Top 6 Sharing Economy Websites/App You Should Tap On for your Travels7 June, 2017
The “sharing economy” is a phrase that is generating quite a bit of traction in the travel industry. While the phrase may be new, the concept certainly is not. Before the invention of money, mini-economies functioned by community members exchanging services and possessions.
A sharing economy website or app fundamentally works the same way. With the growing power of the internet, strangers can now find each other no matter where they are from and offer their services or possessions to another stranger for a fee. You can even find online writing assistance that allows you to outsource any essays you need to write to another person. Almost anything can be shared – even your second hand stuff. For example with Yerdle – a small peer to peer marketplace for second hand store goods with its own credit system for exchanges. Anything you can expect to find on Ebay, you could probably pick up here. The growth of sharing economy websites and apps have revolutionised travel. Here are 6 sharing economy services you need to get to know:
Airbnb began as a San Francisco startup but has grown into a global phenomenon. The service allows you to rent a room or a whole home from a local, wherever you are in the world. Not only can you save money on accommodation, but the main benefit is you got to experience your destination as if you were living there, rather than staying at another generic hotel. On the flipside, you can make a bit of extra cash or meet new people by renting out your room or home for visiting travellers.
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Uber is another San Francisco startup that has grown very quickly since its birth. This extremely useful app allows you to hire a driver for a particular route, much like a taxi. There is nothing easier than landing in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language and having access to a personalised driver. All you need to do is pull out your phone, type in the address and wait. Uber is a great way to get around foreign cities and if you’re lucky enough to get a friendly, English speaking driver, you can even pick his brains for some local advice.
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Couchsurfing connects like-minded travellers by allowing you to stay on someone’s couch in exchange for making a new friend. Unlike Airbnb which is more focused on getting decent accommodation, couchsurfing is more focused on the experience of meeting a local. Hosts tend to be travellers themselves or at the very least they will provide travellers with advice on where to go and what to do in their town. It’s a fantastic way to make local connections.
Vayable allows you to book a tour with a local expert wherever you are in the world. It’s a great way to get local knowledge that you normally wouldn’t get on generic tour designed by a tour company for mainstream tourists. On the other hand, if you have any special knowledge you want to share with travellers about your city and you want to make some extra money, you can sign up and become a local expert yourself.
What is a more intimate way to get to know someone than sharing a meal with them? With EatWith, you can now find a homecooked meal anywhere in the world. The website allows you to meet local hosts and dine with them in their home for a fee. If you are travelling, you have to eat anyway so why not dine with a local instead of eating out at a generic restaurant?
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This is a great app for the more hands on traveller. Spinlister allows you to rent outdoor equipment like surfboards, snowboards and bikes from other peers. It is available in over 100 countries and makes for a fantastic way to bond with locals and hire your sports gear which will save you time and space from bringing your own.