Hospitality exchange is not an entirely new concept. It is the practice where a traveller works for a family. In exchange, the family will provide accommodations and food to the traveller, or it can be simply free accomodation, without any work involved. Do not confuse this with Airbnb. Hospitality exchange is free. No money is involved in this process. The most popular right now is CouchSurfing. It is an app where people register and choose to be the traveller or the family that hosts strangers or “friends you haven’t met yet” as they call them.
However, CouchSurfing is not the only app where you can do this. Today, let us explore some of the best alternatives that you can choose from.
This company has been around since the year 2000. It is the second biggest hospitality network in the world, and it is based in Germany. The club has more than 400,000 members. The app is for both hosts and travellers. There are other users who simply want to meet up with other people. However, it is not a dating site. It is geared towards people who are looking for an adventure.
The app looks dated. The design looks basic, and the search options are limited. The good thing about this is that there is a section for groups. Here, you can find groups for families, indigenous people and people who are not in the city. Overall, the app is great for people who are looking for adventure. Members are also highly encouraged to check the passports of the members that they would be dealing with.
Second on our list is a company that has been around since 1949. Yes, this one goes way back before the internet was even born. Servas works under the principle of World Peace. It wants to foster cross-cultural respect and understanding. The thing is that this company is not web-based. The way it works is through printed directories.
Another option is to contact your national secretary. This government official may have a list of Servas members. From there, you can find hosts. Take note that hosting is not free. You have to pay a fee, and this fee varies from one Servas branch to another. The fee ranges between $10 and $85 per year.
Before you can join, you have to go through an intensive interview. The organization wants to make sure that you are legit. Currently, the organization has about 20,000 members.
This is a UK-based membership platform geared mainly towards retirees. These are people who are willing to offer accommodation without charge. In turn, they will get what they call “host stamps.” The host stamps do not have financial value. However, they can use them to stay at another member’s home. The stamps are redeemable and cannot be re-used.
The membership is not free. It costs £30 per year. For this price, a member is entitled to stay for two nights at another member’s place. The process is not all automatic. You have to register and then coordinate your preferred schedules with the founder. If someone wants to stay in your house, he will give you the profile of the traveller to you, and then you decide if you want to host him/her or not.
You cannot contact the traveller or the host. It is the founder that will serve as a liaison between the two parties. It is also the obligation of the founder to validate the identity of the parties. This, however, does not mean that the entire process is safe. You have to carefully check the profile of the people you deal with.
This group was founded in 2006. The founders were dissatisfied with Hospitality Club volunteers. If you take a closer look, you will realize that it has the same vision and principles as Servas. This one, however, has a modern feel to it. It is online, and the group wants to put emphasis on sharing with each other, not getting things for free. The goal of the founders is to create a friendly community.
The beauty of using this site is that it is multilingual. The founders also believe in inclusion, so there is a wider social grouping here. Right now, it has 4,000 members. As far as security is concerned, members can leave feedback about their experiences. The system also has a process where the identity of both parties will be verified.
Travelling is an exciting thing and can be compared to gambling on sites like the casino GGBet. However, staying at hotels is an expensive proposition. You are better off if you live with some family and work while staying there. Be advised that there are risks associated with this. Make sure that you verify the profile of the place you will stay in. If you are the person offering your house, you have to ensure that you know how to keep yourself safe.