. But for those looking for a different experience, consider using a peer to peer travel experience website. Of the companies in this business today, vayable.com is the largest and most sophisticated. They offer a platform for people to buy and sell travel experiences, activities, and extended trips. Events cover a wide range of prices and experiences. My search of options in Barcelona turned up a $10 two hour roller skating tour, a $240 tour of the city in a convertible, and a $1,995 food and wine week, in addition to culinary classes, night life, photography, art, yoga, and a nudist beach visit, with most prices under $100.

A newcomer to the sharing economy is meal hosting. For travelers, this means an opportunity to eat in the home of a local, sharing a home cooked meal with locals and other travelers. There are a few variations on this theme, but the main option from sites like EatWith.com, TravelingSpoon.com, Cookening.com and MealSharing.com facilitate a cook hosting a group of people for a meal in their home. People attending might be locals in search of a good meal, or travelers looking to enjoy home cooking in the place they are visiting. They're not necessarily cheap, but if you like food tourism, these are great websites to check out.

Boats and Recreational Gear

It’s now possible to find vacation toys through peer to peer rentals. Companies like Boatbound.co and GetMyBoat.com facilitate boat rentals directly from their owners, from luxury yachts to kayaks. And you can find all sorts of adventure gear including ATVs, bikes, RVs, snowmobiles and surfboards on sites like Propaloo.com and Qraft.com.

Pet Sitting

For travelers with pets doing a home exchange, it’s worth looking for a swap partner who also has pets and is willing to swap pet care. This is free and you are already entrusting these folks with your home so it’s not a big stretch to also trust they will care for your pets like their own.

If pet swapping isn’t an option, there are some peer to peer websites to help you find a good sitter. Companies like DogVacay.com, BorrowMyDoggie.com and Holidog.com match dog owners with locals. They include reviews, match you with sitters based on criteria you can specify, and allow payment online through the website. Some even provide pet insurance.

Summary

There are a lot of great new services for travelers in the sharing economy, providing opportunities to enhance your trips, enjoy new experiences, meet locals, and save some money along the way. For a complete list of peer to peer travel services, I've created searchable tables along with reviews and resources at www.sharetraveler.com.

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