Difference between revisions of "Hospitality exchange"

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A '''hospitality exchange''' or '''home stay network''' is an organization that connects travelers with local residents in the cities they're visiting. If travelers can connect with the right people at the right time, they can get room and sometimes board in the place they're visiting for free or at a deep discount. Network size goes from a few thousands to a hundred thousands, and most networks are growing steadily.
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'''Hospitality Exchange''' or '''Home Stay''' is a form of accommodation whereby visitors stay in a house or apartment of a local of the city to which they are traveling. The stay can be for free, in exchange for monetary compensation, in exchange for a stay at the guest's property either simultaneously or at another time (home swapping), or in exchange for help on the host's property.
  
Home stays have advantages and disadvantages. The most obvious advantage is that accommodation costs are much lower (at most networks for free) than at [[Finding accommodation | hotels]] or even youth [[hostels]]. More important, though, is the opportunity to make a personal connection with someone from a different culture and social classes, you see the destination you're visiting from a local perspective. You have your own adventure and as a side effect, the goal from some networks, this can build and strengthen intercultural understanding and reduce prejudices and intolerance.
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==Advantages and disadvantages for the guests==
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Home stays can provide several opportunities to home stay guests:
  
There are disadvantages, though. Home stays require some additional planning before travel, and courtesy requires sticking at least reasonably close to your schedule. There are usually strict limits on the length of stay and what you can do in the home. And the opportunity to make a personal connection has its flipside: awkwardness between host and guest can make a visit to an otherwise pleasant city unbearable.
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* Savings on accommodation costs
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* Personal connections with people from a different culture and/or social class
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* Local perspective and information about the city that is not easily found in guidebooks
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* A deeper understanding of the life of the locals
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* More interactions with foreigners, thereby strengthening intercultural understanding and reducing prejudices and intolerance
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* Opportunities to stay in areas under-served by hotels or hostels
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* Opportunities to stay in unique properties such as igloos, cabins, and castles
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* Compared to staying in a hotel, a home stay may result in a lower carbon footprint
  
==Networks==
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Home stays may have disadvantages over hotel/hostel accommodation:
There are a number of different networks that connect hosts and guests, with different requirements for participation, restrictions for guests and member number and geographical spreading.  Hospitality Club and CouchSurfing are the biggest online organizations with over 300 thousand members. The  number of active members within the different networks is unknown due to a lack of standard definition of what exactly constitutes an active member.
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For many, joining just requires filling out a Web form; some offer and others require further verification. Usually a Web listing or printed book of available hosts is provided, sometimes with eBay like reviews by travellers (or vice versa). All listed networks operate worldwide.
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* May require additional planning before travel
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* Last minute changes or cancellations by either the host or the guest may inconvenience others
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* Accommodation and sleeping surfaces may be less comfortable and/or have less privacy
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* Guests may be required to adhere to a schedule or follow rules set by a host, which restrict freedom
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* Accommodation may not be close to tourist attractions
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* If the guest and host do not get along, the home stay can make a visit to an otherwise pleasant city unbearable
  
Here are how the various projects index by size:
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==Home stay networks==
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A '''home stay network''' is an organization that connects travelers with local residents in the cities they are visiting.
  
  Members * Organisation
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Joining usually just requires filling out an online form; although some networks offer or require additional verification. A listing of available hosts is provided either in print and/or online, sometimes with references by other travelers.
  -------  ------------
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3,360,205 * [[#CouchSurfing Project]]   
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  437,042 * [[#Hospitality Club]]
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    56,961 * [[#GlobalFreeLoaders]]
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    50,000 * [[#Tripping]]
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    18,000 * [[#BeWelcome]]
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    13,000 * [[#Servas]]
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    4,000 * [[#Evergreen Bed and Breakfast Club]]
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    4,000 * [[#Affordable Travel Club]]
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    1,350 * [[#Pasporta Servo]]
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      700 * #Hospitality Exchange
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        ? * [[#Casa Casa]]
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        ? * [[#Belodged.com]]
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        ? * [[#Stay4free]]
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===CouchSurfing Project===
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Each network has its own niche: some are based on monetary exchange while some require accommodation to be free, some cater to older travelers while some attract younger students, some encourage more social interaction between host and guest while others are more of a financial transaction, some are focused on home-for-home swapping while others are focused on lodging in exchange for work. Almost all networks operate worldwide.
  
The CouchSurfing Project [http://www.CouchSurfing.org] is the largest hospitality exchange organization, founded in January 2004. While it started off as a non-profit organization, in 2011 it became a for-profit corporation. As of July 2010, there are over 2,000,000 members in 70,000 cities of 236 countries. Membership is free. Profiles are very comprehensive and extended search is possible (Allowing to search for specific characteristics such as "wheelchair accesible"). One important feature of this site are the groups. The groups allow people create "posts", make questions and interact frequently, creating a stong sense of community. The groups are set by interest (cyclist, vegetarians, alternative consumers,etc) or by location. There are several security measures. After using the service, you can comment ("leave a reference") about your host or guest. You can create links to people you've met through a friend list. It is optional to become "verified member" (one-time fee, amount depends on your home country) providing another layer of security and keep the project running. Another safety system like verifying is called vouching, in this system you can vouch for others you know and feel are trustworthy if you yourself have been vouched for by 3 other members. This system was started by allowing the founders and core admins to vouche for others from the start and it is spreading pretty well. It is possible to see if people are traveling themselves, and the percentage of messages responded to. Despite a system failure in June 2006, the majority of the data was recovered, and the system restored to functionality.
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The following are the major hospitality networks that are currently operating, in order of membership size:
There is also a wiki on the site with helpful notes about couchsurfing, safety, countries, cities and other couchsurfing related topics. 
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Unlike the next largest hospitality exchange, hospitalityclub, couchsurfing is much more focused on "social networking", and members organize many events, viewable in a database on the website. Alongside with the surfing/hosting experience, events are good opportunities to interact with people living or traveling in the places you visit.
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===Airbnb===
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'''# of members: 100,000,000+'''
  
CS mission is to facilitate inspiring expereinces. CS vison states that the creation of meaningful conections across cultures leads to appreciation of diversity and ultimately to a feeling of community and more understanding among people.
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Airbnb was founded after two San Francisco locals rented out their airbed during a conference that made it hard to find accommodation. The service enables members to rent out their spare house, apartment, room, or couch in exchange for monetary compensation. Members can read reviews left for other members and their accommodation. Accomodation can be searched for based on several parameters including specific neighborhoods, privacy, and price. The amount of interaction between the host and the guest varies: in some cases the host will spend a lot of time with their guests and in other cases, they will never meet at all. Airbnb collects service fees from both the host and the guest from every booking. If the guest damages the property of the host, the host may be eligible for reimbursement from Airbnb under its $1,000,000 guarantee.
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===CouchSurfing===
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'''# of members: 10,000,000+'''
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[http://www.couchsurfing.com/ CouchSurfing] was founded in January 2004 after computer programmer Casey Fenton found a cheap flight to Iceland but did not have a place to stay. He emailed students at the local university and received an overwhelming number of offers for free accommodation. The service is free, although members can pay a fee to be "verified". Unlike Airbnb, monetary exchange between the host and guest is forbidden; stays are completely free, although guests are encouraged to bring a gift, buy a drink, and/or cook a meal for their hosts. Guests can either message individual potential hosts with whom they want to stay or they can post their upcoming trips publicly and receive offers of accommodation from potential hosts. Guests and hosts are encouraged to interact and do things together to foster cultural exchange. Members fill out a detailed profile that includes their interests and pictures. Guests and hosts can write references for each other. Members can also use the mobile app to "hangout" with each other. Members can also set up events and many major cities have regular member meetings. The site has been criticized for its term of use, which allows Couchsurfing to use the data in the profiles of its members.
  
 
===Hospitality Club===
 
===Hospitality Club===
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'''# of members: 328,629'''
  
The Hospitality Club [http://www.hospitalityclub.org/] is the big hospitality exchange website which was founded in July 2000.  As of August 2008 there are over 437,000 members in 207 countries. Membership is free, and each member is verified by a volunteer team.  
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[http://www.hospitalityclub.org/ Hospitality Club] lists over 300,000 members, although based on the limited activity on its website, it appears to be defunct. Its concept is similar to Couchsurfing, in that accommodation is provided by hosts for free and members can leave references for each other. However, the site has limited features and an antiquated interface.
  
To register a member must provide their full name and address, which is verified by volunteers.  Potential guests can either navigate the database of hosts geographically or use the ''advanced search'' feature. An internal message-sending mechanism is then used, allowing to keep email addresses confidential and to block spam thanks to checking by volunteers. Individuals are free to arrange their own conditions for the exchange within the rules of HC that include the hospitality exchange must be free, but allows for ancillary costs such as food and phone calls to be privately agreed between members.
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===Global Freeloaders===
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'''# of members: 115,000'''
  
After using the service you can leave a comment for a member which will be visible to all users. The site also includes very active forums, groups, and wiki style travel guides which members can update with local information. In addition, Hospitality Club has the most active group activities, with regular regional meetings and huge camps with sometimes over 400 members attending.  The club is based on the work of volunteers around the world who believe that by bringing people together they can increase intercultural understanding and peace.
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[http://www.globalfreeloaders.com/ Global Freeloaders] is based on the concept of getting a free place to stay and does not necessarily encourage cultural exchange as does Couchsurfing. Members do not send individual requests for accommodation; they blast a request to several hosts at once.
  
===GlobalFreeloaders===
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===Warm Showers===
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'''# of members: 100,000'''
  
GlobalFreeloaders.com [http://www.globalfreeloaders.com] is an online hospitality network. As of December 2005, it has over 30,000 members. Australia is especially well represented.
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[https://www.warmshowers.org/ WarmShowers] is an online hospitality exchange organization for touring bicyclists that want either indoor accommodation or just a break from cycling and a warm shower.
  
===Servas===
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===BeWelcome===
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'''# of members: 93,000'''
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[http://www.bewelcome.org/ BeWelcome] was founded in early 2007 and is grouped in the non profit [http://www.bevolunteer.org/ BeVolunteer organization].  It is based on the free and open source [http://trac.bewelcome.org/ BW Rox]. BeWelcome is a website run by BeVolunteer, a non-profit association legally registered in [[Rennes]], [[France]]. Members of BeWelcome do not have to be members of BeVolunteer. All features of the website are free. Travelers can contact each other via the website with accommodation requests and leave references for each other after they meet. The website also includes a forum, contacts management, map search, and allows for set up of events. Profiles can be translated into other languages to make finding a host easier. The website is currently financed by donations of €1,700 per year and has annual operating expenses of €4,200 per year.
  
Servas [http://www.servas.org] was created in 1949 by Bob Luitweiler, an American who lived in [[Denmark]].  The organization spread rapidly all over the world and has thousands of hosts and travellers in more than 120 countries. Servas is also recognized by the United Nations.
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===HomeExchange.com===
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'''# of listings: 65,000'''
  
Servas recommends applying for the program at least 4 weeks in advance of travel. Participation in Servas requires 2 letters of reference and paying a membership fee, which varies by country, and a personal interview with a local Servas coordinator. After the interview, the traveler gets a "letter of introduction" that's good for one year of travel, and a list of hosts in the countries they're visiting.
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[https://www.homeexchange.com/ HomeExchange.com] facilitates home-for-home exchanges of various types. Members pay a fee of $150/year.
  
Travellers contact prospective hosts in advance (lead time varies as defined by each host), giving estimated dates of travel, and they may be asked to reconfirm one or two days in advance of visit. They can stay with hosts for up to 3 days and 2 nights, and are encouraged to stay the full time to develop a deeper relationship with the host.
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===Tripping.com===
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'''# of members: 50,000'''
  
Hosts provide sleeping space, sometimes this may be a guest room. Meals may be provided as well as assistance in visiting the city or area.
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[http://www.tripping.com/ Tripping] is a portal that aggregates vacation rentals from various sites including Homeaway, Homestay, and Booking.com. The site was founded in 2009 by executives of Stubhub.com and Expedia.
  
At the end of their trip, the Servas traveller is expected to provide a report to the local coordinator with updates to host lists (change of address and phone number, for example) and any other information that may be useful.
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===Home Link===
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'''# of members: Tens of Thousands'''
  
===BeWelcome===
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[https://homelink.org/ Home Link] was started in 1953 as a way for teachers in different cities to swap homes for the summer. It facilitates home-for-home exchanges of various types.
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BeWelcome [http://www.bewelcome.org] is a three year old service founded in early 2007 by ex HC volunteers (also joined by several ex CS volunteers [http://www.bewelcome.org/groups.php?action=ShowMembers&IdGroup=17]) grouped in the non profit BeVolunteer organization[http://www.bevolunteer.org].  It is based on the BW rox open source project [http://sourceforge.net/projects/bw-rox]
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Membership and all features are free. New members' applications are checked before approval to avoid duplicated subscriptions and obviously fake profiles.  
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Travellers can then contact each other for accommodation requests with the internal mail system which protect email privacy. Spammers are removed as soon as they are confirmed when more than one member complain.
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===Intervac===
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'''# of members: 30,000'''
  
People inside BeWelcome can add comments about other people they know or meet, bad comments are also allowed in case it can be useful for other members.
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[https://us.intervac-homeexchange.com/ Intervac] dates back to 1953 facilitates home-for-home exchanges and discounted home rentals. Members pay a fee of $99 per year and a free 20-day trial is available to new members.
  
This website also include a forum and classical hospitality exchange features (contacts managment, google maps, sophisticated search for host, links between profile, groups). In addition a member can have several version of his profile translated in various languages which can help him to find a host in a foreign country.
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===Trampolinn===
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'''# of members: 30,000'''
  
===EvergreenClub.com===
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[https://trampolinn.com/ Trampolinn] is a network whereby members earn points by accommodating others in their homes, which in turn can be used to stay at other members' homes.
The Evergreen Bed & Breakfast Club [http://www.EvergreenClub.com]is for people over 50 who enjoy traveling - members host each other in their own homes. Founded in 1982, there are over 4,000 members - mostly in the United States and Canada.  
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The Evergreen Bed & Breakfast Club members have developed into a network of over 2,500 delightful lodgings for considerate travelers by pooling their seldom-used guest rooms. The Club is a practical resource for travelers over 50 who enjoy people-to-people contacts. Members enjoy friendly hosts, comfortable accommodations in lovely homes, hearty breakfasts and firsthand information about local attractions.
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===HelpX===
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'''# of members: 27,200'''
  
There is an annual membership fee of $75 and guests pay their host a nominal gratuity of under $20/ night. Registration is online. Members receive online access where they can search for hosts in locations they want to travel to and interact with Google Maps to help plan trips. There is also a Member Lounge for blogs, managing one's account and profile and classified ads such as Home Exchanges. The Club has paid staff and an 800-phone number.
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[http://www.helpx.net/ Help Exchange], or HelpX, was launched in April 2001 by computer programmer Rob Prince from England. Hosts offer guests long term accommodation in exchange for help. The website is most popular in [[Australia]] and [[New Zealand]].
  
===belodged.com===
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===Workaway.info===
Belodged.com [http://www.belodged.com] is following the former globiwalk.com website which was launched in 1999, at a time as free accommodation networks have not been very well-known.
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'''# of members: Over 24,000 hosts'''
  
Unlike various open social networks, belodged.com does not try to set up a large mass of groups who are working for free for belodged.com. There is a professional team behind the platform that is supposed to guarantees the ongoing development of the website and its services.
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[http://www.workaway.info/ Workaway.info] offers an opportunity for travellers to provide help for about 5 hours per day to local hosts in exchange for food and lodging.
  
Registration is anonymous and free, no personal data except of member's e-mail and geographic information is needed. With the anonymous messaging service in the member area other members can be contacted anonymously and at some point exchange information like e-mail, phone number etc.. belodged.com does not pass on any information - the system doesn't have them!
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Volunteers (or "Workawayers") build an online profile listing their specific skills, interests or ambitions along with a video and photos of themselves. Volunteers must pay a subscription fee of $29/year, after which they can contact any of the hosts on the website and discuss a possible exchange. Hosts also create a profile outlining the exchange they are proposing and the type of help that they need. It is free to register as a host. Types of help required include gardening, animal-care, cooking, and construction.
Statistics can be found on the welcome page. The list of features is changing and growing as much the community is requesting.
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Workaway is aimed at budget travellers and language learners looking to become more immersed in the country and culture they are journeying through while allowing local hosts to meet like-minded people who can provide the help they require. The exact terms of any exchange are agreed in advance between the host and volunteer and Workaway only acts as a conduit. The duration of an exchange can range from a few days to over a year.
  
===Tripping International===
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===Staydu.com===
Tripping [http://www.tripping.com] is a global community of travelers that was founded in 2009 and - just weeks after launching - grew to 500+ members from 40 countries. According to the website, Tripping aims to become the safest and best hospitality exchange in the world by offering increased safety and the latest travel tools and technology.
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'''# of members: 17,200'''
  
Like other hospitality sites, Tripping is a platform where travelers can meet local people. Travelers can get advice from locals in the Community forums or meet them in real life, such as for a cup of coffee or even a homestay.  
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[http://www.staydu.com/ Staydu.com] was created by two German students who had the vision that everybody should be able to travel without spending a lot of money. Everyone can use staydu, but the focus is on low-budget traveler who are looking for a long term stay. Hosts can offer their accommodation for three categories: for work, for money, or for free.
  
Tripping offers advanced tools that are not yet available on other hospitality networks. For example: In addition to features like inline editing and advanced search functionality, calendars automatically track when and where travelers are being hosted.
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===Servas===
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'''# of members: Over 14,000 hosts'''
  
Based in San Francisco, Tripping was founded by Jen O'Neal [https://www.tripping.com/about/ourteam] and Nate Weisiger [https://www.tripping.com/about/ourteam], who were two of the first employees at StubHub.com (a startup that was acquired by eBay for $307M in 2007). The founders also have experience in the hospitality realm, as Jen O'Neal is a longtime member of CouchSurfing and has hosted over 150 travelers across various hospitality sites.
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[http://www.servas.org/ Servas] was created in 1949 by Bob Luitweiler, an American who lived in [[Denmark]]. Servas recommends that guest apply at least 4 weeks in advance of travel. Participation in Servas requires 2 letters of reference and paying a membership fee, which varies by country, and a personal interview with a local Servas coordinator. After the interview, the traveler gets a "letter of introduction" that's good for one year of travel, and a list of hosts in the countries he or she is visiting. Travellers contact prospective hosts in advance (lead time varies as defined by each host), giving estimated dates of travel, and they may be asked to reconfirm one or two days in advance of visit. They can stay with hosts for up to 3 days and 2 nights. Hosts provide sleeping space. Meals may be provided as well as assistance in visiting the city or area. At the end of their trip, Servas travellers are expected to provide a report to the local coordinator with any information that may be useful.
  
Tripping is free for everyone and their motto is "For Travelers, Not Tourists"
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===GoCambio===
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'''# of members: 5,200'''
  
===Affordable Travel Club===
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[https://www.gocambio.com GoCambio] is an exchange website that connects people who have a place to stay with someone who has something to share. Hosts share their homes, and guests share their skills in music, sports, cooking, or languages. In most cases, the host accommodation and breakfast in exchange for 2 hours of tutoring from the guest. The host and the guest agree on the conditions before the cambio takes place. A cambio usually lasts 1-2 weeks.
  
The Affordable Travel Club [http://www.affordabletravelclub.net] is a bed and breakfast hospitality exchange club founded in 1992. It is for people over the age of forty. Members pay an annual membership fee and may receive a printed directory or access to an online directory. Traveling members pay a small gratuity to their hosts. ATC is a community-oriented club with regular get-togethers. It is supported by staff.
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===Horizon===
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'''# of members: 4,500'''
  
===Hospitality Exchange===
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[https://api.horizonapp.co/ Horizon] is an exchange network designed to promote hosting and travel within specific trusted organizations. It allows travelers to reach out and connect with hosts with whom they belong to a common group or have a mutual friend. It therefore also allows various groups and organization to strengthen their community by promoting travel, hosting, and sharing within the group.
  
Hospitality Exchange had its roots in the Travelers directory (now defunct) one of the originators of this concept over 40 years ago.  Lower membership but passionate about its goals. Website, [http://hospex.net], explains it all, allows members to search for other members. $20/year to defray expenses.
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===Affordable Travel Club===
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'''# of members: 4,000'''
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[http://www.affordabletravelclub.net/ Affordable Travel Club] is a bed and breakfast hospitality exchange club founded in 1992. It is for people over the age of 40. Members pay an annual membership fee of $75 and may receive a printed directory or access to an online directory. Traveling members pay a gratuity of $15-30/night to their hosts. ATC is a community-oriented club with regular events. It is supported by staff.
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===Evergreen Bed & Breakfast Club===
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'''# of members: 2,000'''
  
===TravelHoo===
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[http://www.EvergreenClub.com/ Evergreen Bed & Breakfast Club] is a hospitality exchange network for people over the age of 50 and is mostly active in the [[United States]] and [[Canada]]. There is an annual membership fee of $75 and guests pay their host a nominal gratuity of under $20/night. Registration is online. Members receive online access where they can search for hosts in locations they want to travel to and interact with Google Maps to help plan trips. There is also a Member Lounge for blogs, managing accounts and profile and classified ads such as Home Exchanges. The Club has paid-staff and a toll free number.
  
TravelHoo was one of the oldest web-based hospitality exchange organizations, operating since 1997. In December 2005 there were more than 6,000 members in 114 countries, Eastern Europe and Asia being well represented. Today this network seems to not exist anymore [http://www.hospitalityguide.net/hg/wiki/index.php?title=Travelhoo]. Only its online discussion group [http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/travelhoo/?v=1&t=directory&ch=web&pub=groups&sec=dir&slk=10] is still reachable via different search engines.
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===Working Traveller===
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'''# of members: 1,700'''
  
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[http://www.workingtraveller.com Working Traveller] allows travellers to 'negotiate' what they would get in exchange for their skills from hosts. The site allows hosts to set what they are willing to pay, in terms of a bed, food, or money using a barter point system and a traveller can set what barter points they want to charge. This makes the site different from more traditional volunteering sites and more focused to career minded travellers looking for references on their return home to get a job.
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===Pasporta Servo===
 
===Pasporta Servo===
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'''# of members: 1,350'''
  
The ''Pasporta Servo'' [http://www.tejo.org/ps/] ("passport service") is a home stay network for speakers of [[Esperanto phrasebook|Esperanto]], an international auxiliary language. It's sponsored by TEJO, the World Organization of Young Esperantists, who publish a book each year listing thousands of hosts in 80 countries.
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[https://pasportaservo.org/ Pasporta Servo] ("passport service") is a home stay network for speakers of [[Esperanto phrasebook|Esperanto]], an international auxiliary language. It's sponsored by TEJO, the World Organization of Young Esperantists, who publish a book each year listing thousands of hosts in 80 countries. Travelers pay a fee for the yearly host list. Hosts ask no fee for rooms, but each sets their own requirements for duration, number of visitors, contact ahead of time, and whether or not food is offered. Some hosts ask for compensation for food. Hosts receive the host list for free. All travelers are expected to communicate with their hosts in Esperanto. Coordination with the service is in Esperanto, and the host list is in Esperanto.
  
Travelers pay a fee for the yearly host list. Hosts ask no fee for rooms, but each sets their own requirements for duration, number of visitors, contact ahead of time, and whether or not food is offered. Some hosts ask for compensation for food. Hosts receive the host list for free.
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===belodged.com===
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'''# of members: Unknown'''
  
All travelers are expected to communicate with their hosts in Esperanto. Coordination with the service is in Esperanto, and the host list is in Esperanto. If you don't speak Esperanto, aren't really interested, and can't see learning a new language just to get into a home stay network, Pasporta Servo is not for you.
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[http://www.belodged.com/ Belodged.com] is a basic free accommodation site that is run by an accessible team of staff members. Registration is anonymous and free, no personal data except e-mail address and geographic information is needed.
  
===WarmShowers.org===
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===Green Theme International===
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'''# of members: Unknown'''
  
WarmShowers is an online hospitality exchange organization for touring cyclists. It has 10824 active members (data from 2009/12/04). It has been founded in 1993 in Canada, it has become an online organization in 2005. Its members are dispersed all over the world, although North America is still best represented.
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[https://www.gti-home-exchange.com/ Green Theme International] facilities reciprocal home exchange, whereby members exchange their house for a short or long period of time with someone else. Membership costs $40/year.
  
===Casa Casa===
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===Handytravelers===
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'''# of members: Unknown'''
  
Casa Casa [http://www.casacasa.org] is a bed and breakfast hospitality exchange club loosely affiated with the Affordable Travel Club. It is for people age twenty four and over. Members pay an annual membership fee of $50, and their names and addresses are verified through the dues-paying process. Casa Casa's online membership directory is secure and searchable. Traveling members pay a gratuity of $15 to their hosts to offset the costs of providing breakfast. Casa Casa is supported by a full-time staffperson who is available to provide some assistance in arranging homestays.
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[http://www.handytravelers.com/ Handytravelers] is an online hospitality exchange organization that offers homestay for travellers. Hosts can offer their homes and show Travelers how Locals live.  
  
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===helpStay.com===
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'''# of members: Unknown'''
  
===Hospex===
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[http://www.helpstay.com/ helpStay.com] facilitates the introduction of travellers and hosts for short-term work in exchange for accommodation. In general, a host will provide 1-3 meals a day and accommodation in return for about 20 hours of work per week from a volunteer. Hosts may also provide additional perks such as free internet, laundry, language lessons, use of kayaks or bikes, and local excursions. Some may offer live-in accommodation with the host family, a separate guesthouse, or lodging in a hostel, sailboat, or beach hut. Stays are usually at least one week in duration, allowing for a real local experience. ‘Work’ can be anything from working with animals to help around the house. New members can register as a volunteer and/or host. Searches can be conducted by age, gender, nationality, work type, languages spoken, travel dates, etc.  A feedback mechanism also exists for rating other members and leaving comments about their experience with one another. It is free to join and create a profile. Hosts are automatically upgraded to Premium status so they can contact other members. Volunteers may upgrade to a Premium Membership at any time for a small donation.
  
'''Hospex [http://www.hospex.org/]''' was the first Internet based hospitality network. Started back in 1992, after several years it converted to Hospitality Club:
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===HomeForSwap.com===
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'''# of members: Unknown'''
  
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[http://HomeForSwap.com/ HomeForSwap.com] is a facilitator of home-for-home exchanges. Membership costs $93/year.
  
===Staydu.com===
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===Knok===
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'''# of members: Unknown'''
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 +
[http://www.knok.com/ Knok] facilitates home exchange and apartment rental for families traveling with children. New members pay a listing fee of $29/year.
 +
 
 +
===Mennonite Your Way===
 +
'''# of members: Unknown'''
 +
 
 +
[http://www.mennoniteyourway.com/ Mennonite Your Way] is focused on Mennonites, although members do not need to be Christian to join. Hosts offer guests accommodation on a donation basis.
 +
 
 +
===Obunia.com===
 +
'''# of members: Unknown'''
 +
 
 +
[http://www.obunia.com/ Obunia.com] aggregates vacation rentals listed on other sites such as HomeAway and RoomORama.
  
Staydu.com [http://www.staydu.com] was created by two German students who had the vision that everybody should be able to travel without spending a lot of money. Staydu.com has gone online in September 2011 and already had more than 1000 registered users by the end of 2011. Everyone can use staydu, but the focus is on low-budget traveler who are looking for a long term stay. Hosts can offer their accommodation for three categories: for work, for money or for free. Staydu started totally for free, but to keep the advertisement low-budget staydu has that a limit of $ 200 / month for the category "money" and a limit of $50 of additional fees for the category "work".
+
===Switch===
Staydu already has sub-sites that surfers [http://www.surf.staydu.com] and hairdressers [http://www.hair.staydu.com]can network with like-minded people.
+
'''# of members: Unknown'''
  
===Volunteerstays.com===
+
[http://switchhomes.net/ Switch] is a facilitator of home-for-home exchanges. The site is free.
  
Volunteerstays.com[http://www.volunteerstays.com] provides an international listing of Volunteers and Stays for the purpose of introducing travellers and hosts for short-term work exchanges. A bit of honest work in exchange for food and shelter and a friendly local experience is what the website is about. Launched June 24, 2011, it attracts new members daily.
+
===WorldEscape===
 +
'''# of members: Unknown'''
  
In general, a Stay will provide meals and accommodation (1-3 meals a day) in return for about 20 hours  of work per week from a Volunteer. Stays may also provide additional perks such as free internet, laundry, language lessons, use of kayaks or bikes, and local excursions. Each Stay is unique. Some may offer live-in accommodation with the host family, a separate guesthouse, or lodging in a hostel, sailboat, or beach hut. Stays are usually at least one week in duration, allowing for a real local experience. ‘Work’ can be anything from working with animals to help around the house.  
+
[http://www.worldescape.com/ WorldEscape] offers peer-to-peer short-term rentals focusing on unique and stylish accommodations in 40 cities around the world. Properties are hand-picked by WorldEscape representatives before being entered in a database organized by city. Booking service is very hands-on with WorldEscape managers on the ground in each of the cities that support both guests and property owners in person 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This makes a huge difference on those rare occasions when things go wrong.
  
New members can register as either a volunteer or stay (or both). While the focus is on introducing Volunteers and Stays for working vacations, the website also provides a Travel Partners service. Searches can be conducted by age, gender, nationality, work type, languages spoken, travel to dates, etc.  A feedback mechanism also exists for rating other members and leaving comments about their experience with one another.
+
===WWOOF===
 +
'''# of members: Unknown'''
  
It is free to join and create a profile. Stays are automatically upgraded to Premium status so they can contact other members. Volunteers may upgrade to a Premium Membership at any time for a small donation.
+
[http://www.wwoof.net/ WWOOF] (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms) is a network that allows hosts that own farms to receive 4-6 hours per day of help on their farms in exchange for food, accommodation, education, and cultural interaction. Monetary exchange is prohibited, although joining requires payment of a membership fee of up to $72/year, depending on home country.
  
===Other===
+
===Zotel===
 +
'''# of members: Unknown'''
  
Although a slightly different concept, [[home exchange]] is closely related to hospitality exchange, and there are a number of other agencies specifically for those who are interested in swapping homes.
+
[http://zotel.com Zotel] provides $40/night lodging worldwide with specific quality standards as well as trust built through chain of connections between hosts and guests. Zotel leverages six degrees of connections to build the chain of connections between hosts and guests. This chain of connections provides an immense amount of trust for everyone - so much that more people are willing to open their doors for hosting at a fixed price of $40/night worldwide while maintaining specific quality standards. It also enables guests to have a trusted travel experience in every corner of the world - even more trusted than unknown hotels run by unknown managers. The reputation among the chain of connections also provides a huge incentive for hosts to exceed the specified quality standards.
  
 
{{Usabletopic}}
 
{{Usabletopic}}

Latest revision as of 18:52, 12 October 2016

    This article is a travel topic

Hospitality Exchange or Home Stay is a form of accommodation whereby visitors stay in a house or apartment of a local of the city to which they are traveling. The stay can be for free, in exchange for monetary compensation, in exchange for a stay at the guest's property either simultaneously or at another time (home swapping), or in exchange for help on the host's property.

Advantages and disadvantages for the guests[edit]

Home stays can provide several opportunities to home stay guests:

  • Savings on accommodation costs
  • Personal connections with people from a different culture and/or social class
  • Local perspective and information about the city that is not easily found in guidebooks
  • A deeper understanding of the life of the locals
  • More interactions with foreigners, thereby strengthening intercultural understanding and reducing prejudices and intolerance
  • Opportunities to stay in areas under-served by hotels or hostels
  • Opportunities to stay in unique properties such as igloos, cabins, and castles
  • Compared to staying in a hotel, a home stay may result in a lower carbon footprint

Home stays may have disadvantages over hotel/hostel accommodation:

  • May require additional planning before travel
  • Last minute changes or cancellations by either the host or the guest may inconvenience others
  • Accommodation and sleeping surfaces may be less comfortable and/or have less privacy
  • Guests may be required to adhere to a schedule or follow rules set by a host, which restrict freedom
  • Accommodation may not be close to tourist attractions
  • If the guest and host do not get along, the home stay can make a visit to an otherwise pleasant city unbearable

Home stay networks[edit]

A home stay network is an organization that connects travelers with local residents in the cities they are visiting.

Joining usually just requires filling out an online form; although some networks offer or require additional verification. A listing of available hosts is provided either in print and/or online, sometimes with references by other travelers.

Each network has its own niche: some are based on monetary exchange while some require accommodation to be free, some cater to older travelers while some attract younger students, some encourage more social interaction between host and guest while others are more of a financial transaction, some are focused on home-for-home swapping while others are focused on lodging in exchange for work. Almost all networks operate worldwide.

The following are the major hospitality networks that are currently operating, in order of membership size:

Airbnb[edit]

# of members: 100,000,000+

Airbnb was founded after two San Francisco locals rented out their airbed during a conference that made it hard to find accommodation. The service enables members to rent out their spare house, apartment, room, or couch in exchange for monetary compensation. Members can read reviews left for other members and their accommodation. Accomodation can be searched for based on several parameters including specific neighborhoods, privacy, and price. The amount of interaction between the host and the guest varies: in some cases the host will spend a lot of time with their guests and in other cases, they will never meet at all. Airbnb collects service fees from both the host and the guest from every booking. If the guest damages the property of the host, the host may be eligible for reimbursement from Airbnb under its $1,000,000 guarantee.

CouchSurfing[edit]

# of members: 10,000,000+

CouchSurfing was founded in January 2004 after computer programmer Casey Fenton found a cheap flight to Iceland but did not have a place to stay. He emailed students at the local university and received an overwhelming number of offers for free accommodation. The service is free, although members can pay a fee to be "verified". Unlike Airbnb, monetary exchange between the host and guest is forbidden; stays are completely free, although guests are encouraged to bring a gift, buy a drink, and/or cook a meal for their hosts. Guests can either message individual potential hosts with whom they want to stay or they can post their upcoming trips publicly and receive offers of accommodation from potential hosts. Guests and hosts are encouraged to interact and do things together to foster cultural exchange. Members fill out a detailed profile that includes their interests and pictures. Guests and hosts can write references for each other. Members can also use the mobile app to "hangout" with each other. Members can also set up events and many major cities have regular member meetings. The site has been criticized for its term of use, which allows Couchsurfing to use the data in the profiles of its members.

Hospitality Club[edit]

# of members: 328,629

Hospitality Club lists over 300,000 members, although based on the limited activity on its website, it appears to be defunct. Its concept is similar to Couchsurfing, in that accommodation is provided by hosts for free and members can leave references for each other. However, the site has limited features and an antiquated interface.

Global Freeloaders[edit]

# of members: 115,000

Global Freeloaders is based on the concept of getting a free place to stay and does not necessarily encourage cultural exchange as does Couchsurfing. Members do not send individual requests for accommodation; they blast a request to several hosts at once.

Warm Showers[edit]

# of members: 100,000

WarmShowers is an online hospitality exchange organization for touring bicyclists that want either indoor accommodation or just a break from cycling and a warm shower.

BeWelcome[edit]

# of members: 93,000

BeWelcome was founded in early 2007 and is grouped in the non profit BeVolunteer organization. It is based on the free and open source BW Rox. BeWelcome is a website run by BeVolunteer, a non-profit association legally registered in Rennes, France. Members of BeWelcome do not have to be members of BeVolunteer. All features of the website are free. Travelers can contact each other via the website with accommodation requests and leave references for each other after they meet. The website also includes a forum, contacts management, map search, and allows for set up of events. Profiles can be translated into other languages to make finding a host easier. The website is currently financed by donations of €1,700 per year and has annual operating expenses of €4,200 per year.

HomeExchange.com[edit]

# of listings: 65,000

HomeExchange.com facilitates home-for-home exchanges of various types. Members pay a fee of $150/year.

Tripping.com[edit]

# of members: 50,000

Tripping is a portal that aggregates vacation rentals from various sites including Homeaway, Homestay, and Booking.com. The site was founded in 2009 by executives of Stubhub.com and Expedia.

Home Link[edit]

# of members: Tens of Thousands

Home Link was started in 1953 as a way for teachers in different cities to swap homes for the summer. It facilitates home-for-home exchanges of various types.

Intervac[edit]

# of members: 30,000

Intervac dates back to 1953 facilitates home-for-home exchanges and discounted home rentals. Members pay a fee of $99 per year and a free 20-day trial is available to new members.

Trampolinn[edit]

# of members: 30,000

Trampolinn is a network whereby members earn points by accommodating others in their homes, which in turn can be used to stay at other members' homes.

HelpX[edit]

# of members: 27,200

Help Exchange, or HelpX, was launched in April 2001 by computer programmer Rob Prince from England. Hosts offer guests long term accommodation in exchange for help. The website is most popular in Australia and New Zealand.

Workaway.info[edit]

# of members: Over 24,000 hosts

Workaway.info offers an opportunity for travellers to provide help for about 5 hours per day to local hosts in exchange for food and lodging.

Volunteers (or "Workawayers") build an online profile listing their specific skills, interests or ambitions along with a video and photos of themselves. Volunteers must pay a subscription fee of $29/year, after which they can contact any of the hosts on the website and discuss a possible exchange. Hosts also create a profile outlining the exchange they are proposing and the type of help that they need. It is free to register as a host. Types of help required include gardening, animal-care, cooking, and construction.

Workaway is aimed at budget travellers and language learners looking to become more immersed in the country and culture they are journeying through while allowing local hosts to meet like-minded people who can provide the help they require. The exact terms of any exchange are agreed in advance between the host and volunteer and Workaway only acts as a conduit. The duration of an exchange can range from a few days to over a year.

Staydu.com[edit]

# of members: 17,200

Staydu.com was created by two German students who had the vision that everybody should be able to travel without spending a lot of money. Everyone can use staydu, but the focus is on low-budget traveler who are looking for a long term stay. Hosts can offer their accommodation for three categories: for work, for money, or for free.

Servas[edit]

# of members: Over 14,000 hosts

Servas was created in 1949 by Bob Luitweiler, an American who lived in Denmark. Servas recommends that guest apply at least 4 weeks in advance of travel. Participation in Servas requires 2 letters of reference and paying a membership fee, which varies by country, and a personal interview with a local Servas coordinator. After the interview, the traveler gets a "letter of introduction" that's good for one year of travel, and a list of hosts in the countries he or she is visiting. Travellers contact prospective hosts in advance (lead time varies as defined by each host), giving estimated dates of travel, and they may be asked to reconfirm one or two days in advance of visit. They can stay with hosts for up to 3 days and 2 nights. Hosts provide sleeping space. Meals may be provided as well as assistance in visiting the city or area. At the end of their trip, Servas travellers are expected to provide a report to the local coordinator with any information that may be useful.

GoCambio[edit]

# of members: 5,200

GoCambio is an exchange website that connects people who have a place to stay with someone who has something to share. Hosts share their homes, and guests share their skills in music, sports, cooking, or languages. In most cases, the host accommodation and breakfast in exchange for 2 hours of tutoring from the guest. The host and the guest agree on the conditions before the cambio takes place. A cambio usually lasts 1-2 weeks.

Horizon[edit]

# of members: 4,500

Horizon is an exchange network designed to promote hosting and travel within specific trusted organizations. It allows travelers to reach out and connect with hosts with whom they belong to a common group or have a mutual friend. It therefore also allows various groups and organization to strengthen their community by promoting travel, hosting, and sharing within the group.

Affordable Travel Club[edit]

# of members: 4,000

Affordable Travel Club is a bed and breakfast hospitality exchange club founded in 1992. It is for people over the age of 40. Members pay an annual membership fee of $75 and may receive a printed directory or access to an online directory. Traveling members pay a gratuity of $15-30/night to their hosts. ATC is a community-oriented club with regular events. It is supported by staff.

Evergreen Bed & Breakfast Club[edit]

# of members: 2,000

Evergreen Bed & Breakfast Club is a hospitality exchange network for people over the age of 50 and is mostly active in the United States and Canada. There is an annual membership fee of $75 and guests pay their host a nominal gratuity of under $20/night. Registration is online. Members receive online access where they can search for hosts in locations they want to travel to and interact with Google Maps to help plan trips. There is also a Member Lounge for blogs, managing accounts and profile and classified ads such as Home Exchanges. The Club has paid-staff and a toll free number.

Working Traveller[edit]

# of members: 1,700

Working Traveller allows travellers to 'negotiate' what they would get in exchange for their skills from hosts. The site allows hosts to set what they are willing to pay, in terms of a bed, food, or money using a barter point system and a traveller can set what barter points they want to charge. This makes the site different from more traditional volunteering sites and more focused to career minded travellers looking for references on their return home to get a job.

Pasporta Servo[edit]

# of members: 1,350

Pasporta Servo ("passport service") is a home stay network for speakers of Esperanto, an international auxiliary language. It's sponsored by TEJO, the World Organization of Young Esperantists, who publish a book each year listing thousands of hosts in 80 countries. Travelers pay a fee for the yearly host list. Hosts ask no fee for rooms, but each sets their own requirements for duration, number of visitors, contact ahead of time, and whether or not food is offered. Some hosts ask for compensation for food. Hosts receive the host list for free. All travelers are expected to communicate with their hosts in Esperanto. Coordination with the service is in Esperanto, and the host list is in Esperanto.

belodged.com[edit]

# of members: Unknown

Belodged.com is a basic free accommodation site that is run by an accessible team of staff members. Registration is anonymous and free, no personal data except e-mail address and geographic information is needed.

Green Theme International[edit]

# of members: Unknown

Green Theme International facilities reciprocal home exchange, whereby members exchange their house for a short or long period of time with someone else. Membership costs $40/year.

Handytravelers[edit]

# of members: Unknown

Handytravelers is an online hospitality exchange organization that offers homestay for travellers. Hosts can offer their homes and show Travelers how Locals live.

helpStay.com[edit]

# of members: Unknown

helpStay.com facilitates the introduction of travellers and hosts for short-term work in exchange for accommodation. In general, a host will provide 1-3 meals a day and accommodation in return for about 20 hours of work per week from a volunteer. Hosts may also provide additional perks such as free internet, laundry, language lessons, use of kayaks or bikes, and local excursions. Some may offer live-in accommodation with the host family, a separate guesthouse, or lodging in a hostel, sailboat, or beach hut. Stays are usually at least one week in duration, allowing for a real local experience. ‘Work’ can be anything from working with animals to help around the house. New members can register as a volunteer and/or host. Searches can be conducted by age, gender, nationality, work type, languages spoken, travel dates, etc. A feedback mechanism also exists for rating other members and leaving comments about their experience with one another. It is free to join and create a profile. Hosts are automatically upgraded to Premium status so they can contact other members. Volunteers may upgrade to a Premium Membership at any time for a small donation.

HomeForSwap.com[edit]

# of members: Unknown

HomeForSwap.com is a facilitator of home-for-home exchanges. Membership costs $93/year.

Knok[edit]

# of members: Unknown

Knok facilitates home exchange and apartment rental for families traveling with children. New members pay a listing fee of $29/year.

Mennonite Your Way[edit]

# of members: Unknown

Mennonite Your Way is focused on Mennonites, although members do not need to be Christian to join. Hosts offer guests accommodation on a donation basis.

Obunia.com[edit]

# of members: Unknown

Obunia.com aggregates vacation rentals listed on other sites such as HomeAway and RoomORama.

Switch[edit]

# of members: Unknown

Switch is a facilitator of home-for-home exchanges. The site is free.

WorldEscape[edit]

# of members: Unknown

WorldEscape offers peer-to-peer short-term rentals focusing on unique and stylish accommodations in 40 cities around the world. Properties are hand-picked by WorldEscape representatives before being entered in a database organized by city. Booking service is very hands-on with WorldEscape managers on the ground in each of the cities that support both guests and property owners in person 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This makes a huge difference on those rare occasions when things go wrong.

WWOOF[edit]

# of members: Unknown

WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms) is a network that allows hosts that own farms to receive 4-6 hours per day of help on their farms in exchange for food, accommodation, education, and cultural interaction. Monetary exchange is prohibited, although joining requires payment of a membership fee of up to $72/year, depending on home country.

Zotel[edit]

# of members: Unknown

Zotel provides $40/night lodging worldwide with specific quality standards as well as trust built through chain of connections between hosts and guests. Zotel leverages six degrees of connections to build the chain of connections between hosts and guests. This chain of connections provides an immense amount of trust for everyone - so much that more people are willing to open their doors for hosting at a fixed price of $40/night worldwide while maintaining specific quality standards. It also enables guests to have a trusted travel experience in every corner of the world - even more trusted than unknown hotels run by unknown managers. The reputation among the chain of connections also provides a huge incentive for hosts to exceed the specified quality standards.

This is a usable article. It touches on all the major areas of the topic. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!