Let's say you and your family are considering a weekend getaway – maybe to an exciting city or the peaceful countryside.
One way to cut costs is with an app called NightSwapping, which started in Europe but has expanded to the U.S.
NightSwapping borrows from the Airbnb concept, except that money rarely changes hands. And instead of picking a destination, you enter your place of departure and wait for suggestions.
The app then shows you a number of possible “hosts,” people who have signed up for the app and who have agreed to provide travelers with a place to stay for a night or two.
You are responsible for getting there, but you've eliminated lodging costs. It's just the latest manifestation of the sharing economy, where consumers are perfectly willing to ride with or stay with perfect strangers.
Using NightSwapping is a two-way street, however. In order to stay with a host, a user has to be willing to also become a host. That means having a spare bedroom and living in a location people would actually want to visit.
In fact, becoming a host is necessary before you can start globetrotting. In order to be able to stay somewhere else, users will have to host others first and build up credits. NightSwapping provided the video below to explain the concept.
“Truly authentic experience”
“Host members in your guest room or entire place and earn nights,” the company advises on its website. “You can then use those nights to stay for free at other members' places. With money out of the equation, hosts and travelers can enjoy a truly authentic experience.”
And it doesn't have to be a direct one-to-one trade. When you host someone, that goes in your bank. You can use it to visit someone else, not the person you hosted.
Launched in 2013, the travel start-up now counts over 180,000 members worldwide.