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Trading Spaces

Home exchange services are proliferating

The widespread popularity of Airbnb has demonstrated consumer demand for affordable, unique accommodations. Moreover, the site and similar services cater to young people’s desires to forge connections with strangers and feel a sense of home outside of where they live. Consumers are also able to obtain such benefits from several new home swapping services, which remove money from the equation altogether.

NIGHTSWAPPING

NightSwapping is a platform for people willing to host travelers in exchange for nights at other members’ homes. Users first create a profile with a description and photos of themselves and their place, as well as available dates. Other members then book a stay, granting the host accommodations of a comparable level. Properties are organized on a Standard scale based on factors such as the amount of space, level of comfort, and popularity of the area. Users stay at places of different values as they collect nights, or pay the difference. Since launching last year, the company has attracted over 100,000 members in more than 160 countries.

MYTWINPLACE

Young people aspire to see the world, but globetrotting gets expensive, even when staying in hostels. Home exchange site MyTwinPlace lets travelers access free accommodations in more than 130 countries by letting fellow members stay at their place while they’re away. Users first register their homes, and are able to import information from lodging marketplaces, such as Airbnb and Homeaway, to determine the value. They then indicate when they’ll be gone for others to use their place. Members use the credits they earn for a direct home swap or choose among other users’ listings, which are accompanied by reviews to inform future guests.

BEHOMM

When choosing a place to stay while traveling, aesthetics often impact one’s decision. Those seeking to rent a stranger’s house must sort through endless options before finding a place that meets not only their practical needs but also their taste. Behomm provides a solution for such people who prioritize good design; the invitation-only site allows creative experts to participate in direct home swaps with others around the world who also have thoughtfully-designed accommodations. The site uses art and design as a universal connector for people to form cross-cultural bonds. Members are given a free one-year trial, after which they pay $117/year.