This autumn we were able to spend some time in Paris as a family. With a toddler in tow we knew this excursion to the city of light wasn't going to be very romantic if we didn't figure out our accommodations and set up a home base. We tried out Nightswapping, a growing community of like-minded spirits who want to 'travel and stay for less at a locals place'. We chose a fun artist's loft in lively Montmartre . The graphic designer who lived there left us her keys and details of where to pick up great wine and chlorine free diapers in her neighbourhood. It was more affordable and practical than a hotel for us. I loved being able to grab food that Henry likes from the grocery store and prepare healthy and familiar meals between all of the pain au chocolat and crepes at the Eiffel Tower.
What's To Love?:- 160 host countries and counting ! - super easy website and app - verified hosts and guest insurance included - no money exchanged between guests and hosts - more safe, legal, and ethical than other homeshare sites - flexible accommodations and kid friendly homes
What's Not to Love?- not as many listings as other more established home share sites - hard to browse listings without creating an account
Unlike other home stay sites, Nightswapping's model allows them to insure against traveller injury and homeowner property damage. They can afford this 450,000 Euro coverage for all members because of how the site works. The hosts never get paid in money for opening their homes, just in free nights at other members homes. But since not all members have spare rooms to offer you can still pay out of pocket to be a guest at someone else's home. When guests who are unable to host pay online the money goes into the Nightswapping insurance policy and to cover the costs of running the site. This is a much safer option for your families travel in comparison to sites like Airbnb (who only protect host's property) and Couchsurfing which uses no money and has no insurance whatsoever.
The website and app are super easy to use. It's as simple as typing in where you want to go and when and browsing the listings until you find your match. Nightswapping has just unveiled new more streamlined 'swipe' process for selecting a property that you want to visit. It's as easy as swiping right to accept and waiting for the host to do the same. Sign up for a guest account and let the fun begin !
Since hosts do not receive any money for opening their homes Nightswapping isn't contributing to the ongoing erosion of rental housing stock in major urban centres the same way that sites like Airbnb are. It also isn't undermining the legal hotel industry or breaking new and existing laws. It's an affordable and ethical alternative to resorts and hotels for those who would prefer the price point and authenticity of staying with locals.
With listings in 160 countries you can choose a vacation match your mode of transport. From Carbon neutral stay-cations to more carbon heavy international trips .
Something I have come to love about traveling and booking home rentals versus hotels is the reduction of waste that comes with your own place. At a home rental no one is going to be washing your towels (even the clean ones!) like clock work every morning. You also save money and waste by being able to prepare your own meals to your families tastes and buy larger bulk quantities of foods that you can keep in the fridge; A luxury that is lost in the single-serve world of travel snacking.
Nightswapping is a great value for guests that can also become hosts. By opening your home to guests you can gain free nights all around the world. And even for those of us who can't, the most expensive listings are only around 45$/ night which is a much better deal than major hotels and hostels, especially in popular destinations.