Like what you see? This gorgeous Guatemalan view could all be within reach for FREE, with a click of a button via Nightswapping.
We students are always looking for cheap and innovative ways to travel, with the millennial generation’s ever-growing demands encouraging the emergence of online nomadic platforms such as Couchsurfing, HomeExchange and AirBnB.
You’d think we’d be pleased with the choice on offer (since there’s so much of it!), and yet with these options it just feels like something’s a bit, well, missing. This is the 21st century! We’re students! We don’t want to faff for hours on organisation, only to end up parting with our hard-earned money (which, in all honesty, we’re pretty short on anyway) for a city break ruined by interrupted sleep on a lumpy mattress in the wrong side of town. We want an efficient solution: flexibility for impulses, reliability, and – above all – we want to be safe.
It’s a good thing, then, that Nightswapping has come along. It’s all quite self-explanatory, really – you simply accumulate ‘nights’ (a sort of virtual currency) by hosting travellers in your spare room/bed/sofa bed, which you can then swap for a multitude of accommodation options across the globe.
With over 150,000 “Nightswappers” over 160 countries, Nightswapping means private tenants can share their space one day, and stay for free somewhere else the next. Whether it ends up being for a full vacation or just a quick weekend getaway – that’s up to you. It’s a unique concept that appeals directly to the student market, and yet the swap doesn’t necessarily have to be direct; you could literally host a Bulgarian that hosted a Bermudan in your Brighton flat, so you can go and stay in Bali.
As for safety and reliability, Nightswappers is about as good as it gets. Hosts and guests are both rated on the system through reviews, which detail a number of criteria – all easily comparable through the Nightswapping app (which looks suspiciously like the world’s most notorious dating platform).
It’s arguable that Tinder’s simplicity alone led to its overwhelming popularity, but we feel our thumbs are just as satisfied swiping through potential travel matches, searching for our ideal Nightswapping experience. And with 78% of travellers seeking total immersion in the country’s culture, and 70% wanting to learn from their trip, staying with a local does seem the obvious option in ensuring you get the most out of your holiday. It all sounds pretty perfect, doesn’t it?
Replicating Tinder’s effortlessness may not feel like the most original idea out there right now, but when applied to lone wanderers on the hunt for safe (and free) accommodation, we have to say we’re surprised nobody thought to do it sooner. We can’t wait to start Nightswapping, can you?
By Nammie Matthews