We've all gone through those extremely stressful days where you just want to hop on a plane and be on the other side of the world. Now, what if the one thing that makes that dream a little harder to get just got a bit easier? What I mean is, what if your accomodation problems were solved fast and easy? Well, we have seen it played out in the silver screen in the story of "The Holiday" where an overworked young professional, Cameron Diaz is going through a rough season in life and needs to get away. She finds a stranger on the other side of the globe, Kate Winslet, in England who is also seeking to get away from her life for a season, the best answer to their problems: HouseSwapping!
Serge Duriavig, Founder of Cosmopolit Home, came up with the idea of this platform when he decided to travel to New York and to find a house-swapper for his home in Nimes, in the South of France. However, for Mr. Duriavig, finding a willing house-swapper became a bit complicated. With this in mind, he started a company where "the host is also the guest" The platform consists of a member-style online community of home owners/renters that are willing to host people in the comforts of their home, either when they're there or not. In exchange for hosting people in their home, these members receive free-stay nights that they can use to stay in other people's homes (while they are there or not).
This type of travel is WAY more comfortable than the ever popular "couchsurfing"... couchsurfing is a life perfect for when you're young and traveling the world without a care about comfort. However, when you hit 30, you'll start realizing that comfort will play a big part in your life (like it happened to me!).
The platform was born in October 2013 and already offers over 6,000 types of accommodations in more than 50 countries. It connects people who would like a nightswap (from a whole place to just a room). When both parties are ready to close on their deal, they pay a small fee to the company. Another way to make accomodations is to purchase nights, this happens when the nightswappers' night meter is low and he can therefore purchase nights he needs in order to stay for the period he needs.
This is all great, but if you're like me, right about now you're going...How safe is it? Well, Safety is the third point of Cosmopolit Home’s business model: the guests and hosts can actually pick up an insurance contract through the platform and travel safe, although Cosmopolit Home’s staff tell us that in 99% of the cases, the eventual material damages are being resolved between the nightswappers.
Right about now you're also thinking - YES, but AIRBNB does the same thing. Well, not quite. If you were thinking that you could only save money by making extra money, you were a little off the mark. Indeed, with the nightswapping, the added value is the community which is builing up behind the platform: stories with families who will keep on swapping their house with the very same family each year, friendships built over a rented bedroom by some guy in LA who will then be a guest at his former guest’s place somewhere in England.
The guys over at CosmopolitHome also tell me that "Cosmopolit Home just raised 2M€, which will allow us to intensify our visibility in Europe and soon develop strongly in the US as well. Thanks to this fund raising, a new version of the website is to be launched before the end of year, along with new functionalities (feedbacks, calendar, host warranty...): loads of surprises in store" AND their services are absolutely free! No memberships, no having to pay anything out of pocket. How better could it get?
While your reasoning for wanting to go to the other side of the world will not be the same as our stars in "The Holiday" I do hope that the outcome is the same. That you are able to find peace of mind knowing that you're in a comfortable, travel happy space where you can be yourself as you adventure through the Earth. Get Nightswapping!
Here's to Happy Travels!