People often save for years in order to visit their dream destination. There’s the airfare, airport taxes, accommodation, eating out and souvenirs to consider and every cent you spend counts – with the effect of your splurge sometimes being felt for months after a holiday.
Tourists are constantly on the lookout for new and innovative ways to save money when it comes to travelling expenses. Plenty of co-hosting solutions already exist, such as couch-surfing, woofing (work exchanges on organic, sustainable properties), gamping (camping in someone’s garden) and backpacking, but these still cost their fair share of cash.
In an attempt to cut down accommodation costs almost entirely, French company Cosmopolit Home has come up with a new collaborative travelling concept called “nightswapping” that is somewhere between couch-surfing and house-swapping. Each of these ideas has their shortcomings and nightswapping is likely to present its own (maybe you don’t get along with your host?), but the idea is to eliminate as many confines as possible.
So how does it work?
By offering up your home or guest room (not a couch) to travellers, you earn credits to stay at other registered members’ homes abroad. For example, if you host a member at your home for three nights, you gain three nights that can be used anywhere anytime, individually or collectively. The more you host, the more nights you earn for your own travels.
It’s a one for one situation, where the currency is nights and it’s almost entirely free. According to Cosmopolit Home marketing manager Sarah Leyman, there’s still an administration fee of 10 euros (about R145) for the traveller. But that’s it.
Leyman assures worriers that exchanges are completely safe. “People who register with Cosmopolit Home have the same objectives and that is to travel,” she says.
“They make up a community who share the same values. Because there is no money involved, there’s no reason for someone to be dishonest.”
If you’re a people person, there’s no reason why this shouldn’t work for you, as you’ll get to explore new cultures.
Every home and profile is reviewed for authenticity, with representatives in several countries who go out and qualify the homes.