From May 2nd to 4th, OuiShare Fest, the first major European event dedicated to the collaborative economy, will be held in Paris and bring together a global community of entrepreneurs, designers, makers, economists, investors, politicians and citizens to build a collaborative future.
But if you can’t make it to Paris this week, read through our own review of the revolution. This article, the travel issue, is the first in Bettery Magazine’s series on the shareconomy.
Vacation season is near, so why not check out how the shared economy can help you see the world, while saving you some money and introducing you to new people?
Whether it’s a chic apartment in Milan, a beachfront house in Jamaica or a design loft in Copenhagen, social travel platforms such as Wimdu and 9Flats assist travelers in finding private homes to rent. They shave off the hefty hotel bill and offer a more genuine view of different cities and vacation spots. The best-known provider, Airbnb, has generated more then 10 million bookings in just three years. The website even lists boats and tree houses. The generally moderate prices are set by each individual, and—with the exception of 9Flats—the websites charge a service fee ranging from six to12 percent of the final bill.
If you want to travel with free accommodations, homeswapping might be a more intriguing option. Platforms such as Love Home Swap and HomeExchange ask for a small fee, but also offer insurance on your home to enjoy your vacation without worries. It’s simple. You just list your home and search for likeminded people in places you might like to visit. Homeswapping is a great option for families who would usually need to spend a fortune on hotel rooms and apartments. People with second homes or holiday residencies can use this with added ease.
A community based more on the pay-it-forward concept than direct swapping, Couchsurfing helps you share a home with “friends you haven’t met yet”. Today the friendly community numbers 6 million people who open their couches to travelers in more than 100,000 cities. A similar concept with a different background, Servas is a non-governmental, multicultural peace association aiming to build understanding, tolerance and world peace through hospitality. Founded in 1949, Servas is now a global network run by volunteers in over 100 countries. After meeting a local representative, travelers get a list of hosts from the region they plan to visit. Two nights is the typical duration for free accommodation, but countless friendships and even marriages prove that the encounters have quite a bit of potential for becoming long-term ties.
And though a nice roof over your head is helpful in a foreign place, some authentic, local food via Cookening will round off the experience. The France-based marketplace connects people who want to attend and host home-cooked meals, encouraging them to share their culture. Travelers search available tables in the area they are visiting; find a meal; book it; pay the contribution listed, and enjoy.
During your travel, journey or shared meal, be sure to ask questions, listen, learn, and have fun! Et voilà you’re a member of the collaborative consumption movement!
Text: Romy Uebel
Header image by atelier conradi